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A Summer Affair: A Novel Hardcover – July 1, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 177 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hilderbrand's seventh novel delves into the psyche of a guilt-ridden mother/artist who embarks on a self-destructive path. Nantucket glass artist Claire Danner Crispin has pieces in private collections and one in the Whitney, but is overwhelmed with the needs of her husband and four kids (she gave up full-time glassblowing to take care of the family). Her troubles worsen when Daphne, a friend she'd been drinking with, is severely injured in a drunken car wreck. Claire is convinced that Daphne's husband, Lockhart, holds her responsible, so she's surprised when he asks her to co-chair a charity gala and create a new piece of glass art for auction. The plot mushrooms as Claire and Lockhart begin an affair; Claire rethinks her priorities; a slew of gala-related complications arise; and Claire's ex-boyfriend turned rock star comes into play. Hilderbrand keeps a lot of balls in the air, and if she pays too much attention to event-planning minutiae, there are still enough conflicts to keep readers entertained. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

After the extreme heat of her Nantucket studio causes her to go into early labor with her youngest son, renowned glass artist Claire Danner Crispin now devotes her life to her four children. Part of her charm and part of her problem are her perpetual feelings of guilt. When asked to cochair the Nantucket Children Summer Gala, she agrees, adding an impossible burden to an already busy life. She also agrees to create a museum quality piece of artwork when the head of the charity, Lock Dixon, asks her to because Lock’s wife suffered a serious accident after going out drinking with Claire and her friends. Truly, Claire hasn’t a free moment, what with caring for her children, working with the elitist cochair from Manhattan, asking her teenage rock-star boyfriend to play the event for free, and creating a masterpiece, all while conducting a clandestine affair with Lock. A gem of a summer read with a glamorous location, elite lifestyle, and Hilderbrand’s appealing take on the constant stress that fills the lives of women everywhere. --Patty Engelmann
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316018600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316018609
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #823,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have not been so emotionally disturbed by a story since watching Diane Lane in "Unfaithful". When you are married to a good person, who loves you, and you love them, why are you doing this?

Claire is like so many other moms, my wife included. So much going on and stretched to the breaking point but still can't say, "no". Claire's husband is a good guy and excellent father (yes he is) who, clearly, never got the wife user manual, "How to Feed and Care for your Lovely Wife". As a result, Claire, although she has a rich life in many respects, is left with two huge emotional vacuums, 1) professional satisfaction and fulfillment; and, 2) "just hold me, not bang me" intimacy. You can like both the Jason and Claire characters while wanting to slap, no,... I mean, douse them with ice cold water shouting, "wake up"! It is not like Claire is looking for trouble but when it is clearly there she does not back away.

Adultery is bad. In this story the adulterous situation is a train wreck of humongous proportions you know is going to happen. The train wreck unfurls in a very deliberate manner with lots of interesting characters and twist along the way. I never really despised, but also never liked, Locke, Claire's lover (I am closer to Locke than Jason intellectually). I think I didn't despise Locke because he was starting from such a lonely place emotionally. He was very needy considering who he was. On the other hand, you might see the whole situation as Locke taking advantage of Claire to some extent... but, all Claire had to do is not play ball so to speak.

One the more amusing aspects of an adulterous affair is when one of the perpetrators becomes jealous of their lover having to do "romantic" things with their spouse.
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Format: Paperback
A Summer Affair was a hard book for me to get through. I read it quickly, but more because I was anxious to see where it was going to go, not what was going to happen. I was having a hard time relating to the main character, Claire, a mother of 4 and wife to a husband that watches TV rather than talk to her. I couldn't find it in me to root for her. I just wanted to shake her and say what are you doing? The affair seemed contrived and unrealistic. I found it odd that they were together for almost a year and yet her husband never got suspicious at all. I loved the best friend and sister in law and felt for her. The small sections of the book that were really written about her were great. The Matthew "Max" West part of the story just seemed like more angst that didn't really need to be thrown in. I don't know, overall I wouldn't overly recommend this book. The writing was very good, but the story, not so much. Many times I finish a book wanting more, wishing that there was another book about the same characters so I can see what happens next in their lives, but with A Summer Affair I could care less! It ended very aburptly. I went to turn the page thinking there must be an epilouge or something and nope it was acknowledgements the book was over. There were several loose ends - what happened to Gavin - did he blow the whistle? What about Sibohn and Carter - did they work things out? Others too, but I did want more...I wanted closure.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the third book I have read written by this author and I am drawn to her writing because I enjoy reading about real life situations rather than the unrealistic and overblown stories that tend to dominate the bookstores.

It was an OK read but I must say that there wasn't a likable charactor in the book. I do realize that people do have faults and it is important that this be included within the book, but it would be nice to have a charactor to root for.

The main charactor Claire, is a cheater. Her husband doesn't really pay any attention to her, except for sex. The male main charactor, Lock, is also cheating on his wife. Lock's wife apparently has some issues after a car accident and is mean and nasty to everyone. Claire's cochair of the gala is nasty to her and one of the charactors is imbezzling money from a charity.

It just seems that there could be a charactor or two that the reader could root for. The story also ended abruptly with little or no resolution.
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By Lexicon on May 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
"It is a rare occasion when our book club completely agrees on a book and this time it was unanimous. We despised this book. I don't know if I'll be able to think of enough adjectives to describe my distaste...the plot was plodding, all of the characters were completely unlikeable and shallow...would you want to hang out with ANY of these people? Absolutely NOT! Perhaps part of their downfall was a lack of character development...there were no clues into their motivation for any of their actions or feelings. Maybe this is what life is like on Nantucket, but if so, I have no desire to visit.

I've read books before that I haven't liked, but I usually can glean some knowledge or perspective about something I'm unfamiliar with, and often they can prompt lively debate. Unfortunately, not this time.

I'm curious about your reviewers who gave it five stars, because I would give it a zero if I could. And normally, I'm not so vehement about my reviews, but this one elicited a visceral reaction and not in a good way. I'm irritated because I wasted the time reading this book.

My biggest beef of all? The chapter titles. How inane can you get? If I were to add one about this author, it would be 'She Blew It.'"
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