A Summer Affair
Elin Hilderbrand, . . Little, Brown, $24.99 (408pp) ISBN 978-0-316-01860-9
You know summer's on the way when the beachy jacket art starts showing up. Here are two by Nantucket writers set on the island, where you can't throw a lobster roll without hitting a Claire or a Clare.
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.
Reviewed on: 04/07/2008
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