Today we are pleased to welcome Jennie Fields here to Historical Tapestry as part of her blog tour to celebrate the release of her novel The Age of Desire.
So, having swallowed that bitter Ethan Frome pill, it wasn’t until I was in college and taking a course on “American Women Authors” that I read The House of Mirth and fell madly in love with Edith. The first thing that struck me about The House of Mirth was how modern it is! Having read plenty of Henry James, I couldn’t believe that Edith and Henry lived in the same era! Again, Henry James is brilliant, but some of his sentences are so ponderous you could drink an entire cup of tea getting through a single one. Edith’s writing is crisp, funny, ironic and cruel. It could have been written yesterday. It moves. It sings. Sure, society has changed, but people haven’t. And Edith captured them all with all their foibles, vulnerability and charm. I stayed up all night reading her cautionary tale about a women who possesses beauty but no money amidst a society poised to bring her down. The House of Mirth is tragic in a unique way: Lily Bart, its main character, is undone by her better instincts, not her wicked ones. Because her conscience ultimately doesn’t allow her to do what she’s expected to do -- marry a wealthy husband even if she finds him dull or odious -- she falters, and in the end, falls in a rather spectacular way.
So why do I love Edith Wharton? Because all these years later, she still speaks to us, moves us, challenges us. For me, there’s no writer better at making me feel the wondrous breadth of human existence. And no writer has matched her yet for breathtaking pinpoint prose. If you’re still healing from an early encounter with Ethan Frome, stop by your local bookshop today (if God-willing there’s still one near you) and pick up a writer who will rock your world.
Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/theageofdesiretour/
Twitter Hashtag: #AgeOfDesireTour
Jennie Fields' website
Jennie Fields on Facebook
Jennie Fields on Twitter.
About the book
For fans of The Paris Wife, a sparkling glimpse into the life of Edith Wharton and the scandalous love affair that threatened her closest friendship.
They say that behind every great man is a great woman. Behind Edith Wharton, there was Anna Bahlmann—her governess turned literary secretary and confidante. At the age of forty-five, despite her growing fame, Edith remains unfulfilled in a lonely, sexless marriage. Against all the rules of Gilded Age society, she falls in love with Morton Fullerton, a dashing young journalist. But their scandalous affair threatens everything in Edith’s life—especially her abiding ties to Anna.
At a moment of regained popularity for Wharton, Jennie Fields brilliantly interweaves Wharton’s real letters and diary entries with her fascinating, untold love story. Told through the points of view of both Edith and Anna, The Age of Desire transports readers to the golden days of Wharton’s turn-of-the century world and—like the recent bestseller The Chaperone—effortlessly re-creates the life of an unforgettable woman.