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Summer: Illustrated Platinum Edition (Free Audiobook Included)

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How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Summer is a novel by Edith Wharton published in 1917 by Charles Scribner's Sons. The story is one How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Summer is a novel by Edith Wharton published in 1917 by Charles Scribner's Sons. The story is one of only two novels to be set in New England by Wharton, who was best known for her portrayals of upper-class New York society. The novel details the sexual awakening of its protagonist, Charity Royall, and her cruel treatment by the father of her child, and shares many plot similarities with Wharton's better-known novel, Ethan Frome. Only moderately well received when originally published, Summer has had a resurgence in critical popularity since the 1960s.


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How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Summer is a novel by Edith Wharton published in 1917 by Charles Scribner's Sons. The story is one How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Summer is a novel by Edith Wharton published in 1917 by Charles Scribner's Sons. The story is one of only two novels to be set in New England by Wharton, who was best known for her portrayals of upper-class New York society. The novel details the sexual awakening of its protagonist, Charity Royall, and her cruel treatment by the father of her child, and shares many plot similarities with Wharton's better-known novel, Ethan Frome. Only moderately well received when originally published, Summer has had a resurgence in critical popularity since the 1960s.

30 review for Summer: Illustrated Platinum Edition (Free Audiobook Included)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jaline

    This novel was first published in 1917 and I cant help but be amazed by that. The themes in this novel are current, and as real today as they were a hundred years ago. Charity Royall was born to a rough life on The Mountain and was rescued at the age of five by a lawyer in the village and his wife. After the death of his wife, Mr. Royall did the best he knew how to raise the girl, and although she knew their family was better off than the rest of the village, Charity was filled with conflict and This novel was first published in 1917 and I can’t help but be amazed by that. The themes in this novel are current, and as real today as they were a hundred years ago. Charity Royall was born to a rough life on The Mountain and was rescued at the age of five by a lawyer in the village and his wife. After the death of his wife, Mr. Royall did the best he knew how to raise the girl, and although she knew their family was better off than the rest of the village, Charity was filled with conflict and discontent. From my perspective, the conflicts and contrasts in this novel were the main themes: age versus youth, village life versus city life, mountain life versus village life, leaving versus staying, alone versus loneliness, independence versus dependence. All of the characters in this novel experienced opposing duties – they were pulled in different directions whereby sometimes the heart ruled and sometimes the head – both of which were also in conflict. How the characters navigate their internal and external struggles steers the plot and characters of this novel throughout. It is also part of what makes this a read as contemporary as our own time. Edith Wharton’s writing is amazing. Her descriptions are so vivid that I found myself easily visualizing the surrounding scenes and places, yet she doesn’t burden the reader with details that don’t matter. I found that every description had significance emotionally and/or physically to the characters and/or the plot. Although I hadn’t read any of Edith Wharton’s works before, I feel lucky that I somehow stumbled into this one as my first read. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of her work. For any person of the times she lived in, her writing stands out. I am even more impressed that somehow she broke through many different biases and prejudices of the time and still stands today as an exceptional woman writer – and an extraordinary writer among her contemporaries, male or female.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Candi

    "The longing to escape, to get away from familiar faces, from places where she was known, had always been strong in her in moments of distress. She had a childish belief in the miraculous power of strange scenes and new faces to transform her life and wipe out bitter memories." Ah, summertime. What better time of year to dream of escape, new love, and bright futures. Well, certainly Edith Wharton may reveal such dreams to you, but any reader familiar with this author knows that she will depict "The longing to escape, to get away from familiar faces, from places where she was known, had always been strong in her in moments of distress. She had a childish belief in the miraculous power of strange scenes and new faces to transform her life and wipe out bitter memories." Ah, summertime. What better time of year to dream of escape, new love, and bright futures. Well, certainly Edith Wharton may reveal such dreams to you, but any reader familiar with this author knows that she will depict the bitter reality for you as well. I was not misled into thinking this would be a feel-good diversion during a family road trip. I have read Wharton and knew what to expect – exceptional writing and an ending that would leave me reflecting about the fate of at least one or two characters for the next several weeks. I finished this book entirely satisfied and once again enamored with one of my favorite authors! Charity Royall. I love the name. It reflects the duality of her background and upbringing, as well as the inner turmoil of the character herself. At the age of five, Charity was rescued from ‘the Mountain’, a poverty-stricken community in the hills that loom over the small New England town of North Dormer. The people of the Mountain are likened to a band of outlaws living on the outskirts of society, and the people of the more ‘civilized’ village fear and often disdain their very existence. But Charity is constantly reminded that Lawyer Royall, a prominent citizen of North Dormer, is responsible for lifting her up to a higher standing and a better life. "She knew that she had been christened Charity to commemorate Mr. Royall’s disinterestedness in ‘bringing her down,’ and to keep alive in her a becoming sense of her dependence; she knew that Mr. Royall was her guardian, but that he had not legally adopted her, though everybody spoke of her as Charity Royall…" Mr. Royall too is a complex man. Why would a man of his station and intellect choose to remain in the lifeless town of North Dormer? "North Dormer is at all times an empty place, and at three o’clock on a June afternoon its few able-bodied men are off in the fields or woods, and the women indoors, engaged in languid household drudgery." He is developed with skill through Ms. Wharton’s pen as well. He is a man I first despised, then pitied, and eventually regarded with a bit of grudging sympathy and acceptance. "Come to my age, a man knows the things that matter and the things that don’t; that’s about the only good turn life does us." When a young man by the name of Lucius Harney suddenly appears in town, Charity is yanked from the monotony of town life into one with a glimmer of hope for that chance at love and escape. We as readers watch her grow and bloom. Anyone who has been in love can certainly relate to her now; I dare say perhaps you will even find yourself liking her. At the very least, you will empathize with her. "The only reality was the wondrous unfolding of her new self, the reaching out to the light of all her contracted tendrils. She had lived all her life among people whose sensibilities seemed to have withered for lack of use; and more wonderful, at first, than Harney’s endearments were the words that were a part of them. She had always thought of love as something confused and furtive, and he made it as bright and open as the summer air." Yet love is never simple, particularly in real life and no less so in a Wharton novel. There are the complexities of Charity’s background, the constant reminder of her origins. This becomes more intensely illuminated following a trip up the mountain with Harney. The chasm she senses between them is highlighted by their differences in education and opportunity. We keenly observe Charity’s struggle to bridge the gap. We wonder if she can successfully pull herself up from the drabness of North Dormer life, or whether she will molder like the dusty, untouched volumes on the shelves of the local library where she listlessly waits for a patron every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. If you have not yet read Wharton, I highly recommend starting with one of her short stories or novellas such as this. The settings are always beautifully described, and the themes are highly thought-provoking. The writing is very accessible and the exploration of social structures and the role of a woman can be applied even during our more ‘modern’ times. The plight of a woman and her more limited choices have certainly improved but have not been eradicated, and therefore should not be overlooked even now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    karen

    this book is touted as "edith wharton's most erotic book". the introduction blabs on and on about its eroticism, and how scandalous it is. so i have devised a little drinking game. i invite you - i entreat you - to prepare a shot glass with your favorite scotch or whiskey, and do a shot every time you start feeling a little hot from all the sexy good times. i pretty much guarantee that shot glass will be untouched by the end of your readings. this book is not erotic, even in the broadest, most this book is touted as "edith wharton's most erotic book". the introduction blabs on and on about its eroticism, and how scandalous it is. so i have devised a little drinking game. i invite you - i entreat you - to prepare a shot glass with your favorite scotch or whiskey, and do a shot every time you start feeling a little hot from all the sexy good times. i pretty much guarantee that shot glass will be untouched by the end of your readings. this book is not erotic, even in the broadest, most mormonic sense. i think there is a kiss or two, which for wharton is hot, but it's a stretch to call it "erotic". this is a book where people get preggers by proximity: two people of opposite genders are seated beside each other, and suddenly - the lady is up the pole. this might be the first appearance of the "sexy librarian" stereotype, but erotic?? far from it, ms. white gloves... come to my blog!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kalliope

    IN FULL CIRCLE This is a tale that comes to life during a Summer, and the descriptions of the airy landscape under the sun are amongst the most enrapturing aspects of this novel. And then there is a story of conflict. First and foremost, of the heroine, Charity Royall, who is not a heroine at all. She is in conflict with her past, with her present, and, she suspects, with her future. She rebels against those who, charitably, have offered her a refuge and a life, granting her her name as a IN FULL CIRCLE This is a tale that comes to life during a Summer, and the descriptions of the airy landscape under the sun are amongst the most enrapturing aspects of this novel. And then there is a story of conflict. First and foremost, of the heroine, Charity Royall, who is not a heroine at all. She is in conflict with her past, with her present, and, she suspects, with her future. She rebels against those who, charitably, have offered her a refuge and a life, granting her her name as a promising and foreboding start. The story seems to follow a straight path, a well-known path, but too many doubts, too many uncertainties, too many false impressions, too many unknowns, too many remote possibilities, make that path seem more and more like a treacherous chimeras, and the only way left is to go back to the beginning. And even if this could be taken as a lesson that one just has to accept things as they are and shun fantasies, I could not but feel that the main character ultimately fails. And even if she "had never known how to adapt herself, she could only break and tear and destroy" the often analyzed but still unresolved plights of women with their limited choices remain depressingly unresolved. Love comes and goes; Illusions come and go. At the end only life remains.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    Sweet sleepy warmth of summer nights Gazing at the distant lights In the starry sky And when the rain Beats against my windowpane I'll think of summer days again And dream of you --A Summer Song,Chad & Jeremy, Songwriters: Clive Metcalf / David Stuart / Keith Noble ``When I think of `Summer,' I think of it as one of Wharton's most heart-wrenching novels, about the very real agonies and results of young passion.'' Elizabeth Strout Charity Royall has just stepped outside of the home of her “Sweet sleepy warmth of summer nights Gazing at the distant lights In the starry sky “And when the rain Beats against my windowpane I'll think of summer days again And dream of you” --A Summer Song,Chad & Jeremy, Songwriters: Clive Metcalf / David Stuart / Keith Noble ``When I think of `Summer,' I think of it as one of Wharton's most heart-wrenching novels, about the very real agonies and results of young passion.'' – Elizabeth Strout Charity Royall has just stepped outside of the home of her benefactor, where she also lives, and stands on the doorstep, as this begins. ”It was the beginning of a June afternoon. The springlike transparent sky shed a rain of silver sunshine on the roofs of the village, and on the pastures and larchwoods surrounding it. A little wind moved among the round white clouds on the shoulders of the hills, driving their shadows across the fields and down the grassy road that takes the name of street when it passed through North Dormer. The place lies high and in the open, and lacks the lavish shade of the more protected New England villages. The clump of weeping-willows about the duck pond, and the Norway spruces in front of the Hatchard gate, case almost the only roadside shadow between lawyer Royall’s house and the point where, at the other end of the village, the road rises above the church and skirts the black hemlock wall enclosing the cemetery. “The little June wind, frisking down the street, shook the doleful fringes of Hatchard spruces, caught the straw hat of a young man just passing under them, and spun it clean across the road into the duck-pond.” Charity isn’t the most disciplined librarian that the Hatchard Memorial Library has ever had, where she works the hours from three to five on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but two hours drags on when the library rarely has patrons visiting, and so one day she decides to close earlier than usual - her usual that is – and she closes up at four o’clock, and walks along a trail, passing by the crumbling wall up the hill to where there is a cluster of larches, laying down to smell the thyme. ”She was blind and insensible to many things, and dimly knew it; but to all that was light and air, perfume and colour, every drop of blood in her responded.” Charity came to live with lawyer Royall as a young child, a child brought down from the mountains above where they lived, and while her life is easier than the life she would likely have known had lawyer Royall and his wife not raised her. But that was then, and his wife has passed on. Lucius Harney, a young architect, enters the picture, and shortly thereafter comes to stay at the Royall home, as a guest of lawyer Royall. While Charity’s initial introduction to him doesn’t go well, sparks fly, first in indignation, and soon thereafter she becomes intrigued, which begets a desire, a yearning for more. ”Harney tied the horse to a tree-stump, and they unpacked their basket under an aged walnut with a riven trunk out of which bumblebees darted. The sun had grown hot, and behind them was the noonday murmur of the forest. Summer insects danced on the air, and a flock of white butterflies fanned the moble tips of the crimson fireweed. In the valley below not a house was visible; it seemed as if Charity Royall and young Harney were the only living beings in the great hollow of earth and sky.” One hundred and one years ago, in 1917, when Edith Wharton’s ”Summer was first published, it was banned in the Berkshires. It was considered such a scandalous novel, that despite the fact that Edith Wharton had been a trustee of the Lenox library, they banned it from their library, as did the library in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. I’m not sure if Windsor, the town on which the fictional town of North Dormer was based, had a library, or if it did, if it was also banned there, but Pittsfield was the town that inspired the fictional town of Nettleton. Lenox apparently banned it because the author lived there and they didn’t want the public to associate the town with her. And so she moved to France. This was lovely, the writing is beautiful, the story has a natural, easy flow, and I grew to understand each character a bit more as the story progressed. A wonderful introduction, for me, to Edith Wharton’s writing. Many thanks to my goodreads friend Candi whose review prompted me to add this one. Since today is the last day of Summer, it seemed an appropriate one to choose to say goodbye to the warmer days of summer! Candi’s review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I am so in love with the writing of Edith Wharton. It makes me feel foolish to have had such a writer in full view and passed her over for so many years in favor of lesser ones. Edith Wharton's Summer is a different kind of novel than the others of hers that I have read, but not one bit less rich and enthralling. The main character, Charity Royall, is unsure of her place in society, raised in the home of one of the most prominent men in a small town but always made aware that she comes "from the I am so in love with the writing of Edith Wharton. It makes me feel foolish to have had such a writer in full view and passed her over for so many years in favor of lesser ones. Edith Wharton's Summer is a different kind of novel than the others of hers that I have read, but not one bit less rich and enthralling. The main character, Charity Royall, is unsure of her place in society, raised in the home of one of the most prominent men in a small town but always made aware that she comes "from the mountain". The mountain is peopled with the poor and uneducated, who are so lowly placed as to have no status whatsoever in the society on whose fringe they live. Charity bounces between a feeling of position and power and one of abject inferiority, her very name being a reflection of her lack of legitimate claim on the society in which she lives. Wharton brings all her elaborate writing skills to bear on this story, painting vivid pictures of the town, the natural surroundings and the people. The "love story" at the heart of the tale is full of tension and societal taboos, just as those entanglements we see in The Age of Innocence and House of Mirth. I became very involved in Charity's situation and anxious for her in the choices she was forced to make. The odd thing for me was that I kept thinking of Thomas Hardy and found this novel had an atmosphere and feeling that was more akin with him than with the Wharton works I know. Perhaps this springs from the fact that Wharton sets this novel in a rural, small town area without any of the glitz, riches and style that are her usual trademarks. Charity Royall isn't trying to climb the social ladder or gain entrance into a society she watches from outside, she is inside the society already trying to figure out exactly where she fits. If you have enjoyed other Wharton novels, you are almost sure to find this one a satisfying read. It is short, but powerful, and I closed the book feeling as if the story had come full cycle and reached its inevitable conclusion.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Written in Wharton's inimitable style the prose in this novella is of course beautiful. Every word and phrase lends itself to defining summer in a small country town. It makes for beautiful reading. Charity is not a likeable character but I still felt sorry for her. It was apparent from the outset that life would probably not go well for her, especially in one of Edith Wharton's novels which are not famous for happy endings. The ending was pretty inevitable although it could have been worse. For a Written in Wharton's inimitable style the prose in this novella is of course beautiful. Every word and phrase lends itself to defining summer in a small country town. It makes for beautiful reading. Charity is not a likeable character but I still felt sorry for her. It was apparent from the outset that life would probably not go well for her, especially in one of Edith Wharton's novels which are not famous for happy endings. The ending was pretty inevitable although it could have been worse. For a classic written exactly one hundred years ago this one is an enjoyable, easy read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    The summer version of Ethan Frome, but not quite as good.

  9. 4 out of 5

    ❀Julie

    This was another great read by Edith Wharton. Although not as favored as Ethan Frome which it has been compared to, I loved it for the similarities of the complex characters and relationships. This one was a sad sort of coming of age story but more profound than a simple summer romance, and far from formulaic. Apparently this was written based on Edith Wharton's own love affair which made it even more interesting and left me wanting to read more about her personal life. Definitely recommended This was another great read by Edith Wharton. Although not as favored as Ethan Frome which it has been compared to, I loved it for the similarities of the complex characters and relationships. This one was a sad sort of coming of age story but more profound than a simple summer romance, and far from formulaic. Apparently this was written based on Edith Wharton's own love affair which made it even more interesting and left me wanting to read more about her personal life. Definitely recommended for fans of her books. The writing is sophisticated and beautiful as typical of her style, yet easy reading for a classic. As usual she leaves you wondering about the characters.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Four reasons explain why this novella clicked for me: *It is not about glitzy high society. *It draws the life of ordinary people and it draws their lives realistically. *It illustrates that real life consists most often of choosing between mediocre alternatives. Rarely are we given that chance in a million, but at the same time a less optimistic choice need not be without hope or possibility. *It encourages readers to focus on the good that in fact does exist, in what appears at first glance Four reasons explain why this novella clicked for me: *It is not about glitzy high society. *It draws the life of ordinary people and it draws their lives realistically. *It illustrates that real life consists most often of choosing between mediocre alternatives. Rarely are we given that chance in a million, but at the same time a less optimistic choice need not be without hope or possibility. *It encourages readers to focus on the good that in fact does exist, in what appears at first glance only limited, unpromising choices. It is up to us to make the best of the choices given us. The message is not pounded in; it is delivered with subtlety. There, that is the essential--what I think the book conveys and why I think the book is worth reading. Of course, your view may differ from mine. The setting is the turn of the 20th century, a rural community near New Hampshire. We are told that the central character, Charity Royall, had been “taken down from the mountain”. Much of the story lies in discovering what exactly this means and subsequently its consequences. It is a novella about a summer dalliance--where this leads and how it changes those involved. Charity matures. Readers’ views of the characters change as one comes to understand them more fully. The book is a character study and about social restraints. How can I best describe Wharton’s writing style? Behind every action lies a balanced, nuanced understanding of human behavior. Actions are not melodramatic; they are instead quiet and sure. Each action is depicted precisely, exactly, with clarity. Each word is there for a purpose. All of this creates a particular feel to the prose. The audiobook is very well narrated by Lyssa Browne. It is so very good that you scarcely even pay attention to the fact that it Is being read. I have given the narration four stars. Summer 4 stars Xingu 3 stars Ethan Frome 1 star The Age of Innocence 1 star

  11. 5 out of 5

    Char

    Charity Royall. I loved her, hated her, sympathized with her, and cried for her. She's a young woman at age 19, bored with her life in a small New England town. Adopted by Lawyer Royall at a young age, she was saved from a life of poverty on the "mountain". One would think she would have been grateful, but not Charity. She hates Mr. Royall for what she sees as her imprisonment in small town drudgery, and also for his proposal of marriage. Enter Lucius Harney, sophisticated man about town; a young Charity Royall. I loved her, hated her, sympathized with her, and cried for her. She's a young woman at age 19, bored with her life in a small New England town. Adopted by Lawyer Royall at a young age, she was saved from a life of poverty on the "mountain". One would think she would have been grateful, but not Charity. She hates Mr. Royall for what she sees as her imprisonment in small town drudgery, and also for his proposal of marriage. Enter Lucius Harney, sophisticated man about town; a young architect visiting nearby. Suddenly, Charity's hopes of escaping North Dormer and her new found sexuality awaken. Charity learns some ugly life lessons, some sooner rather than later. This novel must have been shocking in 1917 when it was released. A young woman with sexual needs and desires was not something openly discussed in those days, certainly not in small New England towns. I have a fondness for Edith Wharton's work. She lived not too far from me, in a home she designed and had built herself. To me, she has always represented a fighter against the rules of society and their effect on women of the day. Unfortunately, the women in her stories often lose their fights. In this case, I choose to view the ending as a victory for Charity. She certainly made out better than poor Lily Bart. Recommended for fans of classics and readers that enjoy social commentary disguised as an entertaining tale.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Dubois

    Summer is not my first Edith Wharton novel and I remember having already enjoyed, many years ago, The House of Mirth. The French edition in which I read Summer, had no preface or postface, only a backcover text, saying: This is a novel that treats the female sexuality, seen as a powerful and constructive vital force. This novel was very modern for the time, 1918. So I approached this novel, the way I like to: without notice, without knowing the story or having read any review. A direct dive into Summer is not my first Edith Wharton novel and I remember having already enjoyed, many years ago, The House of Mirth. The French edition in which I read Summer, had no preface or postface, only a backcover text, saying: This is a novel that treats the female sexuality, seen as a powerful and constructive vital force. This novel was very modern for the time, 1918. So I approached this novel, the way I like to: without notice, without knowing the story or having read any review. A direct dive into the unknown! What a happiness! This book teased me throughout my reading: why didn’t the guardian of Charity the main character, give her an education worthy of its name, he who is educated? Education is the only thing Charity is missing that would have allowed her to have a totally different life. Charity struggles in a small village unknown to the rest of the country, whose uneducated villagers have retrograde and narrow thoughts. She wishes for herself another future, having no idea of which form it could have, because of her lack of knowledge. However there is knowledge around Charity, in the tiny library of the village, full of dusty books. But, alone in front of them, she is discouraged: how to approach this knowledge? The first person Charity must fight to rise, to get out of her village and her condition, is herself; and that's the hardest thing in the world. These are the lacunas of Summer’s characters that lead them into this story beautiful, sad, strong and, after all, when I imagine a sequel to the novel, full of hope. Here are some Summer phrases that I have extracted for you from the book, in order to make you want to read THIS BOOK THAT MUST BE READ! « She knew nothing of her early life, and had never felt any curiosity about it: only a sullen reluctance to explore the corner of her memory where certain blurred images lingered. But all that had happened to her within the last few weeks had stirred her to the sleeping depths. She had become absorbingly interesting to herself, and everything that had to do with her past was illuminated by this sudden curiosity. She hated more than ever the fact of coming from the Mountain; but it was no longer indifferent to her. Everything that in any way affected her was alive and vivid: even the hateful things had grown interesting because they were a part of herself. » « She had lived all her life among people whose sensibilities seemed to have withered for lack of use » « The best way to help the places we live in is to be glad we live there. » And now as usual the French version, the original one : Été n’est pas mon premier roman d’Edith Wharton et je me souviens d’avoir déjà beaucoup apprécié The House of Mirth. L’édition française dans laquelle j’ai lu Été, n’avait ni préface ni postface, only a backcover text, disant : C’est un roman qui traite de la sexualité féminine, vue comme une force vitale puissante et constructrice. Ce roman était très moderne pour l’époque, 1918. J’ai donc abordé ce roman, comme j’aime aborder un roman : sans avis, sans en connaître l’histoire. Une plongée directe dans l’inconnu ! Que du bonheur ! Été m’a fait enrager tout au long de ma lecture : pourquoi le tuteur de Charity, personnage principal ne lui a-t-il pas donné d’éducation digne de ce nom, lui qui est instruit ? L’éducation est la seule chose qui manque à Charity et qui lui aurait permis d’avoir une vie totalement différente. Charity se débat dans un petit village ignoré du reste du pays, dont les villageois incultes ont des pensées rétrogrades et étriquées. Elle souhaite pour elle-même un autre avenir, en ayant aucune idée de la forme qu’il pourrait avoir, faute de savoir. Pourtant, il y a du savoir à portée de ses yeux, dans la minuscule bibliothèque du village, pleine de livres poussiéreux. Mais, seule face à eux, elle se décourage : comment aborder ce savoir ? La première personne que Charity doit combattre pour s’élever, se sortir de son village et de sa condition, c’est elle-même ; et c’est ce qu’il y a de plus difficile au monde. Ce sont les lacunes de ces personnages qui les entraînent dans cette histoire belle, triste, forte et, somme toute, quand j’imagine une suite au roman, pleine d’espoir. Voici maintenant quelques phrases d’Été que j’ai extraite pour vous du livre, afin de vous donner envie de lire CE LIVRE QU’IL FAUT LIRE ! « De ses premières années, elle ne savait rien et jusqu’à ce jour aucune curiosité à ce sujet n’avait poussé en elle : elle éprouvait plutôt une répugnance secrète à explorer les recoins de sa mémoire où trainaient, çà et là, certaines images à demi effacées. Cependant, tout ce qui lui était arrivé depuis ces dernières semaines l’avait profondément remuée et troublée. Elle se sentait prise pour elle-même d’un intérêt nouveau, absorbant, et cette curiosité soudaine projetait sa lumière sur tout ce qui se rapportait à son passé. (…) Tout ce qui d’une façon quelconque la touchait était devenu pour elle vivant et animé ; même les choses dont elle était le moins fière prenaient de l’intérêt puisqu’elles étaient une partie de sa propre vie. » « Elle avait toujours vécu parmi des gens dont la sensibilité semblait s’être flétrie faute d’usage. » « La meilleure façon de faire du bien là où on vit, c’est d’y vivre en étant heureux d’y vivre. »

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna Luce

    ★★★✰✰ 3.25 stars Now she knew the meaning of her disdains and reluctances. She had learned what she was worth when Lucius Harney, looking at her for the first time, had lost the thread of his speech, and leaned reddening on the edge of her desk. But another kind of shyness had been born in her: a terror of exposing to vulgar perils the sacred treasure of her happiness. Although short Summer is an interesting read. Feelings and actions are obliquely revealed or hinted at, so much so that many of ★★★✰✰ 3.25 stars “Now she knew the meaning of her disdains and reluctances. She had learned what she was worth when Lucius Harney, looking at her for the first time, had lost the thread of his speech, and leaned reddening on the edge of her desk. But another kind of shyness had been born in her: a terror of exposing to vulgar perils the sacred treasure of her happiness.” Although short Summer is an interesting read. Feelings and actions are obliquely revealed or hinted at, so much so that many of the decisive events that our 'heroine' Charity experiences are only alluded to or described in an indirect fashion. Because of this, the changing dynamics between the various characters can at times be hard to follow or understand. Yet, Wharton's narration does render, withan almost painful accuracy, those emotions and thoughts that can align the reader to Charity's state of mind. There is a sense of sadness and growing unease that makes this novella into a rather distressing reading experience. While the story examines class, gender, and desire in an intriguing manner it also presents us with many unhappy scenarios and characters who are selfish, greedy, and snobbish. Wharton deftly illustrates how Charity's background (the fact that she comes from "up the mountain" ) not only negatively affects her reputation—that is the way she is perceived by others—but it is also the cause of her own sense of inferiority. Almost incongruously to this deeply ingrained feeling of shame, and the fear that she is like her mother (a poor woman of ill reputation), Charity holds the fervent belief that she is superior to others and deserving of an exciting and self-fulfilling life. These contrasting beliefs are the likely reason why Charity denies herself happiness and in self-denial she bottles up her love for Lucius Harney. The story is not a happy one, and as Charity mirrors her mother's path, readers will find the turn of events to be almost inevitable ones. Perhaps a slower narrative could have examined in even more depth Charity and her story, as the narrative in Summer quickly moves from scene to scene without much room to digest the causes and consequences of Charity's actions... Read more reviews on my blog / / / View all my reviews on Goodreads

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    If you're looking for accessible classics, Edith Wharton's novellas are a good place to start. Although I preferred Ethan Frome over this book, both of these novellas resonated more strongly with me than Wharton's more popular novels (The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence). As in "Frome", "Summer" is set in a small New England town and centers around the complex relationships of just a few main characters. For me, this is where Wharton is at the top of her game. Love is never easy or If you're looking for accessible classics, Edith Wharton's novellas are a good place to start. Although I preferred Ethan Frome over this book, both of these novellas resonated more strongly with me than Wharton's more popular novels (The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence). As in "Frome", "Summer" is set in a small New England town and centers around the complex relationships of just a few main characters. For me, this is where Wharton is at the top of her game. Love is never easy or straightforward on Wharton's pages, and it rarely enters the equation when marriage is concerned. "Summer" is a sad coming-of-age tale where young Charity Royall learns many of life's cruel lessons -- about class, about men, and about loneliness -- all too soon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    This would make a really good chamber opera.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Summer lovin', had me a blast Summer lovin', happened so fast* This one immediately made the jump onto my Characters I Want to Slap shelf when I was introduced to Charity Royall, a bored teen who is fortunate enough to have a job in a library, but she HATES it! (SLAP!) Charity is basically at the age when she hates EVERYTHING, particularly the older man who has rescued her from an uncertain fate up on the Mountain, and the gossipy, small town where she currently resides. . . . we all live in the Summer lovin', had me a blast Summer lovin', happened so fast* This one immediately made the jump onto my Characters I Want to Slap shelf when I was introduced to Charity Royall, a bored teen who is fortunate enough to have a job in a library, but she HATES it! (SLAP!) Charity is basically at the age when she hates EVERYTHING, particularly the older man who has rescued her from an uncertain fate up on the Mountain, and the gossipy, small town where she currently resides. . . . we all live in the same place, and when it's a place like North Dormer it's enough to make people hate each other just to have to walk down the same street every day. And then one day . . . a certain young man appears in town and causes her to become a quivering Jell-O mold of lust and racy thoughts. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one, especially given that I disliked Charity. By the end of the book, however, when (view spoiler)[she is broken and beaten down, the spirit and spunk all but driven out of her (hide spoiler)] , I had actually started to care for her a bit. I'm wondering what that says about me. Am I jealous of her youth and beauty, like the small town hags so quick to judge her, or am I just happy this library-hater got her comeuppance? Despite being hailed as a novel of "sexual awakening," there are no spicy scenes here, though it was interesting how frankly the specter of unwanted pregnancy was dealt with in a book published in 1917. As far as classics go, this is a relative bit of fluff, but like summer itself, the book has a nice languid charm. The haze of the morning had become a sort of clear tremor over everything, like a colourless vibration about a flame; and the opulent landscape seemed to droop under it. But to Charity the heat was a stimulant; it enveloped the whole world in the same glow that burned at her heart. *Summer Nights by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    As much as I am fond of Edith Wharton's work, every time she writes about them poor peoples, I am weary. Her Ethan Frome, describing woes of some peasants, wasn't authentic or credible enough, IMO, and neither is Summer. The main character in this novella, Charity Royall, was "brought down from the Mountains" in infancy and raised by a big wig lawyer in a tiny town of North Dormer. Charity is smart, albeit not particularly educated, and holds a very peculiar position in town. She is too good for As much as I am fond of Edith Wharton's work, every time she writes about them poor peoples, I am weary. Her Ethan Frome, describing woes of some peasants, wasn't authentic or credible enough, IMO, and neither is Summer. The main character in this novella, Charity Royall, was "brought down from the Mountains" in infancy and raised by a big wig lawyer in a tiny town of North Dormer. Charity is smart, albeit not particularly educated, and holds a very peculiar position in town. She is too good for the village lads, but not too polished to refined society. When a young, attractive architect shows up in North Dormer, Charity is taken by him. Even though she knows very well he is out of her league, she nevertheless starts a sexual affair with him. Summer is often called the most provocative and erotic of Wharton's, and I suppose it is. In a sense, that here you at least know that some sex took place, unlike in Wharton's other novels, where everything is so vague and hush-hush, you have to often play that did they/didn't they game. But, naturally, things never get raunchier than mentioning of a Mexican blanket or descriptions of her lover's "young throat, and the root of the muscles where they joined the chest." Summer is a decent novella, but not as good as Wharton's stories about repressed and oppressed high society ladies. She should have left farmers and prostitutes to those authors who knew the subject matter better, someone like Guy de Maupassant or W. Somerset Maugham.

  18. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Gotta love a book about a library! Very short novel. I think I finished it in about 6 hours? A story of what it means to have pride and hopes only to have them crash and burn. I related to Charity, I regret to say. I hope it's not a spoiler to say to you that I became pregnant at the age of 17, which completely changed my life, my goals, my outlook. I was rooting for Charity. I was really hoping she wouldn't make certain decisions that, because of where she lived, how she was reared, the times, Gotta love a book about a library! Very short novel. I think I finished it in about 6 hours? A story of what it means to have pride and hopes only to have them crash and burn. I related to Charity, I regret to say. I hope it's not a spoiler to say to you that I became pregnant at the age of 17, which completely changed my life, my goals, my outlook. I was rooting for Charity. I was really hoping she wouldn't make certain decisions that, because of where she lived, how she was reared, the times, she thought she had no other choices. This was a bit depressing. But it's a story that resonates today.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anthea Syrokou

    This read was rather short compared to other books Ive read by Edith Wharton. It's also extremely different to other books the author has written which centre around the elite in New York during the Gilded Age. In contrast, Summer is set in New England, and it deals with poverty and a womans limitations in such a depressing, isolating setting. We quickly see the similarities with some of her other books, such as the expectations and suffocating limits that many women were faced with at such This read was rather short compared to other books I’ve read by Edith Wharton. It's also extremely different to other books the author has written which centre around the elite in New York during the Gilded Age. In contrast, Summer is set in New England, and it deals with poverty and a woman’s limitations in such a depressing, isolating setting. We quickly see the similarities with some of her other books, such as the expectations and suffocating limits that many women were faced with at such times. Although in this poor, eery, and bleak setting, women were faced with poverty, as well as the glare of society and the unforgiving, merciless shadow that it cast on its people — ensuring that women adhere to the rules. I quickly also drew similarities to Charlotte Bronte’s classic Jane Eyre when reading this book. It had the same eery, mysterious feeling, and an almost hopeless feeling lingering in the musty air — it was as though dreams were so unattainable and that many only saw the darkness around them and refused, or were afraid to see the light. In Summer, the protagonist is Charity Royall. Charity immediately seemed like a rude, unlikable, young teenage girl who didn’t appreciate her environment, perhaps because she always knew she was different to people around her — that she belonged to the people of the Mountain — a mysterious place near North Dormer, where she lives. Mr Royall, an intelligent lawyer, had raised Charity with his wife, hence they saved her from a miserable life of poverty, isolation and despair amongst the Mountain folk. The reader would assume that Charity would thus be content with her circumstances, but Mr Royall becomes completely isolated from the town they live in when his wife dies. He raises Charity on his own, and he slips into his own isolation — this is also due to the fact that he always felt that he was above many in the town. They are not as educated and he cannot relate to anyone. Thus, ironically, Charity does feel miserable and poor in spirit, even if she has abundant food to eat. I sensed that she detested this dependence she had on Mr Royall; that she had to be indebted to him forever, and she wanted to remain free — this could not be more felt at a time when her sexuality is awakened, by a young architect who is from New York. This young man, Lucius Harney, spends time in North Dormer, and carries out research on some of the dated older houses. He meets Charity at the library where she works. It is here where the rift between Charity and Mr Royall intensifies. The reader sees Charity in action through the dialogue when she first meets Harney. She is defensive and abrupt, while he speaks gently and eloquently. There is chemistry from the onset, and I felt that Harney could see the spirit and energy in Charity’s soul, even though she was listless, and a defeatist — she had given up on maintaining the books in the library and had no interest in improving the library — her work environment. Harney ignites a flame within Charity — one that was perhaps always waiting to be lit. There is a slight “cinderella complex syndrome” here I felt as I read. Although Charity had a rebellious, defiant nature, I felt that she didn’t try to improve her circumstances on her own. However, Charity does not like to be told what to do, and we see her fiery outbursts many times. As unlikable as she seems to be, I felt for her, and I felt how oppressed, repulsed, and confused she felt in her surroundings. The feeling that “the grass is always greener” elsewhere always lingered in her mind, yet we see her being drawn to the Mountain — and she suddenly becomes almost like a martyr — wanting to sabotage her happiness, and punish herself as though to prove a point, not unlike Jane in Jane Eyre. Charity acts without thinking — fleeing instead of brainstorming a plan. However, in real life people may also act hastily, and desperate times do call for desperate measures. It is hard to judge how anyone would act in such depressing circumstances where any little hope one may have is easily crushed when there is no inner belief that things can change, or any self-confidence that they can dig themselves out of their despair without succumbing to the demands of others. The writing was very detailed and rich with beautiful prose and descriptions about nature. I can’t expect anything less from Edith Wharton. Although, the names of the flowers and plants left me thinking that I need to be a horticulturist to know what they are and what variety they belong to. It may have been too much at times. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Although it didn’t have the same intellectual, witty dialogue that Wharton’s other books had, the cleverness revealed itself in a more implicit way, and it did keep me glued to my seat. I wanted to know what would happen next, and could not wait until I did. I was left wanting more as it is a shorter read, and as usual, the author leaves the reader with so many questions. It also left me feeling repulsed as there were a few taboo issues, but I had to remind myself that back in the day in New England, these issues may have been the norm. I also find it hard to believe that Charity was that naive because she had seen things happen to many in her town and yet did not think it would happen to her? I had to remind myself that love is blind. She is very wise — street-smart as opposed to book-smart, yet she still is young and it does then make certain situations plausible due to her not having seen much outside of North Dormer, and also due to her lack of experience. She may also have not wanted to see any signs as it would be too painful, real, and final. The complexity of the character began to make sense as I began to see that many things she hadn’t experienced before confused her, and presented new conflicts, both in the outside world and inside her own world — her inner being. The positives outweighed any negatives for me. I was totally immersed in this book that I felt like I just woke up from a dream when I finished reading the last sentence. In fact I was frustrated because I was woken up too quickly and I didn’t get to see what happens next in the dream. Then I realised that the dream may have been over and the book did end even if it didn’t turn out as I expected, and the story continues to grow in my mind and heart just as the author probably intended. Just because we think we wake up before a dream is over does not mean it isn’t actually over — the dream may have revealed what it wanted us to know from our subconscious mind, just like Edith Wharton revealed what she wanted the reader to know. I was left feeling completely baffled and stupefied by this book, yet at the same time I was also left feeling content and enchanted by it. A very unique and intriguing read!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Appel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had the pleasure of reading this short novel for the second time this week after many years. As a Wharton admirer -- she is highly on my list of literary crushes (although if The House of Mirth is any indication, I can't say she'd want much to do with a middle-class Jew whose grandmother did piece work) --please always take my devotion with a few grains of salt. That being said, I was surprised at how provocative and modern the novel seemed on this second visit, not only a commentary on early I had the pleasure of reading this short novel for the second time this week after many years. As a Wharton admirer -- she is highly on my list of literary crushes (although if The House of Mirth is any indication, I can't say she'd want much to do with a middle-class Jew whose grandmother did piece work) --please always take my devotion with a few grains of salt. That being said, I was surprised at how provocative and modern the novel seemed on this second visit, not only a commentary on early 20th century social constrictions, but also a trenchant reflection on adolescence and love. (Caveat: Summer is far different in sensibility from Wharton's urban novels like The Age of Innocence and The Custom of the Country.) I will trust most readers of this review are already familiar with the basics of the plot: 18-year-old Charity Royall of North Dormer, Massachusetts, pursues an ill-fated romance with visiting illustrator and architect Lucius Harney. Meanwhile, she parries unwanted matrimonial advances from Lawyer Royall, who has raised her since childhood, but ultimately Harney jilts her and she acquiesces to a marriage with Royall. What I would like to suggest -- as unpopular as this non-conventional reading may sound in the era of MeToo and "Cat Person" -- is that Lawyer Royall is a far richer, complex and more sympathetic character than he is generally portrayed to be. That is not to say he is without serious flaws: the moment where he drunkenly tries to seduce his ward, the episode where he calls her a whore on the dock, possibly even his wish to marry a teenager he has raised from age five. Okay, points made. (I suspect he is closer to 45 than 60, but still....) HOWEVER: Unlike Harney or Charity or anybody else in the novel, Lawyer Royall is the only character who repeatedly and consistently displays a capacity altruism, self-sacrifice and meaningful love. This occurs most notably when he offers to retrieve Harney and use his legal knowledge to compel the architect to marry Charity even though this means losing the woman he professes to love. (I find this offer sincere and the suggestion that it might be a seduction strategy rather unconvincing.) Similarly, he tracks down Charity after her ultimate "disgrace" and marries her, knowing that he will be raising another man's child--and does not even raise the issue with her. I found the moment when he sleeps on the chair in the hotel during the first night of their marriage very sad, but it certainly seems he has no intention of forcing himself on Charity in the future, even though they are legally married (which was probably a reader's expectation in that epoch). Key to all of this, of course, is that throughout most of the novel, as by her own assessment, the power dynamic in their relationship favors Charity, not Lawyer Royall. Obvious, by contemporary standards, his conduct is problematic -- but by the standards of 1917, he proves himself generous and selfless in a way Harney certainly never does, and we are also led to believe that the other men in the town generally do not. (Harney is more or less a foil, one of literature's many two-timing louts who play off their good looks and money.) Why Royall wants to marry Charity is itself a puzzle. She is obviously beautiful, and intelligent (if uneducated), as well as tempestuous, but she's not particularly kind -- and even excusing her early misfortune growing up "on the mountain," she can prove lazy (letting the library in her charge decay), judgmental (scorning Julia Hawkes, who has been ostracized for an unwed pregnancy) and cruel (as she often is to Royall.) She also has her redeeming moments, as when she writes to Harney urging him to stick to his promise to marry Annabel Balch, but as a heroine, she is rather troublesome, if not outright infuriating. Of course, Wharton meant her to be -- not as an indictment of Charity herself, but an indictment of the limitations her society placed upon women of her age -- but she proves much less compelling (in the sense of rooting for her, not in the sense of enjoying reading about her), to my tastes, than Lily Bart or Ellen Olenska or even Mattie Silver in Ethan Frome. In any case, other readers should feel free to disagree with me. But they should read this masterful book, because it's a highly engaging and thought-provoking gem that transcends time and place. (PS: If you're out there somewhere, Edith, and want to dine, my calendar is wide open....)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    This was my first Wharton, and I was surprised at how accessible her writing was! It made me interested in reading more of her work for sure. This one, however, was a bit lackluster. It has some lovely descriptions and seems very progressive for its time. But overall the story was mediocre and the ending so abrupt!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laysee

    Published in 1917, Summer is a novella set in a small village in North Dormer, New England. Its protagonist is Charity Royall, a sheltered and ignorant young woman seeking a brighter future for herself. It is a sad story that gives a human face to the futility of the struggle against poverty and the attendant lack of social opportunities. As with almost all of Whartons novels, questions are raised about how much control individuals have over their circumstances and whether there are real choices Published in 1917, Summer is a novella set in a small village in North Dormer, New England. Its protagonist is Charity Royall, a sheltered and ignorant young woman seeking a brighter future for herself. It is a sad story that gives a human face to the futility of the struggle against poverty and the attendant lack of social opportunities. As with almost all of Wharton’s novels, questions are raised about how much control individuals have over their circumstances and whether there are real choices for positive change. In Charity Royall, Wharton has again created a heroine whom one both loathes and pities. Charity is the ward of the village’s premier citizen and lawyer, Mr. Royall, who ‘brought her down from the mountain’. She has had no formal education but her connection to Mr. Royall installed her as the custodian of the village library. However, Charity hates her life in North Dormer, especially when she is frequently reminded to be thankful for being plucked from the mountain, an outlaw colony. Charity is not easy to like. She comes across as discontented, self-conscious, defensive, and proud. To her credit, she is fiercely independent. She also has good self-awareness and no illusions about her lack of social advantage even as she harbors dreams of marrying better than her peers. Charity imagines herself as having a royal sway over the household (after her adoptive mother died) and regards Mr. Royall with contempt. Charity’s sense of feeling trapped and her desire to escape remind me of Ethan Frome’s similar predicament in Starkfield, another cloistered New England village (the setting of Ethan Frome). For Charity, as for most women in the early twentieth century, a good marriage seems to be the only ticket to happiness. Then a stranger, ‘young and careless’ comes to North Dormer. There are promising prospects in Lucius Harney, an architect from the city who is charmed by her physical attractiveness. Charity feels hopeful in the richness of the present and rosiness of the future. The need to leave her home becomes more pressing for other reasons. (view spoiler)[The widowed and lonely Mr. Royall shows up one night in Charity’s bedroom. He later proposes marriage, which she finds abhorrent and repugnant. There is something creepy about Mr. Royall’s desire to marry his ward, and Charity’s refusal is perfectly reasonable. (hide spoiler)] Harney is full of considerate sweetness and gaiety but is he reliable? Charity is keenly conscious of the educational and social gulf between them. How will this affect their relationship over the long haul? More importantly, is Harney trustworthy? With Wharton, one feels well guided and prepared for the way her story will develop. There are clear signposts that foreshadow future development and the destiny of her characters who are given room to grow. (Charity becomes more likeable over time.) The seasons mirror the progress of the relationship between Charity and Harney. The heat of summer and the growing passion of the lovers give way gradually to the chill of fall and torrential rains that strip the trees bare. I like how Wharton keeps us thinking about who the real villain is in this novel. Wharton’s prose is a joy to read. She has a keen eye for nature and the joys of exploring the countryside. There are lovely passages that enshroud nature in rapturous prose: beads of dew on the grass; tufts of sweet fern unfurling; the white mist filling the hollows between the hills, etc. There is a vivid description of a surreptitious Fourth of July trip to the town (Nettleton) that spells heady delight for the couple on their cherished escape from the inquisitive faces of North Dormer. Summer is my fifth novel by Edith Wharton. It is less compelling than The Age of Innocence (in my view her best novel), but it is a realistic, albeit sobering, portrayal of the status of women at the turn of the twentieth century. Good book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I will from now on put my trust completely in Edith Wharton. My first of her novels was The Age of Innocence, which captivated me and then in the end, grabbed my heart out of my chest and stomped all over it. What power she has, I thought. After that I tried to read The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth, but left them both unfinished. My excuse was that the characters were irritating. More recently I read Ethan Frome, and was captivated yet again. With Summer, I think Im starting to I will from now on put my trust completely in Edith Wharton. My first of her novels was The Age of Innocence, which captivated me and then in the end, grabbed my heart out of my chest and stomped all over it. “What power she has,” I thought. After that I tried to read The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth, but left them both unfinished. My excuse was that the characters were irritating. More recently I read Ethan Frome, and was captivated yet again. With Summer, I think I’m starting to get it. Edith Wharton is for grown-ups. She wants to take you to a troubling place. While she’s laying her awesome descriptions on you, she’s slipping in glimpses of the complexity of humanity, the irony of our lives. Just like real people, her characters are not always easy to like. And just like real people, that’s okay. They have things to teach us. Of course I would love this for the descriptions alone. To misquote Butch Cassidy, Edith Wharton has vision, and the rest of us wear bifocals. “Every leaf and bud and blade seemed to contribute its exhalation to the pervading sweetness in which the pungency of pine-sap prevailed over the spice of thyme and the subtle perfume of fern, and all were merged in a moist earth-smell that was like the breath of some huge sun-warmed animal.” This is brilliance here. Detailed description plus a bonus metaphor. You don’t just read it—you feel it, you get inside it, you understand it. She could just say the Charity blushed. But with “Her happy blood bathed her to the forehead,” we learn so much more. She makes you see the world with fresh eyes. “It was of white straw, with a drooping brim and cherry-coloured lining that made her face glow like the inside of the shell on the parlour mantelpiece.” I read that, like most aspects of Wharton’s fiction, the title “Summer” has a double meaning. As fitting the architectural theme of the story, “summer” also means a building’s interior support beam. I also read that according to Wharton, Lawyer Royall is who the story is really about. I’m ready now to tackle the rest of Wharton’s fiction. All of it. “Come to my age, a man knows the things that matter and the things that don’t; that’s about the only good turn life does us.”

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Intensely creepy and sordid. Although the novel's main plot is the romance between Charity Royall and her handsome young beau Lucius, I couldn't get past the whole incest thing (view spoiler)[(Charity ends up marrying her guardian, an alcoholic withered up older man - the man who raised her...who once called her a whore in public...) (hide spoiler)] . There's also some extreme poverty herein which is almost painful to read about (much worse than in Ethan Frome - I'm talking some near animalistic Intensely creepy and sordid. Although the novel's main plot is the romance between Charity Royall and her handsome young beau Lucius, I couldn't get past the whole incest thing (view spoiler)[(Charity ends up marrying her guardian, an alcoholic withered up older man - the man who raised her...who once called her a whore in public...) (hide spoiler)] . There's also some extreme poverty herein which is almost painful to read about (much worse than in Ethan Frome - I'm talking some near animalistic mountain people). It would be interesting to do a literary study of abortionists. The one here, Dr. Merkle, is (shockingly) a woman. The first time Charity Royall goes to see her, Dr. Merkle seems almost kindly, until she announces her fee - $5 - for a medical consultation only, no procedure. Charity doesn't have enough money and leaves the brooch her lover Lucius has given her as collateral. When at the end of the novel, with $40 from lawyer Royall in her pocket, she goes to retrieve the brooch, Dr. Merkle suddenly raises her fee to $40, which she considers "insurance" on the brooch. Contrast this with the abortion doctor in An American Tragedy, who gets a sudden attack of morality when Roberta Alden desperately needs his services, and sends her away untreated. Marilyn French in her introduction calls this Wharton's best novel, and it is also French's favorite. She loves the eroticism, and admires the way Charity stretches the boundaries of female behavior in her time. Oddly, given that French is a writer fairly interested in sex, she never mentions the incest theme. She does very helpfully note that "in the Victorian period, it was considered improper for a gentleman to offer a lady his chair, since it might retain the body warmth of his buttocks. The proper thing was for him to rise and fetch a fresh chair for her." That is so thoughtful, and it makes me wish for a return to Victorian times. There is nothing worse than sitting down on someone else's nasty butt heat, unless you are a cat.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    3.5*** When she was a young child, Charity Royall was rescued from the Mountain by Lawyer Royall, who is now her guardian. Now shes eighteen, feeling bored in the small town of North Dormer, and itching to spread her wings. When she meets Lucius Harney, an architect from the city who is visiting his cousin, her eyes are opened to possibilities she hasnt dared dream about. Their mutual attraction garners some unwanted attention and results in gossip that Charity ignores until it is too late. 3.5*** When she was a young child, Charity Royall was rescued from “the Mountain” by Lawyer Royall, who is now her guardian. Now she’s eighteen, feeling bored in the small town of North Dormer, and itching to spread her wings. When she meets Lucius Harney, an architect from the city who is visiting his cousin, her eyes are opened to possibilities she hasn’t dared dream about. Their mutual attraction garners some unwanted attention and results in gossip that Charity ignores until it is too late. Wharton wrote this circa 1917 when she was living in France. When published, it shocked readers; they were not used to reading about a young woman’s awakening sexuality. I wonder if they would have been so shocked if Wharton had set the novel in France, rather than in the Berkshires. Charity is head-strong and passionate, but also naïve. As frequently happens in Wharton’s novels, the principal characters never come out and say what they mean. They are frequently acting based on assumptions, rather than on a true understanding of the facts. Wharton knew the social makeup of turn-of-the century America, and used her novels to explore the nuances of the “rules” – spoken and unspoken – by which people, especially women, had to live. In this, as in other novels, the social fabric of the community is as much a character as any of the people in it. It’s a slim novel, and a great introduction to Wharton’s writing. I still prefer House of Mirth , but this was an enjoyable read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    The second of Edith Wharton's "rural" novels and the one that shows us more clearly how she viewed life in these remote areas and her most daring work. The author seemed impressed by the natural scenery and the sensation it created - which led her to very beautiful descriptions - but at the same time, she realized that there were many limitations and little mental stimuli in the life in these places. The young heroine of the book realizes this and spends her days thinking of a way to escape in The second of Edith Wharton's "rural" novels and the one that shows us more clearly how she viewed life in these remote areas and her most daring work. The author seemed impressed by the natural scenery and the sensation it created - which led her to very beautiful descriptions - but at the same time, she realized that there were many limitations and little mental stimuli in the life in these places. The young heroine of the book realizes this and spends her days thinking of a way to escape in order to enjoy the most intense life in a big city. The visit of an educated man from New York suddenly opens new horizons for her and awakens the erotic passion within her. However, things are more complicated and the practical difficulties coupled with the strict morality of the village that expected specific things from women create many problems and make our heroine choose between breaking up and compromising, with neither option to be easy. So the difference between small and big cities, the position of women, with its limitations and the call for greater independence, which in turn has a price, love that does not follow conventions, moral restrictions and many more keep us busy while reading this book. The author criticizes and questions the strict ethics of her time, is in favor of progress, but is also concerned about what could be done in a society where no moral rules were in place. The quasi-primitive society where our heroine comes from is an example of total freedom but also a complete absence of culture, where she grew up is a stagnant place, while a sophisticated society where she wants to become a member offers her a balance between freedom, morality and great potential. With this quasi-Darwinian example, the author presents her view on the evolution of society. Beyond these theories, however, it is a story of a modern woman, unwilling to compromise, struggling to fulfill her dreams and experiencing her sexual awakening without feeling shame for it. In conclusion, this is an emotionally rich book that at the same time offers a social commentary - which may not be what I imagine - and a message for all women at the same time, I believe not only of the time the author lived but also our own, as even today there are limitations and difficult decisions. Το δεύτερο από τα "εξοχικά" μυθιστορήματα της Edith Wharton και αυτό που μας δείχνει πιο ξεκάθαρα πώς έβλεπε τη ζωή σε αυτές τις απομακρυσμένες περιοχές αλλά και το πιο τολμηρό της έργο. Η συγγραφέας από ότι φαίνεται εντυπωσιάζονταν από το φυσικό τοπίο και την αίσθηση που δημιουργούσε - κάτι που την οδήγησε σε πολύ όμορφες περιγραφές - αλλά την ίδια ώρα καταλάβαινε ότι στη ζωή σε αυτά τα μέρη υπήρχαν πολλοί περιορισμοί και ελάχιστα πνευματικά ερεθίσματα. Η νεαρή ηρωίδα του βιβλίου το αντιλαμβάνεται αυτό και περνάει τις μέρες της σκεφτόμενη ένα τρόπο να ξεφύγει για να μπορέσει να απολαύσει την πιο έντονη ζωή σε μία μεγάλη πόλη. Η επίσκεψη ενός μορφωμένου άνδρα από τη Νέα Υόρκη της ανοίγει ξαφνικά νέους ορίζοντες και ξυπνάει μέσα της το ερωτικό πάθος. Τα πράγματα, όμως, είναι περισσότερο περίπλοκα και οι πρακτικές δυσκολίες μαζί με την αυστηρή ηθική του χωριού που περίμενε συγκεκριμένα πράγματα από τις γυναίκες δημιουργούν πολλά προβλήματα και βάζουν την ηρωίδα μας να διαλέξει ανάμεσα στην ρήξη και το συμβιβασμό, με καμία από τις δύο επιλογές να είναι εύκολη. Έτσι η διαφορά ανάμεσα στις μικρές και τις μεγάλες πόλεις, η θέση των γυναικών, με τους περιορισμούς της και το κάλεσμα για μεγαλύτερη ανεξαρτησία που όμως με τη σειρά της έχει και αυτή ένα τίμημα, ο έρωτας που δεν ακολουθεί τις συμβάσεις, οι ηθικοί περιορισμοί και άλλα πολλά μας απασχολούν στη διάρκεια της ανάγνωσης αυτού του βιβλίου. Η συγγραφέας κριτικάρει και αμφισβητεί την αυστηρή ηθική της εποχής της, είναι υπέρ της προόδου, παράλληλα, όμως, προβληματίζεται για το τι θα μπορούσε να γίνει σε μία κοινωνία όπου δεν θα ίσχυαν ηθικοί κανόνες. Η σχεδόν πρωτόγονη κοινωνία από πού προέρχεται η ηρωίδα μας είναι ένα παράδειγμα απόλυτης ελευθερίας αλλά και απόλυτης απουσίας πολιτισμού, στο μέρος που μεγάλωσε υπάρχει στασιμότητα ενώ η εξελιγμένη κοινωνία όπου θέλει να γίνει μέλος της προσφέρει μία ισορροπία ανάμεσα στην ελευθερία, στην ηθική και στις μεγάλες πιθανότητες που ανοίγονται. Με αυτό το σχεδόν Δαρβινικό παράδειγμα η συγγραφέας παρουσιάζει την άποψή της για την εξέλιξη της κοινωνίας. Πέρα από αυτά τα θεωρητικά, όμως, πρόκειται για μία ιστορία μιας σύγχρονης γυναίκας, που δεν ήθελε να συμβιβαστεί, που πάλευε για να εκπληρώσει τα όνειρα της και βίωσε την σεξουαλική της αφύπνιση χωρίς να νιώθει τύψεις για αυτό. Εν κατακλείδι, πρόκειται για ένα πλούσιο συναισθηματικά βιβλίο που προσφέρει παράλληλα ένα κοινωνικό σχόλιο - που μπορεί και να μην είναι αυτό που εγώ φαντάζομαι - και ένα μήνυμα για όλες τις γυναίκες, πιστεύω όχι μόνο της εποχής που έζησε η συγγραφέας αλλά ακόμα και της δικής μας, καθώς ακόμα και σήμερα υπάρχουν περιορισμοί και δύσκολες αποφάσεις.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I was told this book was dirty, and ...well, to be fair, I was told it was dirty "for Wharton," which I suppose is true as far as it goes, but still: oblique references to illicit trysts aren't exactly begging for the fap when you fade out after they hold hands. Remind me this though: next time I'm sitting next to a leathery woman from Lowell on the bus and she's all "Hey, what are YOU reading?" and I say "Edith Wharton" and she mishears me and thinks I said "It's for work," and gives me a I was told this book was dirty, and ...well, to be fair, I was told it was dirty "for Wharton," which I suppose is true as far as it goes, but still: oblique references to illicit trysts aren't exactly begging for the fap when you fade out after they hold hands. Remind me this though: next time I'm sitting next to a leathery woman from Lowell on the bus and she's all "Hey, what are YOU reading?" and I say "Edith Wharton" and she mishears me and thinks I said "It's for work," and gives me a lecture about reading for work on buses, which apparently is bullshit, not that I disagree, the right response is not "No, Edith Wharton, and it's gonna be cool because I heard it was dirty." You won't really get a disapproving look - I mean, wtf, she's from Lowell, that's probably the nicest thing she's ever heard on a bus - but she will decide that you're now buddies and you might want to see a picture of a cat her friend died red, white and blue for the Superbowl. Because, y'know, the cat is a Pats fan. I'm not kidding about any of this. You know I don't kid. And I guess it's working; we're up 17 - 9 in the third quarter. Dear Boston, the only reason I looked up the score is so I could reference it in this Edith Wharton review I'm writing during the Superbowl; after this I'm gonna go back to reading Nathaniel Hawthorne. I ain't gotta defend my masculinity to the likes of you. Wharton and Hawthorne were both here before the Patriots were so don't go yelling at me about loyalty, yahdood.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laura Leilani

    I was going to give 4 stars but the ending deserves an extra star. Reading about the way of life in a small town in the very early 1900's is like reading about a different planet. Charity was brought down from the mountain people to be raised in town. The mountain people are almost like animals- think Deliverance. The town is average for a small town of the time: no shops; no theaters; just some houses and a church. It's so hard to think of people living this way! Charity works part time in the I was going to give 4 stars but the ending deserves an extra star. Reading about the way of life in a small town in the very early 1900's is like reading about a different planet. Charity was brought down from the mountain people to be raised in town. The mountain people are almost like animals- think Deliverance. The town is average for a small town of the time: no shops; no theaters; just some houses and a church. It's so hard to think of people living this way! Charity works part time in the library, a library rarely used by anyone. What are these people doing for fun, if not reading?! I guess they were too busy surviving, since everything had to be done by hand: making and mending clothes for instance or growing vegetables or raising chickens for eggs. The setting here is like another planet! The basic story is sex out of wedlock and it's consequences, also about the limited choices women had. The description of the main character and her feelings ring true: wanting a change/ not knowing what you want/ feeling restless/ it all rang true. I didn't like Charity at first. Her bad grammar, lack of drive to do anything ( she could have gone to school or learned a trade), her lack of imagination, her lack of curiosity ( she works at the library but doesn't read) made me irritated with her. She seemed to have the genes of the mountain people she came from. The book is well written, I cannot say this strongly enough, and very moving. I thought the author would go for some cheap shots for pity for the character, but the author never does. Absolutely beautiful.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    WHAT THE FRENCH FRIES. THIS STORY IS TERRIBLE. Charity is instantly unlikable, but I began to appreciate her straightforwardness and ballsiness. She's lazy and selfish, though, and speaks terribly to people. She's also totally naive. Harney is a classic, predictable charmer and I kinda instantly disliked him because of where I assumed this was gonna go. I liked that he cared about the books, though. Respect, brother. Royall is repulsive and I was so disgusted by his hitting on the girl he basically WHAT THE FRENCH FRIES. THIS STORY IS TERRIBLE. Charity is instantly unlikable, but I began to appreciate her straightforwardness and ballsiness. She's lazy and selfish, though, and speaks terribly to people. She's also totally naive. Harney is a classic, predictable charmer and I kinda instantly disliked him because of where I assumed this was gonna go. I liked that he cared about the books, though. Respect, brother. Royall is repulsive and I was so disgusted by his hitting on the girl he basically raised as his daughter. Like, I know things were different in the 'olden days' but damn, this was way too weird for me to be okay with it. This story has some serious issues and I am so disturbed by it. The writing was pretty in places, though, and conveys a very clear picture of summer in a small town. I'll admit it: the writing is actually okay. Predictable in places, but I tell ya what: I did NOT see myself being so disturbed by this book. The repulsion I feel after reading it suggests its actually a pretty decent slice of writing. Plot though: minus a billion stars. If you like classics that are totally messed up, by all means, go for it. What a freaking mess.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Do you ever find yourself giving something good a lower rating than something sort of formulaic and meh because the latter is fine for what it is, but the former is on a different scale with all the other Edith Whartons and you know that she can do better?

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