A Summer Affair

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Overview

Sheila Crispin Cook, 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. Sheila 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 Sheila-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 ...
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A Summer Affair

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Overview

Sheila Crispin Cook, 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. Sheila 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 Sheila-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.
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  • A Summer Affair
    A Summer Affair  

Editorial Reviews

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.
Kirkus Reviews
Nantucket artist ponders a tryst. An accomplished glassblower, Claire Danner Crispin set aside her work to raise her children. Indeed, for most of her life Claire has followed the rules and been a reliable friend, wife and mother. All that changes when she is asked to co-chair Nantucket's annual Summer Gala to benefit the children's programs on the island. Wealthy Lock Dixon personally asks Claire to contribute her time and talents. Claire says yes. Soon she finds herself in the arms of Lock, who offers relief from the monotony of her marriage and the demands of caring for four youngsters. It's fun to watch Claire give in to her desires. As the Gala nears, a threat of exposure looms. As an artist, Claire knows that creating something of value and beauty requires sacrifice, love and a strong will. The question is: Does Claire value her newfound passion more than her marriage? There are a few too many loose ends to make the novel fully satisfying: Hilderbrand (Barefoot, 2007, etc.) writes herself into a corner by introducing too many characters to track. But witnessing Claire's walk on the dark side is pure voyeuristic fun. A perfect summer cocktail of sex, sun and scandal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316018609
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 151 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(45)

4 Star

(47)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 151 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    not my favorite

    This book doesn't have the breeziness of the previous novels, and I found the main character, Claire, unlikeable. She has it all-lives in a beautiful place, has a husband, four small kids, even a live-in au pair, and is a respected glass artist. She has an affair with a billionaire, give me a break, while also serving as chairperson for a summer gala which takes up so much of her time that her husband resents it. I skipped a large part of the book because I wasn't interested in the progress of the affair, and found that I didn't miss anything. The ending was unsatisfying, and I think Hilderbrand is asking too much of the reader to pity Claire and admire her. This is a ponderous beach book that has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in, and I was more interested in Siobhan, the less-fortunate sister-in-law, who had problems I could better relate to. I prefer it when Hilderbrand writes about realistic people who work to get what they want in life.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    delightful narration gives this plot a boost

    Take A Summer Affair to the beach and take it with a grain of salt. It's a tad difficult to believe how or why an intelligent, caring woman who has it all - good husband, four fine children, a career as an acclaimed artist - would risk throwing it all away for a summer spin in the sand? However, credulity can be easy to suspend when a narrative is filled with pretty people, dreamy scenes, and pulsing passion. So, forget the how's and why's if you've a mind to, and join the fray. Fray is precisely what it turns out to be when Claire Danner Crispin agrees to chair the Nantucket's Children summer Gala. Not only will she serve as chair but she'll also create an original art piece - a gorgeous glass chandelier. It's not that Claire doesn't already have her plate piled high with house, husband, and kids, as most everyone can see save for Claire. But we're told she suffers from an inability to say no or even not now. Billionaire Lockhart Dixon directs Nantucket's Children (why are these fellows always millionaires, billionaires or zillionaires?) Whatever the case he and Claire are soon having an affair. Lock's wife was involved in a tragic auto accident which left her mentally impaired. Problems? What else? Claire has husband problems, lover problems , best friend problems, and problems with her New York co-chair. How did a rational woman ever get herself into such a mess? One cannot help but wonder. The one thing this listener didn't wonder about is the reading by Tony Award nominee Isabel Keating. Her delightful performance makes a lighter than a cumulus cloud plot seem almost plausible. Once again star quality narration gives a boost to an unremarkable story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Not sure I liked this. Warning, this is a negative review with small spoilers

    This book has marvelous descriptions of Nantucket, of glassblowing, of mothers and children. HOWEVER, it also has negativrs that make me want to slam the book out the nearest open window.

    Hey, I love a good soap opera, but these unhealthy storylines just make me shudder. Why did these people get married, and I'm not just talking about the 2 Crispin families and the Dixons, but most of the people that inhabit this story. Lies and secrets are not the way to populate a story. You just can't get your own way when you break your promises or your vows. The priest was fully right in his declaration that it must stop before he assigned penance.

    And Claire and Locke aren't the only affair. Both Crispin brothers are in unhealthy affairs with teleivison and gambling. Claire's secretive glassblowing, Edward and getting even, the children's charity's treasurer, Locke's co-dependant relationship with his wife.... and then Max and his addictions.

    Is this a true description of a wealthy community? Who knows. It's a bit reminiscent of the sixties. All I know is that if I ever am given another Hildebrand book, I'd think twice before reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    A Good Escape

    I almost stopped reading after the first few chapters when I realized where the main character was headed. But by the 4th or 5th chapter I was sucked in like a high-powered vacuum and couldn't stop reading! More than anything, I enjoy Elin's writing style. She lead me through the ups and downs of the main character, even though I couldn't relate to her situation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    A bit of a letdown.

    I really was looking forward to this book since I had very much enjoyed reading Barefoot by the same author. Though I find her writing style interesting and easy to follow, just what I look for in a summer read, this book was a bit unbelievable to me. I simply did not buy how trapped the main character felt in her life and that the only way for her to escape was into this silly affair. I agree being responsible for four children is a challenge but she had live-in help! How hard can it really be then? I also did not believe that her husband would ever have locked her workshop or that she would have gone along with it. Too many contrived plot points for me. I found it disappointing.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Last chapter

    After not being able to put the book down, I was extremely disappointed of how the book ended! It was a very bad ending. I wanted to read on what happened to characters. What happened to Siobhans husband? Did Jason ever find out? Lock, Daphne, Galvin, Isabella, etc. I hate when the book is good but the ending is quick.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Another good one!

    Enjoyed it, the Island is still my favorite!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Awesome

    Most amazing book a beautiful love story we can all relate to

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2012

    This book was good enough to keep me reading, but it¿s not one w

    This book was good enough to keep me reading, but it’s not one where the characters will stick out in my mind, other than probably Max West. He’s the quintessential troubled artist, and despite his level of fame, he seemed surprisingly human. Other than Max, many of the characters appeared like they were wrapped in nice packages and tied with bows, but none of them ever tried to break out of the box, fight the herd, and certainly none of them bothered to scream “Look at me. I’m different.”

    Not to say that the writing isn’t done effectively, because it is. Something appeared slightly off throughout most of the novel, though, like I was peering through a distorted lens, or a pair of sunglasses that had been dropped on the asphalt, and I couldn’t seem to turn either of them just enough to have them properly come into focus. What that something was revolved around words and phrases that just seemed, like the lens, or the sunglasses, distorted, both in the dialogue and with the characters’ inner monologues.

    The setting was done well. The author knows Nantucket with the same conviction that a mother would know her first child, and conveyed the scenes flawlessly and with what appeared to be little effort on her part. Even though I’ve never been to Nantucket, I felt like I was walking the streets holding Claire’s hand.

    A SUMMER AFFAIR carries the same light breeze, as if the novel had swept in from the middle of the ocean, yet I had hoped for something just a bit more. This, however, is my fault, not the author’s. Like other reviewers, this novel did end a bit too abruptly for my taste. If you prefer your novels to capture the sand at your feet, holding a drink in one hand and a book in the other, you may find yourself enjoying this one.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Normally like her books. Couldn't get into this one!

    Normally like her books. Couldn't get into this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2012

    Very boring!

    I found this book boring and slow to get moving. Seems some chapters get off of the plot. Sorry but not going to finish this book . Not sure I like the author.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    A big letdown

    After reading Barefoot, I had high hopes for this book. But the story was infuriating and I had a hard time finishing. Definitely NOT her best work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    Skip this one

    I agree with the previous reviews. A woman with an ideal life has an affair with one man while her ex-boyfriend turned rock star is also in love with her. Not only is the book so far fetched it's ridiculous, the main character is so unlikable you wish she would run away mid-book so the remaining characters (that are more real) can have a chance at salvaging the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Love it!

    A must read for womenin their 40s and 50s. So much my life!

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    loved it!

    not sure why I didn't give it 5 Stars, but I loved it.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    highly recommended for 50 and up.

    I just ordered some of her other books...she is a good writer....interesting. Keeps your attention.....

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Recommended

    This was a lovely summer read. I enjoyed it very much.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    My least favorite

    I have read all of Elin Hilderbrand's books that are available on the nook. This was my least favorite, really I didn't like it, but I hate to say that because I have enjoyed all of her other books and found them to be page turners. Some of those were books where I strongly wished I could've been a character in. Not this one. Boring characters, boring plot, bad ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2011

    Enjoyable

    This was an enjoyable book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2011

    UGGGGGH!!

    I have really enjoyed 2 of this authors books, Barefoot and Castaways, but seriously do all of your books have people having affairs? Not that I need fluffy puppies and rainbows, but come on, there is more to write about than people hooking up, if I wanted this in my life I would still be going to the bars to see it in real life! When I got this I thought it could possibly mean just an "affair", not of the sexual nature, as i soon discovered, it was just that, a lady that has it all and gives it away for an affair to a gross, fat old guy. While her husband is described as having rocking abs and is proud of his body. Why would you give him and your 4 kids up for this? I skimmed further and it appears Claire sleeps with her ex boyfriend/rockstar too! Maybe not, as I just couldnt do it. Why waste time on a book that you from the get go are not feeling.

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