Jennie Fields is the author of THE AGE OF DESIRE, a novel soon to be available in trade paperback, about the life of Edith Wharton. THE AGE OF DESIRE reads like a memoir. That is a good thing. I was at once intrigued with the setting, Paris, and the main character, an author of note.
I am ashamed to say I have not read Edith Wharton. But, after reading this fine novel by Fields, I plan on picking up THE HOUSE OF MIRTH when I can.
Very private and personal information has been ferreted out of the research Fields has done. And she has quite delicately introduced this part of dear Edith’s life for us.
The Paris of Edith Wharton is brought to life most elegantly. The literary salons of the time are full of the stylishly clothed ladies and gentlemen who create the atmosphere for this novel. What a period piece. I love that.
Who knew that Edith married young to a timid man who ended up being unbalanced. I am not giving anything away here. I truly did not care for the insipid character of Teddy. I blame him for all those sexless years for Edith.
Anna Bahlmann is Edith’s secretary. She has known Edith since she was a small child because she was also Edith’s governess. And now she is Edith’s best friend. But their relationship becomes strained to its capacity when, at the age of 45, Edith begins an affair with a much younger man, Morton Fullerton, someone she has much in common with.
Fields has outdone herself building the sexual tension. Using lovely prose and making us wait, she has managed to create something special, not a bit tawdry or off color. This is hard to do, but she has done it. Bravo.
At times, Edith comes off as a mean spirited woman. She is often impetuous and sometimes downright cruel to those she deems beneath her. I had to wonder how Anna put up with her for the most part. But they had a unique relationship that transcended interference.
I would not say this novel is in the same vein as THE PARIS WIFE, but it might interest the same audience. Having said that, I hope you will enjoy a bit of Paris, and learn a lot about the life of Edith Wharton.
The very generous people at Viking Publishing Company are supplying one very lucky winner with a new copy of THE AGE OF DESIRE. Please leave a comment for the chance to win. Only U.S. addresses, and no P.O. boxes, please. Contest ends on midnight May 22. Good luck!
I will be posting a Q&A with Jennie Fields over the weekend. Stay tuned.
Giveway ends at midnight, May 20th.