For Edith Wharton Fans: The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields
For fans of Edith Wharton, this book is for you. For fans of Downton Abbey, this book is for you. For fans of fictionalized biographies, like The Paris Wife, Loving Frank, Jackie by Josie, Twelve Rooms of the Nile (next in my to read pile), the The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields is for you.
Fields recounts the love life of author Edith Wharton. Told from Edith’s point of view, as well as her governess turned secretary Anna Bahlmann’s point of view, the reader is treated to the perceived inner thoughts of Edith Wharton as she marries Teddy Wharton, falls in love with Morton Fullerton, and befriends Henry James. Anna becomes Wharton’s moral compass, held close when Wharton is confident, sent away when Wharton strays, and depended on when Wharton can’t face the outcomes of her decisions. Wharton seems to live by an “it is better to have loved and lost” motto, but doesn’t seem to think she will actually lose. After all, she has lived a successful and charmed adult life in New York, at The Mount, in Paris…she is a bestselling author, and a part of high society. Anna’s self worth is dependant on Edith’s approval, so though Anna pays a price when she passes judgement, she is loyal to the end.
The Age of Desire is a good, quick, entertaining read.