The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields
A Novel

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The flaw in this otherwise interesting novel is that its title, mimicking Edith Wharton’s own title, “The Age of Innocence,” presupposes an understanding not just of these personal lives but of the times in which they were lived.
-NY Times

Synopsis

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 behind every great man is a woman. Behind Edith Wharton, there was Anna Bahlmann—her governess turned literary secretary, and her mothering, nurturing friend.

When at the age of forty-five, Edith falls passionately in love with a dashing younger journalist, Morton Fullerton, and is at last opened to the world of the sensual, it threatens everything certain in her life but especially her abiding friendship with Anna. As Edith’s marriage crumbles and Anna’s disapproval threatens to shatter their lifelong bond, the women must face the fragility at the heart of all friendships.

Told through the points of view of both women, The Age of Desire takes us on a vivid journey through Wharton’s early Gilded Age world: Paris with its glamorous literary salons and dark secret cafés, the Whartons’ elegant house in Lenox, Massachusetts, and Henry James’s manse in Rye, England.

Edith’s real letters and intimate diary entries are woven throughout the book. The Age of Desire brings to life one of literature’s most beloved writers, whose own story was as complex and nuanced as that of any of the heroines she created.

 

About Jennie Fields

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JENNIE FIELDS received an MA in creative writing from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and is the author of the novels Lily Beach, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, and The Middle Ages. An Illinois native, she spent twenty-five years as an advertising creative director in New York and currently lives with her husband in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
Published August 2, 2012 by Penguin Books. 385 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Age of Desire
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Judith Martin on Aug 31 2012

The flaw in this otherwise interesting novel is that its title, mimicking Edith Wharton’s own title, “The Age of Innocence,” presupposes an understanding not just of these personal lives but of the times in which they were lived.

Read Full Review of The Age of Desire: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Pam Norfolk on Sep 12 2012

Fields uses recently discovered letters from Edith to Anna to illuminate...this perfectly pitched and very plausible novel which captures both the essence of an extraordinary woman and the spirit of a golden age.

Read Full Review of The Age of Desire: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

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81%

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