Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review: The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

Pages: 515
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Book of Summer
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "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."

Barbara, now Alicia Darr, has left Poland and arrives in the USA with many hopes and dreams in the 1950s. She rooms with another immigrant, Irenka, and they become fast friends.  Irenka takes a job on the East Coast working as a maid in the affluent town of Hyannisport for the famous Kennedy family.  Alicia follows Irenka to the Hyannisport and through Irenka she meets Jack along with the whole Kennedy clan. She is enamored with the family, but especially Jack's charm and larger than life attitude.  As time goes by, Jack is also very much into Alicia as she is unlike any woman he has met before.  Things become serious between the two, but will the Kennedy family truly accept Alicia into their family? Can Jack really defy his father? And just wait till the Kennedys find out who she truly is. The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable focuses not only Alicia and Jack's courtship, but Jack's political career as well as Alicia's amazing life. Fans of the Kennedys as well as historical fiction will absolutely love this "historical beach read."

Alicia Darr is such an interesting character. Her background story is slowly revealed to us as she isn't your "usual immigrant," which is why Jack is so attracted to her.  I also found her mesmerizing and wanted to know what secrets she was withholding about her life in Poland. My heart went out to her at various points in the story, whether it was dealing with the strong Kennedy personalities or dealing with the prejudices of her being an immigrant, Alicia definitely went through some hard times.  What I find to be the most fascinating about her is the fact that she is based on the real-life socialite, Alicia Corning Clark. It was interesting to see where this story and real life intersects.

I think it's hard to bring the Kennedy clan to life, but Gable did an excellent job.  Whether she was highlighting Rose Kennedy's stern behavior or dedication to Catholicism, Jack's magnetism, Joe's flirting, or simply the Kennedy family's boisterous personality, it was all very well done. I felt like I, along with Alcia, was meeting them for the first time and couldn't get enough.

I liked how Gable followed Jack's career through the years despite the fact that Alicia and Jack weren't always together. It definitely provided a different perspective of the Kennedys than some of the other novels I read. The Summer I Met Jack definitely kept me entertained even though I knew how things would end up for the Kennedys.

If you love a historical beach read, give this one a try this summer, especially if you are curious about the events surrounding Alicia Corning Clark and Jack Kennedy. This book definitely gives an interesting perspective. Don't you love when books do that?


  1. I like historical beach reads (Beatriz Williams comes to mind), so I am looking forward to this one. I find the Kennedys fascinating!

    1. Beatriz Williams is one of my favorites for sure! I can't wait to read her next book. I find the Kennedys fascinating as well. I think you'll like this one. Thanks for visiting!


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