- It’s a story about Edith Wharton – sounds fantastic!
Summary from GoodReads:
They say behind every great man is a woman. Behind Edith Wharton, there was Anna Bahlmann—her governess turned literary secretary, and her mothering, nurturing friend.
When at the age of forty-five, Edith falls passionately in love with a dashing younger journalist, Morton Fullerton, and is at last opened to the world of the sensual, it threatens everything certain in her life but especially her abiding friendship with Anna. As Edith’s marriage crumbles and Anna’s disapproval threatens to shatter their lifelong bond, the women must face the fragility at the heart of all friendships.
Told through the points of view of both women, The Age of Desire takes us on a vivid journey through Wharton’s early Gilded Age world: Paris with its glamorous literary salons and dark secret cafés, the Whartons’ elegant house in Lenox, Massachusetts, and Henry James’s manse in Rye, England.
Edith’s real letters and intimate diary entries are woven throughout the book. The Age of Desire brings to life one of literature’s most beloved writers, whose own story was as complex and nuanced as that of any of the heroines she created.
Fans of Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife are going to fall in love with Jennie Field’s masterpiece, The Age of Desire. This book is so lush and perfect I savored my way through it, exploring the life of Edith Wharton through the eyes of her faithful secretary, Anna.
I am going to be completely honest here – I knew next to nothing about Wharton. I’d read recently some fiction that was inspired by her… but still knew next to nothing about the woman. This book remedied that. Inspired by Edith’s real letters and diary entries, Jennie Fields paints a picture of Edith that, while not always complementary, showcases well the extraordinary strength and will that Wharton had. How difficult it must have been, to be writing books like she wrote in a world dominated by male authors.
But she did, and as a result of all of the pain of her personal life, her heartbreak, and her desire for more, we received some of the most masterful pieces of fiction. And Jennie Fields … how beautifully written was this novel? I was worried that it would get confusing, since the changes of perspective were not what I’ve come to expect from books like this, but it flowed so well and I moved from viewpoint to viewpoint without feeling the slightest hitch. This book unfolded in my mind like a movie. That’s some fantastic writing there, my friends.
Don’t just take my word for it! Check out what these bloggers say!
- The publisher provided this review copy via NetGalley.
- Published by: Pamela Dorman Books, Penguin USA
- Release Date: 8/4/2012