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Summer (Bantam Classics)

106 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0553214222
ISBN-10: 0553214225
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Mass Market Paperback, July 1, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Though Summer is not out of print, the September film release of Martin Scorsese's production of Wharton's The Age of Innocence is bound to have caused a renewed interest in all her books. Bantam's edition is the least expensive offering of this title currently on the market.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Raver's reading is thoughtful, capturing the warm emotions of the heroine while keeping with the slower pace of Wharton's depiction of the setting." ---AudioFile --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (July 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553214225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553214222
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,524,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on September 8, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Edith Wharton did the impossible with "Summer" and wrote a love story I actually cared about. Not because her protagonists are likeable, but because their character flaws render them believable and intriguing and fill the reader with sensational expectations; they are not just mannequins waiting to be posed within the frame of a formulaic plot. A novel published in 1917 that depicts an abortionist withholding a piece of jewelry from a woman until she pays her fee is obviously not something that was shaped by the cookie cutter.

Wharton sets the story in an isolated village called North Dormer, evidently in the Berkshires of western Massachussetts. The heroine, a young woman named Charity Royall, is bored with her life there as the sole librarian of the village's shoddy, neglected library when one day she meets Lucius Harney, an urbane young architect who has come to North Dormer to visit a relative and to sketch colonial houses. Their initial friendship blossoms into a romance which is threatened by two factors: Charity's guardian, the local lawyer Mr. Royall, a stingy, miserable man who drinks too much, desires to marry her; and Charity, an orphan raised by Mr. Royall and his deceased wife, is embarrassed by her heritage as a child born among the shunned, destitute farmers who live up on the "Mountain," as it is called.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By LovesToReadBooks on August 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
[Note: do not read the spoiler review by "George & Georgia Eliot" on this site before you read the book (I'm glad I didn't) since the reviewer reveals the plot line even in the title of the review. Hey, thanks a lot. Don't you know you're supposed to put "spoiler alert" on things like that?] As for SUMMER itself, it was a delightful surprise from Wharton. One of the few books in which she actually admits that her characters have sex (oh, my) and actually does it tastefully and in strict accordance with the characters' natures and the plot itself. The ending was a stunning surprise, and this from a huge Wharton fan, who found this book accidentally for the Kindle. Thank you, those who made this book available for free, but I would've paid to read this one. SUMMER is one of the best books Wharton ever wrote. Thumbs up on character development, irony, plot, dialogue, etc. Great read. 5*
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By E. Rothstein VINE VOICE on August 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Written when Wharton's own marriage was failing, this tale of first love won and lost is a bittersweet, moving novel which melds Wharton's two worlds beautifully - high society, and rural New England. Her personal favorite of all the novels she wrote, Edith Wharton captures the very essence of love and longing in this beautiful, sensual story of Charity Royall and Lucius Harney. Born to a poor mother, Mr. Royall rescues Charity and raises her as his own daughter, but when his wife dies of consumption, and Charity begins to ripen into a lovely woman, Mr. Royal realizes that his feelings for her are deeper than he imagined. Repulsed by his offer of marriage, Charity instead turns her attentions to the handsome young architect from Boston, Mr. Lucius Harney, who is visiting North Dormer for the summer. As summer unfurls in North Dormer like the Red Rambler rose in Charity's garden, Charity and Lucius' love blossoms, burns hot, and spills over into sexual union. Wharton's language of love is extraordinary - beautiful, sensual, and filled with all the fire of first love. I won't ruin the ending for you by revealing it, but it is poignant, achingly human, and ultimately fitting that Charity ends up where she does. Bittersweet and gorgeously written, this is a magical book not to be missed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Written in 1917, Summer is Wharton's most explicitly sexual novel, tracing the awakening of Charity Royall to the sweetness of love and its power. Charity was born on "the mountain," a place of poverty and degradation, and given over to Lawyer Royall and his wife, residents of the town of North Dormer, to be brought up. When his wife dies, Lawyer Royall is hard pressed to deal with this child, choosing to ignore her most of the time, and bringing her up with little feeling of warmth of affection.

Anxious to have some independence so that she can escape, at some point, from the closed society of the village, Charity becomes the town librarian, a part-time job which gives her a small amount of her own money. There she encounters Lucius Harney, the nephew of one of the town's leading citizens, an architect studying some of the old houses in the area. His interest in Charity soon develops into affection and then passion, and the two become lovers, a relationship which quickly develops complications. Charity, with few options in life, is starved for affection and yearns to escape the village, while Harney, educated but personally weak, can already come and go as he pleases.

Wharton uses the seasons symbolically to illustrate the development of the relationship between Charity Royall and Lucius Harney from the earliest stirrings of their interest when they meet in early June to the full passion of their love in mid-August. Fall brings reality to Charity, and winter freezes her soul. Throughout the novel references are made to the mountain where Charity was born and to the ignorant people who live there without hope of improving their lives.
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