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A Summer Affair    by Susan Wiggs order for
Summer Affair
by Susan Wiggs
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Isabel Fish-Wooten has spent most of her young life running from her past -- one steeped in poverty and painful memories of abandonment by her prostitute mother. Determined to rise above her background Isabel set about studying others and became proficient at adopting new personae. Her talent has taken her far and wide and into the drawing rooms and salons of the elite. Her single most important rule in life is never to stay in one place too long.

Isabel's travels have brought her to San Francisco. Late one night while on her way to book passage to Hawaii, she's caught in a shoot out between opium dealers and a San Francisco policeman. The officer is left for dead and Isabel is gravely wounded. If not for the timely intervention of Dr. Theodore (Blue) Calhoun, Isabel might have not have seen the light of day. Once his mystery patient is stabilized, Calhoun is determined to deliver her to the authorities, since evidence points to her as the person responsible for shooting a policeman. Isabel is equally determined to escape the good doctor and continue her journey to paradise. To that end, she forces Calhoun at gunpoint to bind her wounds and to allow her to disappear into the night.

Ever since the violent death of his childhood sweetheart Sancha, Blue has closed off his heart to everything but healing the sick and caring for his teenage son Lucas. Blue's reaction to the dark haired gamine-faced 'lady adventurer' he rescued from certain death both aggravates and fascinates him. Given her contradictions and far too many secrets, Blue knows he would be well rid of Miss Isabel Fish-Wooten and her uncanny influence on his son. But he soon finds himself as enthralled by her as the rest of his household and extended family. They see a 'match made in heaven' long before Blue and Isabel recognize that they've fallen in love. Each must do some soul searching and decide if they can set aside their pasts and embrace a new beginning in each other's arms.

The talented Susan Wiggs spins another enchanting historical romance, rich in characterization, in A Summer Affair. She first introduced a much younger Blue Calhoun (in The Horsemaster's Daughter) as a troubled child struck mute after witnessing the horrible death of his mother. With the addition of another cast of marvelous and very real characters and evocative historical detail, Ms. Wiggs brings Blue's story to an engaging and poignant conclusion in a way that only a true master of the genre can accomplish. A Summer Affair is one of this summer's most treasured finds.

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