Colleen's Reviews > Summer

Summer by Edith Wharton
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May 03, 2009

really liked it
Read in July, 2004

** spoiler alert ** Edith Wharton now ranks up there with my favorite authors: Jane Austen, the Brontes, and Somerset Maugham. I've absolutely loved every book of hers that I've read. Summer is no exception. The story is timeless--a young, naive girl becomes enchanted by a man who breezes into town and has an affair with him. There are, of course, consequences--she becomes pregnant. The fact that this was written in 1917 must have been scandalous. As usual, with Wharton's books, there is no black and white, just lots of grey areas. She does a great job setting the stage for summer. You can feel the heat, the beauty of nature surrounding you. Summer lulls you into a certain mood. I remember summer boyfriend so I understand how Charity would throw caution to the wind. I was unsure whether to trust this guy or not. Even by the end of the book I didn't know whether he used her to get sex or if he truly loved her but was already engaged to someone else. (If he was engaged, though, then what was he doing with Charity anyway?) I was even more confused about Charity's guardian. He certainly did several distasteful things, but at heart, he seemed like a good guy. Why was he so obsessed with Charity? What did he expect from her? And at the end of the book, it's unclear if Charity had truly come to terms with her marriage to him or if she was still in a daze from all that had happened to her. He certainly took advantage of the situation and rushed her into marriage. But she seemed to come around to him and he certainly seemed willing to take care of her despite her scandalous past.(Maybe he rushed her into marriage so he could claim the child was his and save her from gossip. Or maybe I'm overestimating him.) I need to read this again to catch everything. That's what I love about Wharton's books. They stay with you; you can't forget them very easily.
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