The Age of Desire Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Age of Desire

The Age of Desire follows the life of writer Edith Wharton, giving the reader an inside view of what her life was like behind her books, and beneath the surface of the high society in which she lived. At forty-five, Edith finds herself in a failing marriage that never held a hint of passion. When she meets intriguing young journalist, Morton Fullerton, Edith discovers sensuality she's never known. This story is told partially from Edith's perspective and partially from that of her governess turned secretary and confidante, Anna Bahlmann. Anna does not approve of Edith's growing infatuation with Morton and their lifelong bond is tested as Edith grows further away from both her husband and secretary. The story includes Wharton's actual diaries and letters, taking the reader through Paris during the Gilded Age. In the end, Edith and Anna must face the delicacy at the center of all human relationships
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Best part of story, including ending: I really liked this story because it showed that even when we have become closed to life and bored by everything around us, there is still potential for finding pleasure in something or someone new. Edith Wharton was a successful writer but her life was unfulfilled in many ways. When she met Morton, it gave her a fresh outlook.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene is the opening when Edith is seated for dinner amongst guests in her Paris home. I loved the way the scene sets up the story in a sensual way. Throughout the novel we see this kind of sensuality of atmosphere and feeling juxtaposed against the rigid, more structured world Edith has always known.

Opinion about the main character: I disliked Edith's naivete when it came to Morton. There were times when she failed to see the truth although it screamed at her. I just wanted to shake some sense into her. When she did begin to realize the truth about the nature of her relationship with Morton, it bothered me when she expected his complete devotion although she was still married. Edith's expectations fluctuated so much throughout the story that I felt she was beyond conflicted as a character. I would have liked to have seen more character growth, but then this novel was based on Edith Wharton's real life and as they say, 'It is what it is.'

The review of this Book prepared by a Level 2 American Robin scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Age of Desire

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Life of a profession:    -   writer Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   8 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   France Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   licking Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Jennie Fields Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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