The heroine of this book, Celia Bayley, became a famous author for writing stories about real people in real time. She was an extremely young war bride, marrying a handsome soldier who was older and had three successful children. When the book opens, her husband had just passed away and, according to her family, she was devastated and acted as if she was about to follow him. But, with the help of her granddaughter, she came back to her life and her talents and began turning out books that were very much unlike her first ones (nice, lovely love stories). These new ones were good stories, very gritty at times, and as said before, about real people in real situations. She had written her first books as something to keep her busy when her husband was away and she wrote under a pen name. But, after his death, she started writing under her own name and her books became famous.
Celia came from an a family that fell on hard times during World War I, when her father was wounded in the war and never became his old self again. After his death she and her mother moved to the coast of England, where her mother became a housekeeper at an estate called "Far Point." Celia's mother really didn't like being a servant, but they fit in after a while and began to get along with the rest of the staff. When they arrived at the estate it was the year 1933 and things were starting to heat up for the beginning of World War II. Celia liked it there and helped the gardener to grow vegetables for the war effort. She met two women, who were in the military and finally met her future husband, a war hero, who was stationed at the estate. Celia and Frederick, her husband, were married at the estate and began their married life in the middle of a war. They seemed to live very happily as Frederick came up in rank and they were stationed in different places finally, making a home in England with their children.
Frederick was stricken with a stroke and Celia was a wonderful wife and helpmate and took care of him until his death years later. Celia was in her 60's when Frederick passed and still had a full life afterward with her books and her family. But, when her family came together for her funeral they found many secrets that she had held back as she had gone ahead with her life, not letting on that she was not at all happy with Frederick until the end and the secrets that he had kept from her and the secrets that she had kept from him.
This story is very powerful and the writing is first class. Starting during a time when the world was on the brink of disaster and covering the struggle that this woman went through and the hard choices she had to make is certainly reason for an all-day read. A very strong story about love, marriage, raising a family and all the problems within.
"All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” —Leo Tolstoy
As a writer, Celia Bayley’s insights into the ways of the human heart made her famous. And why not? She had married a handsome war hero and produced three successful children. Yet, as her family gathers for her funeral, the diaries and notebooks and letters she left behind paint a very different picture, one that shocks those who loved her and will force them to confront the difficult conflicts in their own lives.
A life torn by secrets is revealed. The husband she adored had deceived her early in their marriage and broken her heart, though they persevered as a family. Then, years later while on a trip with friends, she meets a man for whom she feels a passion she never believed possible. In one brief moment, her whole life is turned inside out. Utterly compelling and beautifully written, The Affair makes vividly real the agonizing choice one woman must make. Powerful and moving, the novel is about marriage, families, and the definition of happiness.