The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable
St. Martin’s Press (May 29, 2018)
Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Fiction
New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy 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 by Michelle Gable 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.
“Alicia made a grand life for herself out of a very questionable start, but she could be a handful, high maintenance.”
“Did JFK and Alicia Corning Clark have a secret love child? The article that then turn into Michelle Gable’s newest novel – The Summer I Met Jack. Prior to reading this book, I didn’t know much about this particular generation of Kennedy’s besides my limited impression of a rich, powerful large family with many known reports of infidelity, and accusations of wrong doings. (I was much more interested in JFK, Jr, Caroline and Maria Shriver generations. I actually met JFK Jr while working at the Dept of Justice in Washington, DC. Beyond handsome and left a down to earth impression.) So, what limited knowledge I had of the 1950’s Kennedy’s, I can certainly see the events written in The Summer I Met Jack as plausible.
Gable has written a fictionalize story of the real-life love affair of Alicia Corning Clark and then-congressman Jack Kennedy (pre-President JFK days). This is a fantastic novel that will keep you thinking about the main characters long after you finish it. It has a political spin that feels current today though it’s set in the 1950’s. The characters feel very real and like I was right there with Jack and Alicia in the 1950s as I was reading.
I have a beautiful home,” she said. “And more money than I could ever spend. But before all of this, there was one year in Hyannisport, when, for one bright shining moment, I had it all.”
Alicia was a Polish Jew, a displaced person from the war who emigrated to the United States in 1950. She had many names over the years, led a complex life, often finding herself drawn back to Jack Kennedy, making the same mistakes over and over.
“I’ll make my way, somehow. Surviving is what I do best.”
All quotes and headlines included in this novel were taken from actual publications. It is evident that Gable completed tons of research to weave facts into this fictional tale. I truly enjoyed this story, and I for one have spent too much time on my computer learning about the life of Alicia and the older generation of Kennedy’s. Well done!
Thank you St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for the review copy.
Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michelle Gable is the New York Times Bestselling author of A PARIS APARTMENT, I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS and THE BOOK OF SUMMER. Her fourth book, THE SUMMER I MET JACK, is based on the real-life romance between Jack Kennedy and Alicia Darr. It launches on 5/29/2018. Michelle grew up in San Diego and attended The College of William & Mary, where she majored in accounting, as most aspiring writers do. After a twenty-year career in finance, Michelle now writes full-time. She lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and what is quickly becoming a menagerie: one cat, one bunny, and a lab/jindo mix recently rescued from the dog meat trade in Thailand. Website: www.michellegable.com