Friday, May 25, 2018

Review: The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

Title: The Summer I Met Jack
Author: Michelle Gable
Published: May 2018, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 448 pages
Source: Publisher

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between JFK and Alicia Corning Clark - and the child they may have had.
Based on a real story - in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.

Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.

The Summer I Met Jack is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.

My thoughts: I have a whole shelf dedicated to books on the Kennedys... and even though I might not have read them all, I am a bit obsessed about them and so when I saw this book, I was desperate to read it!  And let me tell you, I am so glad I did...I loved it!!! It was so enlightening, so easy to get into and really kept me engaged the entire way through.

I have to say, I knew nothing about Alicia before picking up this book. Again, not having read many of those books I have in my collection (too many books, so little time) - which I'm now so bummed are in storage, because of course I am desperate to read more about the Kennedys after reading this book - I found this book to be easy to read, easy to get into, and very interesting. The whole time I was reading this, I was asking myself - was this really true, did this really happen? I really had to restrain myself from heading to Wikipedia every few minutes to check every detail - I didn't want to ruin anything for myself. I wanted to enjoy the book for what it was...and I'm glad I did. 

This book is certainly about the romance between Alicia and Jack, but it is so much more than that. It's about Alicia's life...and what a life she lived! She certainly met some interesting, famous people in her life, and knew some of them quite well. But her life wasn't all glitz and glam. She went through some very trying and difficult times in her life. The book also paints quite the picture of the Kennedys'. Some of this I was aware of and some I was not - and this is what I love about reading historical fiction - the little tidbits you pick up that make you want to read more on certain topics - not only am I dying to read more about Alicia Dare herself, who I really do find to be quite a fascinating person, but I am also eager to read more about the other people mentioned in this book, particularly the Kennedys. Maybe this will spur me to read some of my own books!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is highly readable, highly engaging and if you are at all curious about the woman who had a romance with Jack prior to his meeting and then marrying Jackie, I recommend picking up this book. It is well worth the read!


1 comment

  1. This does sound very engaging. I'm glad that you included the second to the last line. Excellent, enthusiastic review!


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