Elin Hilderbrand returns to Nantucket with another summer treat for readers. This time, we meet Claire Crispin, so much like someone all of us know, or even like ourselves. As a wife, mother, and an artist, we recognize from the start that this is one busy lady. And yet, as so many readers will be able to relate to, we find that Claire just can’t say no when asked to get involved in something.
So Claire agrees to chair the Summer Gala on Nantucket, and her whole life goes from anxious to frenetic. Claire must work with co-chair Isabelle French, who is difficult to get along with to say the least. She appears to be a threat to Claire, making for a joint venture that can’t possibly run smoothly even if both parties tried.
Lockhart Dixon (Lock) comes into Claire’s life when he asks her to chair the gala. Claire feels guilty; she was with his wife, Daphne, out drinking before Daphne was in an accident on her way home that left her mentally impaired for life.
What starts out as guilt, however, develops into an affair with Lock. On top of that, Claire has to contact her old high school love, Matthew, now the famous rock star “Max West,” to convince him to do a concert for the gala. All of this makes Claire begin to question what may have been - or what could be.
Claire’s husband, Jason, is a good guy, but the marriage suffers from lack of compatibility and few shared interests. Claire finds the people she works with to be more in line with what she is used to and wants to share their kind of lifestyle. So, with an unsatisfied home life, the affair with Lock is an attractive distraction. But when Siobhan, Jason’s sister-in-law who runs a local catering business, a close friend and confidant to Claire, sees what is going on, she threatens to tell Jason.
All these personalities and associations must be juggled at the same time Claire is also asked to create a museum piece for the gala using her artistry as a glass blower. This begets more problems; Claire is semi-retired, but Jason also blames her “art” for their child’s problems. An accident at her studio while Claire was pregnant with their youngest child caused the baby to be born prematurely, possibly causing complications and further damage later on in life.
Will Claire survive while planning this event? How will this all affect her marriage? What role will Lock play in her life, and how will things be when she once again sees her former love? Will she finish the artwork yet manage to keep up with all the other things in her life? Perhaps the culmination of the Summer Gala will answer Claire’s problems in Elin Hilderbrand’s The A Summer Affair, a woman’s journey to find herself.