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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  11,192 ratings  ·  1,077 reviews
A naive girl from a humble background meets an ambitious city boy, and a torrid romance ensues. Despite her pride, independence, and honesty, Charity Royall feels shadowed by her past--especially in her ardent relationship with the educated and refined Lucius Harney. Can passion overcome the effects of heredity and environment?

With its frank treatment of a woman's sexual a
Paperback, Thrift Edition, 127 pages
Published September 15th 2006 by Dover Publications (first published 1917)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  11,192 ratings  ·  1,077 reviews

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Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2018-completed
This novel was first published in 1917 and I can’t help but be amazed by that. The themes in this novel are current, and as real today as they were a hundred years ago.

Charity Royall was born to a rough life on The Mountain and was rescued at the age of five by a lawyer in the village and his wife. After the death of his wife, Mr. Royall did the best he knew how to raise the girl, and although she knew their family was better off than the rest of the village, Charity was filled with conflict and
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
"The longing to escape, to get away from familiar faces, from places where she was known, had always been strong in her in moments of distress. She had a childish belief in the miraculous power of strange scenes and new faces to transform her life and wipe out bitter memories."

Ah, summertime. What better time of year to dream of escape, new love, and bright futures. Well, certainly Edith Wharton may reveal such dreams to you, but any reader familiar with this author knows that she will depict th
Refreshingly different take on the classic summer love story!

Charity makes all the choices that Lily Bart didn't make in The House of Mirth. She goes for the lover, the child, AND the secure marriage that society forces upon any young, pregnant woman without any family connections.

Doubtless, her "happily ever after" in North Dormer will contain a lot of drudgery, but she will have a summer night's dream, a child, and the knowledge that she MADE HER OWN DECISIONS to keep her going. Was it Lily


This is a tale that comes to life during a Summer, and the descriptions of the airy landscape under the sun are amongst the most enrapturing aspects of this novel.

And then there is a story of conflict. First and foremost, of the heroine, Charity Royall, who is not a heroine at all. She is in conflict with her past, with her present, and, she suspects, with her future. She rebels against those who, charitably, have offered her a refuge and a life, granting her her name as a prom
“Sweet sleepy warmth of summer nights
Gazing at the distant lights
In the starry sky

“And when the rain
Beats against my windowpane
I'll think of summer days again
And dream of you”

--A Summer Song,Chad & Jeremy, Songwriters: Clive Metcalf / David Stuart / Keith Noble

``When I think of `Summer,' I think of it as one of Wharton's most heart-wrenching novels, about the very real agonies and results of young passion.''
– Elizabeth Strout

Charity Royall has just stepped outside of the home of her benefacto
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it
The summer version of Ethan Frome, but not quite as good. ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chrissie by: Eileen
Four reasons explain why this novella clicked for me:

*It is not about glitzy high society.

*It draws the life of ordinary people and it draws their lives realistically.

*It illustrates that real life consists most often of choosing between mediocre alternatives. Rarely are we given that chance in a million, but at the same time a less optimistic choice need not be without hope or possibility.

*It encourages readers to focus on the good that in fact does exist, in what appears at first glance o
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
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
Gabrielle Dubois
Summer is not my first Edith Wharton novel and I remember having already enjoyed, many years ago, The House of Mirth.
The French edition in which I read Summer, had no preface or postface, only a backcover text, saying: This is a novel that treats the female sexuality, seen as a powerful and constructive vital force. This novel was very modern for the time, 1918. So I approached this novel, the way I like to: without notice, without knowing the story or having read any review. A direct dive into
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
★★★✰✰ 3.25 stars

“Now she knew the meaning of her disdains and reluctances. She had learned what she was worth when Lucius Harney, looking at her for the first time, had lost the thread of his speech, and leaned reddening on the edge of her desk. But another kind of shyness had been born in her: a terror of exposing to vulgar perils the sacred treasure of her happiness.”

Although short Summer is an interesting read.
Feelings and actions are obliquely revealed or hinted at, so much so that many
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
Barry Pierce
This would make a really good chamber opera.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1001, 2011, classics
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
BAM Endlessly Booked
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
Jacob Appel
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Americans want a tragedy with a happy ending," the perceptive Edith Wharton was fond of quoting. In this (1917) seduced-and-abandoned novel, EW relaxes slightly and gives her despairing, pregnant heroine a home of her own and a man who loves her, although it's doubtful that there will be much "happiness" within the marriage. A twin to "Ethan Frome," (1911), which also focused on the impoverished "hill" people of Massachusetts in the once very rural Berkshires, EW takes a conventional story, i ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel-company
This was my first Wharton, and I was surprised at how accessible her writing was! It made me interested in reading more of her work for sure. This one, however, was a bit lackluster. It has some lovely descriptions and seems very progressive for its time. But overall the story was mediocre and the ending so abrupt!
Anthea Syrokou
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This read was rather short compared to other books I’ve read by Edith Wharton. It's also extremely different to other books the author has written which centre around the elite in New York during the Gilded Age. In contrast, Summer is set in New England, and it deals with poverty and a woman’s limitations in such a depressing, isolating setting. We quickly see the similarities with some of her other books, such as the expectations and suffocating limits that many women were faced with at such ti ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laysee by: Candi
Published in 1917, Summer is a novella set in a small village in North Dormer, New England. Its protagonist is Charity Royall, a sheltered and ignorant young woman seeking a brighter future for herself. It is a sad story that gives a human face to the futility of the struggle against poverty and the attendant lack of social opportunities. As with almost all of Wharton’s novels, questions are raised about how much control individuals have over their circumstances and whether there are real choice ...more
I will from now on put my trust completely in Edith Wharton.

My first of her novels was The Age of Innocence, which captivated me and then in the end, grabbed my heart out of my chest and stomped all over it. “What power she has,” I thought. After that I tried to read The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth, but left them both unfinished. My excuse was that the characters were irritating. More recently I read Ethan Frome, and was captivated yet again.

With Summer, I think I’m starting to
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.



Charity is instantly unlikable, but I began to appreciate her straightforwardness and ballsiness.

She's lazy and selfish, though, and speaks terribly to people.

She's also totally naive.

Harney is a classic, predictable charmer and I kinda instantly disliked him because of where I assumed this was gonna go. I liked that he cared about the books, though. Respect, brother.

Royall is repulsive and I was so disgusted by his hitting on the girl he basically ra
Sotiris Karaiskos
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
The second of Edith Wharton's "rural" novels and the one that shows us more clearly how she viewed life in these remote areas and her most daring work. The author seemed impressed by the natural scenery and the sensation it created - which led her to very beautiful descriptions - but at the same time, she realized that there were many limitations and little mental stimuli in the life in these places. The young heroine of the book realizes this and spends her days thinking of a way to escape in o ...more
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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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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