Paperback Publication Date: May 28, 2013
For fans of The Paris Wife, a sparkling glimpse into the life of Edith Wharton and the scandalous love affair that threatened her closest friendship.
They say that behind every great man is a great woman. Behind Edith Wharton, there was Anna Bahlmann—her governess turned literary secretary and confidante. At the age of forty-five, despite her growing fame, Edith remains unfulfilled in a lonely, sexless marriage. Against all the rules of Gilded Age society, she falls in love with Morton Fullerton, a dashing young journalist. But their scandalous affair threatens everything in Edith’s life—especially her abiding ties to Anna.
At a moment of regained popularity for Wharton, Jennie Fields brilliantly interweaves Wharton’s real letters and diary entries with her fascinating, untold love story. Told through the points of view of both Edith and Anna, The Age of Desire transports readers to the golden days of Wharton’s turn-of-the century world and—like the recent bestseller The Chaperone—effortlessly re-creates the life of an unforgettable woman.
My ThoughtsThe Age of Desire serves as a meticulously rendered tableau of Edith Wharton's life.
Set during the time just after the publication of her critically acclaimed novel The House of Mirth; this novel allows readers a glimpse at what prove to be defining moments in Mrs. Wharton's existance.
Being a woman in the early 1900's is by no means an easy thing. Even if you do live a life as opulent as that of our Mrs. Wharton. She is a product of the "woman are but feathers in the cap of their men" generation. Her most important role being that of "someone's someone".
The problem with train of thought.
Edith's loveless marriage.
One Morton Fullerton. It seems that the spark of sexual passion that Mr. Fullerton is able to ignite in Edith acts as a golden sun to the tender blossom that is her womanhood. Readers get a front and center seat and are allowed intimate access to some of the most tender and most heart-rending moments of her relationship with "the man of her heart".
While her relationship with Mr Fullerton is a new one, the one that she has with her governess, turned secretary, and always loyal lifetime friend, Anna Bahlmann, is one that has lasted her life. As the second voice in the story, Anna serves as the narrator of both her and Edith's pasts and losses. I dare say that Anna appears to have a bit of a martyr complex at times. It seems as though Anna wants the freedom that Edith finds, but is too afraid to step out of Edith's shadow to find it.
This book is so well written and seems to express it's subject so completely, that it is very easy to lose sight of the sight of the fact that it is fiction.
This is a read that enthralls, repels, intrigues, and titillates with every turn of the page.
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About the Author
Still, fiction was her great love. Writing during her lunch hour and after her daughter’s bedtime she penned her first novel, Lily Beach, which was published by Atheneum in 1993 to much acclaim. Since then, she’s written three more novels including Crossing Brooklyn Ferry and The Middle Ages. Her latest, The Age of Desire, is a biographical novel based on the life of the author dearest to her heart, Edith Wharton. An Editor’s Choice of the New York Times Book Review, it describes Wharton’s mid-life love affair with a younger, manipulative man. Why the affinity to Wharton? Because she wrote about people attempting to break society’s expectations for them – which is something Fields has been yearning to do all her life.