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Sanctuary Paperback – July 31, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0554060934 ISBN-10: 0554060930

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 90 pages
  • Publisher: BiblioBazaar (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0554060930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0554060934
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Originally published by Scribners in 1903, this is the story of Kate Orme, who marries a man of weak moral character. When they have a child, she fears that the sins of the father will be the sins of their son. Kate dedicates herself to instilling morality in the boy as he grows, especially after her husband dies. This is a typical Wharton examination of upper-crust society strewn with flaws.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"It is good, ethically and artistically, to read and read again a book with such a lift."—New York Times



"A striking little book, striking in its simplicity and penetration, its passion and restraint."—Times Literary Supplement

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L. Young VINE VOICE on October 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
In Part One, Kate Orme discovers shortly before her marriage to Denis, that her fiance has covered up the fact that his dissolute brother was secretly married to a lower class woman, and had a child with her. By this deception Denis prevents the woman from inheriting her husband's estate, and is able to hold on to his own inheritance, resulting in the suicide of the woman and child. Kate is repelled by her finance's deception, but marries Denis anyway. In Part Two of the novel, many years have passed. Denis has died at a young age, leaving Kate alone to raise their son, Dick who is now an adult. When Dick is confronted with a moral dilemma in his professional life, Kate waits to see whether the father's 'moral' flaw has been passed to her son, or if her nurture of her son has been strong enough to cure it. The novel is beautifully written and exquisitely nuanced, yet the difficulty for the modern reader is how to react to the story in our own modern age of moral equivalency. A modern reader may view Kate's extreme reaction to the moral dilemma provided to her son to be overblown.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dave_42 on October 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Sanctuary" is a novella by Edith Wharton, published in 1903. From what I have read, the plot did not cause any surprises at the time, but today the story seems rather unusual. It is a story which deals with ethics, morality, and family honor. While there is nothing particularly unusual in that, some of the choices made by the main character, Kate, seem rather drastic today, and one has a difficult time imagining that any woman today would make similar choices. The story is divided into two parts.

In the first part, we get to know Kate Orme, a woman who is engaged to Denis Payton. She is a woman who has been sheltered from the realities of the world, and comes to learn of an unpleasant situation involving Arthur, Denis' half-brother after he has passed on. Through learning about the situation and how Arthur's family handles it, Kate is upset with Denis and pushes him to do the moral thing. Arthur mother comes to talk with her, and Kate learns that it isn't just Denis who is willing to protect the family name regardless of the act. Lastly, she learns from her own father that scandal's have been covered up in her own family. After a bit of soul-searching, Kate comes to the conclusion that the most moral thing for her to do is to marry Denis so that she can try to remove the character taint which his yet to be conceived son have. This decision appears to be very unusual and it is doubtful that anyone today would reason in such a way. Kate also seems to ignore that she herself must be tainted since her own father and family also has displayed moral weakness.

Part two picks up several years later. We learn that Denis passed on when their son, Dick was young, and that he squandered most of their money.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Edith Wharton's writing wallows in moral struggles and societal pressures, usually about adultery and social-climbing. But she tries a different approach for the novella "Sanctuary," a story that is thought-provoking and well-written, but feels more like the outline to a full-length novel than a story in its own right.

Kate Orme is wrapped up in her idyllic engagement to Denis, when a woman claiming to be his dissolute brother's wife kills herself and her child. To Kate's shock, Denis confesses that the woman was, but to avoid having a low-class person in the family, he suppressed evidence and lied. Even worse, he feels no guilt because he considers it worth the sacrifice.

Kate breaks off the engagement, but to protect any child of Denis' from his hypocrisies, she marries him. Many years later, Denis is dead, and their young son Dick is a blossoming architect about to enter a prestigious contest. But then a friend of his dies tragically, and leaves Dick his brilliant architectural plans... to enter in the contest as his own. Now Kate must see if her careful upbringing will make Dick do the right thing, or if he will follow in his father's footsteps.

Most of Wharton's books are wrapped up in ethical dilemmas or one kind or another, but "Sanctuary" tackles a very different kind of problem. And Wharton does a good job spinning out a sense of suspense, all about a young man who could tip either way, and inspiring disgust and outrage at Denis' weak, whiny defense of his crimes.

Sadly, the second half reads like Wharton was sketching out an enlarged outline for a novel, but got bored and just published it as-is. Details are sketchy, as is the society that these people live in, and more than two decades are skipped over instantly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By susan weckbaugh on April 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading all these reviews, I have to ask: Are any of you people mothers of sons who have faced a moral crisis and and come out on top? This booklet resonated with truth and I applaud it.
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15 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Edith Wharton was born in 1986 to an upper class family in New York City. She could trace her ancestry back three centuries, and was expected to live an aristocratic life. She was educated at home, and married Teddy Wharton in 1885, settling into her role as society marm. Her marriage ended with the discovery of Teddy's affair in 1913, and Edith set herself free to publish many books, of which the most well known is probably The Age Of Innocence. Edith Wharton was a contemporary of Teddy Roosevelt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Henry James. The quality of her writing is just beginning to be appreciated.
Kate Orme is a young woman engaged to Denis Peyton. They are both aristocrats, and as such are expected to remain in rigid roles, with the man shielding the woman from all upsets. When Denis confesses to a despicable act to protect his family's name involving the death of a young, pregnant woman who was secretly married to his brother, Kate is shattered by the exposure of this act. She decides to marry Denis anyway to protect his future children, and sets out to become the perfect mother. She has a son, who she raises by herself after Denis' death, but this son seems to have inherited the faulty character gene of his father. When a situation arises to test the meddle of her son, Kate has her doubts as to her ability as a mother:
"As she sat there in the radius of lamp-light which, for so many evenings, had held Dick and herself in a charmed circle of tenderness, she saw that her love for her boy had come to be merely a kind of extended egotism. Love had narrowed instead of widening her, had rebuilt between herself and life the very walls which, years and years before, she had laid low with bleeding fingers. It was horrible...
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