Tuesday, September 8, 2009
A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand
View the video
Listen to an excerpt
Download the podcast
reading group guide available here
Claire Danner Crispin, mother of four young children and nationally renowned glassblower, bites off more than she can chew when she agrees to co-chair the Nantucket's Children Summer Gala. Claire is asked to chair the benefit, in part, because she is the former high school sweetheart of rock star Max West. Max agrees to play the gala and it looks like smooth sailing for Claire-until she promises a "museum-quality" piece of glass for the auction, offers her best friend the catering job, goes nose-to-nose with her Manhattan socialite co-chair, and begins a "good-hearted" affair with the charity's Executive Director, Lockhart Dixon. Hearts break and emotions are pushed to the limit in this riveting story of one woman's attempt to deal with loves past and present, family, business, and high-powered social pressures. Elin Hilderbrand's unique understanding of the joys and longings that animate women's lives will make this her newest summer bestseller.
Claire is known for being the woman who can't say no, so it is no surprise to anyone when she agrees to co-chair the Nantucket Children's Gala. However, no one saw what was going to come of it or most likely would have believed it had you told them. Claire has been stressed at home with a son she is afraid is "damaged"(her fault), a husband she can no longer talk to, and a desire to return to work (but too much guilt to try). When she begins co-chairing the event and working with Lock Dixon her feelings of worth and desire come from beneath the surface and place her right in his arms. Claire knows it is wrong, but can't stop herself. She falls in love with not only Dixon, but with herself, but is well aware she will never leave her family.
Lock Dixon is a man trapped. His wife was in an accident years earlier and is definitely not the woman he married. She has become bitter and tactless. She is the woman others avoid less they be objected to her put downs. He knows he can't leave her, but when Claire walks in to his office he feels an attraction he has missed and deserves to have in his life.
Claire and Lock are stuck in a situation of their own making. They have acted upon what each of their lives is missing and filled the void with an outside partner. They have a connection that is not only steamy, but also filled with intelligent conversation and a respect for one another. But, let's be real, neither can leave their marriage and this can't go anywhere positive for them.
Also in this story is a man out to steal money and make a new life for himself, a woman dealing with her husband's gambling, and a rock star battling the demons in his life.
Elin Hilderbrand weaves a story that is all too realistic. So many men and women find themselves feeling trapped in a marriage with no emotion left. It may be comfortable or boring or depressing, but it is still a marriage. In this novel and in life many turn to an outsider to fill in the emotional, physical and/or mental void. Ms. Hilderbrand did a wonderful job of showing how this decision can affect the cheater. Parts are exciting and exhilarating and parts are ridden with guilt and shame. She takes us through the stages of the affair and never lets up.
The character building in A Summer Affair is thorough and perfect. Each character has a background story that is woven in and helps the reader understand each decision they are making. I definitely could not say I agreed with each decision made, but when reading about their past I could understand it.
This is a chick lit novel and would make a great vacation read, but don't be confused it has depth and emotion right along with steamy scenes and adultery.