My grateful thanks to Jen at Penguin for sending me a copy of The Affair by Hilary Boyd in return for an honest review. I’m delighted to share that review today. It’s far too long since I reviewed one of Hilary’s books. Then it was The Lavender House in a post you can read here.
Published by Penguin on 19th August 2021, The Affair is available for purchase through the links here.
Connie McCabe longs for the summer where she spends the days leading tours across the continent.
But it’s on the glamorous shores of Lake Como where she is truly swept away, when Jared, a much younger man, falls for her.
Despite resisting his advances, Connie finds that he’s got under her skin.
And so begins a long, hot, intoxicating summer where Connie succumbs to temptation – breaking her marriage vows.
At the end of the season, Connie returns home to her husband, ready to put this affair behind her.
But Jared has other ideas . . .
My Review of The Affair
Connie is working away from home.
The Affair is exactly the kind of book to pick up for a holiday and escape into, not least because the first half in particular has such glorious descriptions of places and food, as Connie fulfils her tour guide role, that it frequently felt as if I were on holiday too. I love a book that can make me feel hungry!
That said, however, The Affair isn’t simply a light weight holiday read, because it deals with a serious and uncomfortable theme in Jared’s obsessive behaviour so that I finished The Affair feeling as if I had been given insight into a world I know little about. It’s difficult to explain too much for fear of spoiling the plot, but where I had willingly to suspend my disbelief as Jared’s behaviour seemed unreasonable, I rather think that says more about my personal experiences and less about the authenticity of the writing. I fear Hilary Boyd has created a world very convincingly that might be all too knowable for some. The story builds slowly, increasing in intensity with a dramatic ending that is so well crafted that The Affair draws in the reader by stealth, echoing Jared’s relationship with Connie so cleverly.
I found it interesting that I enjoyed The Affair whist really not liking any of the characters because I found the authentic way their behaviours were portrayed ensured I was convinced by them and frequently I didn’t like what they did! That said, I thought it was wonderful to have slightly older characters struggling with marriage and relationships, rather than the 30 somethings looking for their ideal partner of so many books. The Affair is a book of maturity. In particular, Devan’s struggle with retirement felt very genuine. Hilary Boyd gave me fascinating insight into Connie but I could not warm to her because I found her behaviour reprehensible. It intrigues me to find, however, that Hilary Boyd has the authorial power to manipulate me as a a reader into caring about what happened to Connie and Devon even when I found them dislikeable. I thought Jared was scarily plausible. Through him The Affair made me wonder just what happens in other people’s lives. I love it too when a book both entertains and makes me think.
Themes in The Affair also add to the sense of a mature read. Aside from the central premise, marriage and loyalty, love and desire, friendship and responsibility, passion and familiarity all combine into a very satisfying narrative.
Indeed, I found The Affair both entertaining and thought provoking. I very much enjoyed it.
About Hilary Boyd
Hilary Boyd was a nurse, marriage counsellor and ran a small cancer charity before becoming an author. She has written eight books, including Thursdays in the Park, her debut novel which sold over half a million copies and was an international bestseller.