Summer is known to be Edith Wharton’s provocative piece of literature and when reading the book I didn’t quite get why it was called erotic, because it really wasn’t… Until I realized that it was first published in 1917, so now I can definitely understand why this would be perceived as provocative. The story involves the sexual awakening of a young girl, however subtly mentioned in the book.
Charity Royall is a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks who was rescued and raised by Mr Royall. She worked at the local library where she met Harney, the man she falls in love with in the story. Although Charity seems a strong woman, she was in fact weak and naïve. It’s a sad story about a young woman’s hopes and dreams when she falls in love for the first time and then being betrayed. In this case, it’s her trust that’s being betrayed. Was Harney ever really hers? Did he ever intend on marrying her, or did she give him an easy way out? She eventually settles down to a future she never wanted for herself.
Now overall I am a fan of Edith Wharton’s work, she is a good author whose work you can explore if you’re interested in Edwardian literature. I’ve read Xingu, which I really enjoyed, but I’ve also read Bunner Sisters, Madame Treymes and Ethan Frome (yet to review). Summer is quite similar to Ethan Frome in a way. I think that Summer is a good and quick read – perfect for adding to your classics club list!
Have you read Summer or any other Edith Wharton books you’ve enjoyed?