The Heroine: Celia Bayley, the young daughter of a housekeeper swept off her feet by a charming and handsome soldier, Frederick, in the English countryside during the Second World War. While on the outside their marriage seemed perfect, secrets, betrayals and lies were shared between Celia and Frederick until after their death. As their three children and their families clean out Celia's private papers and scan the numerous novels she penned during her life, startling revelations come to light, causing them all the question the woman they all thought they knew.
The Highs: I absolutely loved the ensemble cast of this novel. The story is narrated from the perspective of Celia, in the memories of the past; her daughter Sarah, dealing with the infidelity of her slacker husband Whoopee; her younger daughter Margaret, trapped in a loveless marriage; and her granddaughter Bud, who was closest to Celia in her last years. Each character is fully rendered and realistic, featuring their own unique voice and perspective. The viewpoints of each character come together to form a fascinating picture of Celia, the famous writer adored by her fans and the private, secretive mother hiding truths from her past.
There are many surprising twists and turns in The Affair. I often made one assumption, only to be proven wrong later on in the story. I really enjoyed the element of mystery. I became enraptured with the plot and finished this novel pretty quickly, racing through it even at the detriment of the exams I should have been studying for!
The best part of The Affair was Alicia Clifford's writing style. This is the first novel I have ever read by her and I really enjoyed her effortlessly beautiful prose.
The Lows: I felt the actual "affair" part of the novel came really late into the story and didn't really have the amount of significance that the title of the book suggested. I thought the relationship between the two people involved in the affair seemed really rushed and unrealistic. I'm trying to be purposefully vague about the details, if you can't tell!
I also didn't like the ending of the novel. I felt like none of the subplots involving the members of Celia's family were resolved and I wish I had known how their stories had ultimately ended.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed reading The Affair, though it doesn't stick out in my mind as a book I'd be really eager to read again. I do hope to read another novel soon written by Alicia Clifford, however, as she is a fantastic writer!
Rating: The Affair earns seven letters out of ten.
Connect with author Alicia Clifford here
Photo from here