This is a deceptive read. It is a meandering tale of two love affairs – one today, one in the Sixties – which unfolds slowly, step-by-step, as these things do in life. The Perfect Affair by Claire Dyer is about love, how it appears and grows, and how it fades.
Rose has divided her house into two flats, she lives upstairs and rents the downstairs space to Myles, a writer of detective novels. Rose’s regular visitor, Eve, is like the grand-daughter she never had, and is a connection to Rose’s past. In the Sixties, Rose shared a house with Eve’s grandmother Verity. One day Eve and Myles meet. There is a spark of attraction which shocks them both and makes each examine the state of their own marriage. As they come to terms with what this means, Rose watches from afar. In love and seeking the perfect love affair, Rose remembers when she fell in love in the Sixties. Finally a decision must be made.
Dyer writes with a gentle hand, small details showing her understanding of the emotions involved. After meeting Eve for the first time, Myles is disorientated: ‘He’d been OK when he’d left home earlier but now he feels mostly unsettled, as though a fault line has positioned itself under his feet and he knows it’s there and it knows it’s there too.’ Alongside the sense of inevitability, danger lurks. An emotional novel, skilfully written.
To find out why The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows is Claire Dyer’s ‘comfort read’, read her ‘Porridge & Cream’ interview here.
‘The Perfect Affair’ by Claire Dyer [UK: Quercus] Buy at Amazon
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