The Age of Desire
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The Age of Desire

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3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  792 ratings  ·  245 reviews
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 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 l...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Pamela Dorman Books (first published August 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Cynthia
I love Edith Wharton. She’s one of my favorite writers which is why, in part, I was disappointed with “Age of Desire”. At its center is a very tedious love story and at the heart of the love story are characters that show no development. They circle the same tired emotions and interactions throughout the book. No one grows.

I did enjoy some of the insights into Wharton’s writing life the international milieu in which she moved. Of course Henry James appears and she blends easily in artistic salon...more
Sharlene
This book was recieved as the result of a GoodReads giveaway.

I was a bit leery picking up this book as I knew I had a busy few weeks ahead of me and might not get enough time to pick it up or worse, what if I forgot what was going on and who was who?

Let me reassure you, this is the PERFECT summer read! I'm not a romance girl and although some may consider this a romance genre I loved the weave of the story and the richness of the characters...I would find myself sometimes cross with Edith Wharto...more
Eliza
9/7/2012: A good airplane read, especially if you're a fan of Edith Wharton (which I AM!). But that's all it is--and I was expecting so much more from this "imagined biography" of Wharton's mid-life extramarital love affair. Based on her letters and those of her governess-turned-secretary Anna Bahlman, the story fleshes out the known facts of Wharton's life from 1908-1910 (with an epilogue in 1916) with a story both prosaic and melodramatic. The writing is limited and boring (if she said the wor...more
Laura Lee
I enjoyed this book very much. It tells two love stories, one between a man and woman, and one between two best friends (women). There are heart breaking moments, when someone is crushed or feelings hurt, when someone feels left out and lonely. The writing was beautiful. The characterization was fantastic. It is one of my favorite books of the year. I can't say enough, but am afraid to say anything that gives the plot away. I have read biographies of Edith Wharton (the main character) before and...more
Eve
This book was received for free through Goodreads First Reads.

As an Edith Wharton fan, I was eager to start in on this book. I quickly realized it was written more like chick lit than traditional historical fiction. No big deal, I thought – I like chick lit too. But the writing was worse than that. The prose was more similar to books I’d been assigned to read with my 4th grade pen pal - including exaggerated explanations of pronunciations of French words, unnecessary clarification of points that...more
Erin
Giveaway opportunity: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I came to Jennie Fields' The Age of Desire utterly ignorant of Edith Wharton's personal story. Though familiar enough with her body of work, I had no concept of the woman behind it which made this book a pretty exciting prospect in terms of content. What I wasn't prepared for was the quality story I would find between these pages.

I think one of the greatest chall...more
Jaylia3
In her memoir Edith Wharton doesn’t mention Anna Bahlmann, a devoted servant who started out as her governess but who continued to play a prominent role as Edith grew older by becoming her companion and literary secretary. This novel explores some of the very personal stories Edith left out of the memoir but used as inspiration for her own novels and poetry. Written from both Edith’s and Anna’s points of view, The Age of Desire imagines their lives during the trying period when middle-aged, unha...more
Kory Wells
It is 1907, and Edith Wharton has come into her own with the publication of The House of Mirth. Everyone in Paris - even the servants - seems to know she is a famous American author. Graced by the luxuries of her upper-class status, her writing life is rich with travel abroad, friendships with other writers such as Henry James, and the steady support of her childhood governess turned secretary, Anna Bahlman. But in her personal life, Edith is restless in a way that travel and books and smoking a...more
Nancy
This dreary novel about Edith Wharton's sexual awakening was more sad than satisfying. I expected to gain some insight into Wharton's writing through this "deep dive" into her life, but that
didn't occur.

Instead, I developed contempt for her character without the balance of an appreciation of her talent. Her genius was constantly mentioned, but Field's writing was not strong enough to convey its components.

. . . The Wharton in this book didn't display much intelligence;

. . . She didn't demonstra...more
Mari
I don't know where to start..., this book was perfect. I have always loved EW, now I am more curious about her life and will probably read a biography. This is one of the rare books that you know you will not forget. I give VERY few books 5 stars, but this deserves every single one!
Stephanie Ward
'The Age of Desire' is a work of literary fiction that chronicles the inner life of American author Edith Wharton, her close friendship with a woman named Anna, and a scandalous love affair that threatens to destroy their bond. Being a current graduate student working on my degree in Literature, I jumped at the chance to read a book that detailed more of the private life of Wharton - one of America's greatest female writers.

Fields did a impeccable job with her novel. Her writing style flowed eff...more
Christy B
3.5

The Age of Desire is a fictionalized account of the love affair between famous novelist Edith Wharton and journalist Morton Fullerton. The book is told from the perspectives of Edith and Edith's long-time friend and secretary Anna Bahlmann. Between the two of them, we see how Edith's affair with Morton affects the long relationship between Edith and Anna.

This was a fabulously told story told over the years 1907 through 1910 from Massachusetts to France to England. I loved the time period, and...more
Sarah


This should have been something I loved but for some reason a little over half way through I just couldn't go on. It wasn't that the story or writing was bad but I was just bored. And I got to a point where the little battle in my head of Just Finish The Book vs. There Are Too Many More To Read the nagging of other worlds won.
The book (from what I have gathered thus far) is about Edith Wharton- famous female author of the early 1900's. It's historical fiction researched to where the author use...more
Lydia Presley
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...more
Sandie
The Age Of Desire opens in Paris. Edith Wharton, who has just written The House Of Mirth, is attending a literary salon. Her eyes are drawn to a newcomer, a man named Morton Fullerton. He is charismatic, compelling, and draws the attention of men and women alike. For some reason, he seems attracted to Edith, a position a married woman in her forties is not used to. Especially one such as Edith, who has lived her life married to a man whom she has, at best, a friendship with, no love or passion....more
Jenny
4.5 Exceeded my expectations (which had admittedly been lowered by the other recent Wharton-inspired novel, The Innocents by Francesca Segal).

Edith Wharton and her governess-turned-assistant Anna Bahlman share center stage in this novel, and it is a credit to author Jennie Fields that their stories are equally compelling. Edith has neither love, nor intimacy, nor even any longer affection for her husband Teddy; Anna does not see how Edith can treat "a good man" so carelessly and coldly. When Ed...more
Barb
I liked this fictionalization of Edith Wharton's life and her affair with Morton Fuller. I thought Jennie Fields imagined a plausible progression for the events that affected Edith Wharton's life and the risks she took in having an extramarital affair and her motivations for doing so. I thought the relationship between Edith and Anna Bahlmann was dear and sad at the same time. I enjoyed reading about the time period and about Edith Wharton. I would have liked an author's note included to point o...more
Rebecca Huston
I really enjoyed this novel about Edith Wharton, her husband Teddy, their friend Anna Bahlmann, and the man who messes it all up -- Morton Fullerton. The writing is beautiful and lyrical, the characters very believable and sympathetic, and the story all based in fact. While most readers will find it all slow going, that was for me part of the charm of this one, where it seems that Edith is taking forever to make up her mind -- at times I found myself thinking, go on, get on with it! -- the resul...more
Shan
Reading this book was like eating an entire cone of cotton candy: I couldn't stop, and then when I was done I was like, wow, that was not necessary in life. Although the book certainly has its merits (some of the descriptive writing is quite good, and the social world of rich, artistic expats in Paris is pretty fun to read about), the characters' dialogue and inner monologues often don't ring true. By the end, I was hurrying through not because I wanted to know what happened, but because I had l...more
Maggie Holmes
This book does what a good book often does: it sent me off in many directions. I remember the feelings of first love, the intensity of it, that Edith experiences. (Though, I can not write about it as she does.) I loved Edith Wharton's books when I read them some 40 years ago and this book makes me want to re-read them. I'm planning a trip out to Lenox -- hopefully with my book club after we read this book. Curiously, there was an editorial in the Prov. Journal bemoaning the fact that the Common...more
G
Sometimes, you are better off knowing less about your favorite authors. Oh, Edith Wharton ...

Not only is this a good book about the life and loves of Edith Wharton, you can also try to win a copy of it from me via my blog, The Girl from the Ghetto.

Win 1 of 2 copies of The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields.

Open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway ends 8/10/12 at 10 p.m.

Enter here:

http://thegirlfromtheghetto.wordpress...
Thebooktrail
Whether you have read any book by Edith Wharton or not will not matter before you start the The Age of Desire. By the end of the novel, you will not only be able to see but you will feel as if you know Edith Wharton intimately and want to read her books.

I myself have read The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth although it was quite a while ago. I now feel as if I have met the woman who wrote them.

The author, Fields, can effortlessly and skillfully draw people and places with her words. I ha...more
Catherine
There are two stories of love in Age of Desire. One is Edith Wharton’s affair with a young journalist and the other is the more enduring constant love between friends. In 1907, Wharton resides in Paris for the winter with her husband, Teddy, and assistant, Anna. Her marriage to Teddy is in name only: he is much older and they have nothing in common. As Edith describes herself she “was raised to be a lady, not a woman.” Into this passionless life comes a young journalist who sweeps her off her fe...more
Jo Anne B
This is a story told from the point of view of two women in the early 1900s. One is Edith Wharton, a wealthy woman who gets famous after writing her first novel. She is 48 years old and stuck in a marriage to Teddy whom she had sex with once after they had been married two weeks and it hurt her so bad, they never had sex again. She had tried to ask her mother before the wedding night about sex and her mother laughed at her and then angrily told her she should already know. Well, she never found...more
Marcie
Edith Wharton is known for her classic books such as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence. She lived in the Gilded Age where money and public status went hand in hand. Jennie Fields takes us back to that day and age through the eyes of Edith Wharton and her long time companion, Anna Bahlmann. The book covers the middle of Edith's life, her torrid affair with Morton Fullerton, and her lasting friendship with Anna. Though this book is fiction, it's based on actual events in Wharton's life.
I...more
The Lit Bitch
4.5 stars.

The dynamics between Anna and Edith work well together in the novel. Anna’s character highlights the Victorian idea of what a woman and a wife should be like….forever doting on their husbands and being polite and respectable….in essence drab and uninteresting. But yet Anna has a hint of the modern woman in her. She longs to find love and she is educated with a mind of her own….but she maintains that layer of propriety that makes her a true Victorian ideal.

Edith on the other hand has tr...more
Ruth
2.5 Stars. Despite the acclaim and financial success she's received from her runaway bestseller The House of Mirth, author Edith Wharton is unhappy and restless. Trapped in a passionless marriage, barely able to tolerate the emotional needs or attentions of her husband Teddy, Edith's one outlet through her adult life has been to channel her fierce intellect and unfulfilled emotions through her writing. Her investment in her craft finally pays off with Mirth's success -- but her friendship with n...more
Colleen Turner
I reviewed this book for www.luxuryreading.com.

In 1907 Paris, Edith Wharton appears to have a perfect life. She is a wealthy woman and an accomplished writer. She is able to travel to her heart’s content and divides her time between New York, Paris and a large summer home in Massachusetts. She is constantly surrounded by cultured people and accomplished friends. But a closer look behind the glamour shows an unhappy woman.

At the age of forty six, bookish, prim and somewhat prudish Edith finally e...more
Booksintheburbs
I have always been mesmerized with Edith Wharton, as I am a fan of her work. I love “The Age Innocence” and “The House of Mirth”. So, it was quite exciting to read a book about the woman behind the masterpieces. Jennie Fields’ research is shown throughout and I loved reading about the complex relationship Edith had with her husband, Anna (her governess and secretary), and her scandalous relationship with Wharton.

This book is one that can’t be read in one or two sittings. It’s like a stew….sure i...more
Cheryl
I have never heard of author, Edith Wharton until now. I can not rightfully say what drew me to this book to want to check it out but glad I did. While, I didn't really fall in love with this book or Edith, I did think that Mrs. Fields did a wonderful job of telling Edith's story. I could tell that Mrs. Fields had a respect for Edith and Paris. She told Edith's story as honestly and truthfully as she could by incorporating letters and diary entries from Edith. I liked the world that Mrs. Fields...more
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6440505
I love books and longed to start writing them when I was six years old. I wrote my first full- length novel in third grade. It was 365 pages! My teacher didn't have time to read it. As I am less wordy now, I hope you will find the time to read my books.

My new novel, The Age of Desire is based on the life and loves of my favorite novelist: Edith Wharton. Wharton's characters feel as real to me as t...more
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“There is nothing one can do to delay the inevitable, and so it's best just to stand tall.” 4 likes
“But passion and pride rarely occupy the same space.” 3 likes
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