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Sanctuary

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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  348 ratings  ·  37 reviews
As her marriage to an eminent and wealthy bachelor approaches, Kate Orme should feel nothing but bliss. But when she learns of Denis's guilty secret, she becomes painfully aware of her fiancé's flawed morality. Determined that no child of hers should inherit such character traits, she does everything in her power to instill in their son the highest moral code. Yet, when Di...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Hesperus Press (first published 1903)
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Stela
For a modernist author, Edith Wharton is actually very traditional in Sanctuary, which is written almost like a classical work: with compositional equilibrium and morale and care for the metaphor. However, the novella isn’t pedantic (I don’t think there is a work of Edith Wharton that could be accused of this) and not even the theme – the power of education - would make you think so.

Shortly, this is the story of a young girl whose illusions about “happily ever after” are shattered just before h...more
Krysta
I am sorry to report that Sanctuary simply was not of the same stuff that made Age of Innocence and House of Mirth great.

Many have addressed the morality angle behind this book: the main character married a morally deficient man with the hope that she could correct the deficiency in their children. Questionable judgment on her part? Probably. But I found that more impactful, if not interesting, part of Sanctuary to be the main character's inevitable development into what can only be called Amer...more
Claire
The very short Sanctuary was published in 1903 and, as I thought about it, it struck me how Wharton's oeuvre is of such quality that you can pick anything, from anytime, and you'll still find yourself with something worth reading. Even if it's far from such peaks as The Age of Innocence o The House of Mirth, it will always be an insightful glance at a charachter's inner life and moral struggles.
She's probably the only one that could have had a remote hope of replacing Jane Austen as first goddes...more
Tatiana
Do women still do this sort of thing - marry a man they suddenly find out is a very unsavory/immoral character because they want to make sure any child born to this man is raised not to be like his father? And then, once this child is all grown-up, instead of advising him what is right or wrong, stand back to let him take the wrong path? Such idealism and passivity are hard for me to comprehend. But, as always, written beautifully.
Lilmissmolly
I listened to the audio book version of Sanctuary narrated by Lee Ann Howlett. Sanctuary is one of Wharton's earlier novellas, having been published in 1903. As such it does not have the polished quality of her more famous works, such as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence. However, Sanctuary includes Wharton's trademark use of dramatic irony.

The story centers on Kate, who marries a man after she discovers that he is morally flawed by failing to acknowledge his now deceased brother's wi...more
Rafa
Escribe tan bien...
Pamela
An about-to-be-married young women discovers a dark secret about her fiance. This compelling novella describes the choice she makes about what to do with her knowledge, and how that choice plays out over the decades. It's always such a pleasure to sink into Wharton's clean, controlled, evocative prose. So (seemingly) simply wrought, so effective. I found this title at a used book sale; I'd never heard of it. Glad I added it to my Wharton library.
Jennifer
Kate is madly in love with her fiancé. She is planning their wedding and looking forward to their future together. Unfortunately, she is about to find out a secret that he has that will forever change what she thinks of him. With this newfound knowledge, she is toils with her desire to be morally upright and for him to “do the right thing”. Years later, she finds herself in a similar situation, only this time with her son.

In this novella, Ms Wharton has explored the dilemma of morality in a wor...more
Dave
A two-part plot that is reviewed in detail elsewhere. Wharton's style in 'Sanctuary' is a step in the stream of conciousness direction, as typified by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, compared to the more accessible yet stronger plotted 'Ethan Frome'. Recommended as a study of literary form or moral dilemma examination.
Judy
This is a very slight novella by Edith Wharton - I enjoyed her beautiful prose style, but felt that, after a strong and disturbing opening, the rest of the story falls off somewhat and isn't up there with her at her greatest.
Maddy Hutter
Sanctuary is an early Wharton novella which addresses the immoral consequences of conventions of early 20th century well-to-do society. Kate Orme is about to be married when her fiance reveals an awful lie to her. She is thrown into a moral quandry but resolves (for a fairly complicated reason) to marry anyway. Slip forward 25 years; Kate's husband died years before and she has raised her son alone. The are very close (some would say too close. . .) and Kate must watch as he struggles with his o...more
Misfit
Oct 08, 2013 Misfit marked it as the-kindle-black-hole  ·  review of another edition
That should be enough kindle classic freebies for today. Couldn't stand seeing the box of credit card machine tape on my Amazon recent purchases :p
Bárbara
Este libro fue una experiencia extraña. Nunca había leído nada de Edith Wharton.

La historia no tiene nada de extraordinario y creo que el mérito del texto no radica ahí, sino en la forma. Fue muy placentero leer algo tan "articulado", tan cerebral para describir un drama de corte tan doméstico y mundano. Es como leer una versión limpia y hasta algo snob (y utilizo el término como halago, no como insulto) de un escenario corriente de la vida privada.

Creo que el mérito de Santuario radica en la p...more
Dave
“Sanctuary” is a novella by Edith Wharton, published in 1903. From what I have read, the plot did not cause any surprises at the time, but today the story seems rather unusual. It is a story which deals with ethics, morality, and family honor. While there is nothing particularly unusual in that, some of the choices made by the main character, Kate, seem rather drastic today, and one has a difficult time imagining that any woman today would make similar choices. The story is divided into two part...more
Judy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane
The opening line of Sanctuary stunned me.

“It is not often that youth allows itself to feel undividedly happy; the sensation is too much the result of selection and elimination to be within the awakening clutch of life.”

It’s a sad view of the world. And maybe a reminder of just how much the world has changed in the last hundred years or so.

Kate Orme is happy though. She is in love, and all her hopes and dreams are built around one person: her fiancé, Denis Peyton. But there are things she doesn’t...more
Craig
Kate Orme, engaged to be married to Denis Peyton, discovers a dark secret and postpones the marriage. Upon reflection, she rationalizes that if she fails to marry him, he would marry some other woman who would be oblivious to his secret and thus unprepared to steel any child born to them from perpetuating the father's (Denis) propensity. She proceeds to marry him, has a son by him, and her husband Denis dies seven years later. Kate becomes devoted to her son and raises him to be successful profe...more
Elizabeth
Meh... it was okay. I like Wharton's style of writing but this storyline was a bit dry. This is the first Edith Wharton book I've read and I will read more for sure.
Captmashpea
so definitely not my favorite Edith Wharton. I didn't listen to this book as I fell asleep at night and I think I might have missed some stuff mostly cuz its a short story everything happens really fast. but what I'm really getting from it is that Dick was a ridiculous mama's boy and his relationship with his mother was kind of sick.
(audiobook).
Atlantis
This was not a favorite of mine. I love Edith Wharton and have liked other books that she has written but this one was disappointing. Her writing is as free flowing and easy to read as ever but the somber tone and feeling of "this can't end well" is just a downer from the very beginning. I think it is a good example of how woman had so few choices in the Victorian Era regarding marriage and family.
Valerie
I'm slowly making my way through Wharton's novels and short story. I loved this one : the idea of a moral dilemma like this is foreign to our modern world, but really quite compelling. It will stay with me for a while.
Alison
I liked this least of the 3 works by Wharton I have read. It relationship between the mother and son actually seemed rather creepy. But it does provide an interesting variation on Wharton's character types. The beautiful materialistic young woman is there. The good but weak man entralled by female beauty is there--but this time the mother saves the day!
Rachel
Not up to part with Wharton's other novels, this is a rather simplistic tale of a woman who intentionally marries her lover after she discovers him to be morally flawed. Her motive is to prevent his children from inheriting his questionable ethics. Wharton's prose is still masterful but the plot is somewhat pendantic.
Lucy
The writing, as usual with this author, is 5 star. The first part is superb, but I was so cross with Kate's decision, which gives us the second part, that I've knocked a star off. But even though I disagree with Wharton's plot decision, she paints a truly horrifying picture of smother love.
Nicole
I have more to say about this book, as I think it was a clever Modernist gesture toward the contrast between relativism and naïve moral absolutism, but my final impression was... "huh?" I literally have no idea what the ending is supposed to mean.
Catherine Siemann
Minor Wharton, about morally flowed men and overprotective mothers. I dithered between two and three stars because it's certainly not the level of writing I would ordinarily expect from EW, but I did find myself getting engaged by the moral dilemmas.
Amanda Ridge
I am normally Wharton's biggest fan; however, this book really fell short of the bar! I thought it was an interesting set up but it went down hill from there. The writing was slow at times (but still often beautiful). Sigh! I was very disappointed.
Linda K
Beautifully written story of moral dilemmas and how they affect relationships.

Elegant phrasing and prolific use of words makes a full, rich storyline.

All of Wharton's work is well worth the reading time.
Luckngrace
Reads like a short morality play. I prefer more layered stories, but this one has stood the test of time so I'll defer to others on this one.
Karen
May 30, 2007 Karen is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
It's amazing how many books have this title, or as part of their title. Faulkner has a book by the same name, which I'm thinking of reading next.
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Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the a...more
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“But hitherto she had been like some young captive brought up in a windowless palace whose painted walls she takes for the actual world. Now the palace had been shaken to its base, and and through a cleft in the walls she looked out upon life.” 1 likes
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