Written in Paris in 1916 as Edith Wharton contemplated the German army's approach, Summer
is her most erotic and lyrical novel. The setting for the book, however, is far away from Paris, in the same rigid New England she used for Ethan Frome
. It is here that she explores her most daring theme, a woman's awakening to her sexual needs.
The book's heroine is an 18-year-old girl named Charity Royall. Living in the small town of North Dormer, she is ignorant of desire until she meets a visiting architect, Lucius Harney. Like the succulent summer in the beautiful Berkshires around them, their romance is lush and picturesque, but its consequences are harsh and real.
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