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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  8,413 Ratings  ·  694 Reviews
Considered by some to be her finest work, Edith Wharton's "Summer" created a sensation when first published in 1917, as it was one of the first novels to deal honestly with a young woman's sexual awakening. "Summer" is the story of proud and independent Charity Royall, a child of mountain moonshiners adopted by a family in a poor New England town, who has a passionate love ...more
Paperback, 150th Anniversary Edition, 216 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Signet (first published 1917)
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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 m ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
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
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 fo ...more
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-read
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
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 straig
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
Jul 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 1001, 2011
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
“Summer's lease hath all too short a date.”
― William Shakespeare

Romona Youngquist

If ever she looked ahead she felt instinctively that the gulf between them was too deep, and that the bridge their passion had flung across it was as insubstantial as a rainbow. But she seldom looked ahead; each day was so rich that it absorbed her.

From the first she had needed him more than he had wanted her, and the power that had swept them together had been as far beyond resistance as a great gale loosening th
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, s
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maureen McDonnell
Shelves: fiction

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). 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
Book Concierge

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.

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 lectu ...more
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who loves edith wharton
Recommended to Sherien by: boof
Shelves: 20th-century
…She had always thought of love as something confused and furtive, and he made it as bright and open as the summer air…

This is a story about a young girl from a very low social status who lives in a dull, dreary, 'sunless' world and does not have many options to alter that situation. This goes on until one summer a man enters her life, turns her world up side down, and sparks some light of hope of happiness. Will her relationship with this man finally bring a brighter light to her dark world?
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edith Wharton once again manages to draw me into one of her stories - a relatively simple novella, where much is at stake for the main character, Charity, who seems to be a mix of other of Wharton’s heroines (she’s feisty, opinionated and isolated). There is a lot to stand in a young woman’s way: There are the opinions of other people, as in Wharton’s New York based novels, and there is the bleak, forbidding countryside (or mountain, in this one) as in Ethan Frome. Above all, there are society’s ...more
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?
I'm really kicking myself for not having written this review sooner, because I seriously forgot pretty much everything about this book...

...which in itself is probably a sign that I found it so-so.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reading Wharton's The Age of Innocence, which I completely loved, but Summer was so different that I had to keep checking the cover to make sure I was really reading an Edith Wharton novel. Where The Age of Innocence was all glitz and glamour, Summer was a very
Liina Bachmann
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I have yet failed to read anything less than 4 stars from Wharton and this is no exception.
For most people "Summer" is about first love, sexual awakening and the constraints society put upon women during the era the book was written. For me altogether different tones resonated in this short novel. Despite the lush New England summer being the setting the novel was claustrophobic. Charity leads a life in a small village and an attempts to escape it. She also questions her own place in society as
As always, Wharton shows a brilliant ability to observe and articulate the strange little nuances of human motivation and behavior. Additionally, this story paints a fascinating picture in which time and place are superimposed onto each other: the stages of Charity Royall's life are tied to different parts of regional geography that, while physically close together, appear to be worlds apart. And the season of summer becomes a microcosm for life itself, from birth to maturation to death.

This isn
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edith Wharton was certainly a lady who could put words to a page that could definitely propel a reader quickly through a book. It was certainly true with this novel. Simply stated and told, it is a novel of the awakening of a young, unsure, woman, Charity, who seems held back in attitude by her questionable roots. Born to an unwed mother in a mountain community of dirt and squalor, she is rescued by the Royall family after her father is convicted of manslaughter. Raised within this household, Ch ...more
Oct 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a book about a girl's sexual awakening and the pure pleasure she derives from it. Of course, there are consequences involved, especially since this is a poor girl near the bottom of the social ladder in a small western New England town.

Summer is very different from The House of Mirth or The Age of Innocence where sex was either avoided, unfulfilled or occured offstage. This book deals with both sexuality and class distinction and touches on incest as well. While these topics are openly
Dov Zeller
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alejandro Orradre
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Descubrí la novela Estío por casualidad, mientras buscaba una versión de bolsillo de otra obra muy conocida de Edith Wharton -nada más y nada menos que La edad de la inocencia-, entre las novedades de una librería escondida en las callejuelas de la Barcelona más desconocida.

La novela parecía responder en parte a cómo fue descubierta: unos parajes inhóspitos, una época pasada... el libro deambula por esos parajes al tiempo que nos descubre a una protagonista, Charity, que vive atrapada en un mund
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
An intensely sad story about a naive young girl who follows her heart and suffers the consequences. Charity Royall lives in a country village and longs for something to happen in her life. (view spoiler) ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Such a short, sad tale.

Charity Royall was "brought down from the mountain" into a town at the edges of civilization, northwestern Massachusetts I believe. But the household seems not to have been a loving one. The Summer of the title Charity is about 18 years old. She is uneducated and unsophisticated and very very lonely.

Wharton writes of Charity so that I felt great empathy for her. Charity yearns for love and life as do most young women, but her hope in achieving it is small. Summer brings a
Apr 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic, what can I say, a woman betrayed by a man and saved by another man as usual. But it wasn't a boring read. I'm not very impressed by it, it was a three star
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Edith Wharton's novella, Summer (1917), while still very Ethan Frome-ish, is the antithesis of the frosty and wintry characters and landscape of Ethan Frome. Summer is charged with an erotic undercurrent that runs through it. The novella starts in the Spring with young Charity Royall daydreaming in a meadow full of wildflowers, buzzing insects, birds singing, and the sap coursing through the branches of the trees with new leaves unfurling. Her world has just emerged from the cold grip of winter, ...more
Jenny Blounts
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much more than I thought I would! It has all of the compelling romance and drama that one would expect from a short novella about the sexual coming-of-age of a young woman in a small New England town and, admittedly, that's what kept me turning the pages. However, Wharton is no writer of silly, frivolous romances. The story of Charity Royall is also one of complex class structures, gender limitations, the discovery of one's identity, and missed opportunities.

Charity Royall,
Nov 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wharton - one of my top top favorites - calls this short novel the "hot Ethan Frome" and that's exactly right: it's very similar to EF, and very different from most of her novels, in many ways. And yet - you see glimmers of what become hallmarks for her, for example, her adoptive father and his ways echo or foreshadow Mr. Rosedale, and the internal monologue and subtle and slow change in perception of these men, by each heroine, glimmer with the other. I've always thought of Ethan Frome as so ve ...more
Apr 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
It is possible that because of my busy and hectic schedule, I wasn't able to give this book the attention it deserved. But as it stands, this is certainly my least favorite work by Edith Wharton. While the first half of Summer was interesting, the pace was a bit slow and I kept waiting for it to pick up. Well, it most certainly did in the second half of the novella, but I didn't really like the direction in which it went. I don't know, I can't put my finger on it. This book just didn't excite me ...more
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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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“...though she had not had the strength to shake off the spell that bound her to him she had lost all spontaneity of feeling, and seemed to herself to be passively awaiting a fate she could not avert.” 69 likes
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