Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Age of Desire: A Novel Hardcover – August 2, 2012
|New from||Used from|
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
“A fascinating insight into the life of my favorite novelist. Fields brings a secret side of Wharton to life, and shows us a woman whose elegant façade concealed a turbulent sensuality.”
—Daisy Goodwin, author of The American Heiress
“With astonishing tenderness and immediacy, The Age of Desire portrays the interwoven lives of Edith Wharton and Anna Bahlmann, her governess, secretary, and close friend. By focusing on these two women from vastly different backgrounds, Jennie Fields miraculously illuminates an entire era. . . . I gained insight into both Wharton’s monumental work and her personal struggles—and I was filled with regret that I’d finished reading so soon.”
—Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light and A Fierce Radiance
“[Fields’] portrayal of Edith Wharton in love is imaginative and bold and offers a touching view of Wharton. . . . Fields immerses us in Wharton’s household, her social milieu, and her most private self.”
—Irene Goldman-Price, editor of My Dear Governess: The Letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann
“In the vein of Loving Frank or The Paris Wife, Jennie Fields has created a page-turning period piece. Fields portrays a woman whose life was hardly innocence and mirth, but passionate, complex, and more mysterious than one might ever imagine.”
—Mary Morris, author of Nothing to Declare and Revenge
“Somewhere between the repressiveness of Edith Wharton’s early-20th-century Age of Innocence and our own libertine Shades of Grey era lies the absorbingly sensuous world of Jennie Fields’s The Age of Desire . . . along with the overheated romance and the middle-age passion it so accurately describes, The Age of Desire also offers something simpler and quieter: a tribute to the enduring power of female friendship.”
“Fields supplements the story with fascinating excerpts from Wharton’s actual letters and includes appearances by other authors of the period . . . to re-create the exciting literary landscape of Paris and New York in the first decade of the 20th century. . . . the novel should . . . appeal to those who enjoyed Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife.”
“Delicate and imaginative . . . Fields’s love and respect for all her characters and her care in telling their stories shines through."
Inspired by Wharton’s letters, The Age of Desire is by turns sensuous . . . and sweetly melancholy. It’s also a moving examination of a friendship between two women.
“Fields bases her perceptive novel on Wharton’s own diaries and letters. . . . [THE AGE OF DESIRE] sheds welcome light on the little-known private life of a famous woman and her closest relationships in early-twentieth-century Europe and America.”
“One doesn’t have to be an Edith Wharton fan to luxuriate in the Wharton-esque plotting and prose Fields so elegantly conjures.”
About the Author
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.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
This novel shows what was missing in Wharton's life. Using Wharton's diaries and letters, the author is able to capture the voice and character of Edith. She shows Edith's strength and vulnerability. In lovely prose she creates an age of desire in Edith's life when her marriage was failing and an unsuitable, unreliable but somewhat lovable man comes into her life. If you've experienced that phenomena, you know how frustrating it is. A perfect lover for the time, but impractical for the long haul. So, do you throw him over for now just because you sense he's wrong for the future, because all you have got is now? The author portrays the frustration Edith felt when she was finally mature enough to appreciate love, and be loved as a woman, but comes to realize it's a transient love.
This emotional side of Wharton is brought to life believably in this novel. It's what you sensed behind her books but where she never reveals herself totally. Even in her autobiography, A Backward Glance, Wharton leaves key parts of her life out.
This novel convincingly brings to life the love affair that was left out, and perhaps explains the melancholy in some of Wharton's books. (4.5 stars)
While Edith wrote about the upper class in two of her most popular novels, she was a product of that class. She was a deeply private person. In 1934 she wrote an autobiography called A Backward Glance. However, this autobiography left out several of the most important and formative experiences of Edith's life. It did not detail her relationship and troubles with her mother or with her husband, who was diagnosed to be mentally ill. It also didn't talk about her affair with Morton Fullerton. These things only came to light much later, when her papers were opened in 1968 and when her letters to Fullerton were released in the 1980s. The Age of Desire develops these relationships and shows the impact that they had on Edith.
This story is not always (or even very often) uplifting. Edith's marriage is very unhappy. Her husband loves her but he isn't very intelligent and Edith is an extremely smart woman. He just doesn't understand her and, as his mental illness becomes more apparent, they can't even connect through the hobbies they used to share. Edith finds solace in the friendship of her intellectual friends, including a new acquaintance, Morton Fullerton. She begins an affair with him but, from the beginning, the reader can tell that she will end up hurt. She doesn't want Morton to run away with her but she does want his undivided attention and his companionship of the mind. Eventually, he only wants her body while she wants romance and friendship more. Luckily, through it all, she has the companionship and loyalty of Anna Bahlmann. Anna was Edith's governess and now acts as her secretary. She also acts as the other point of view for this novel. She is rational and calm and sees the events that Edith is mixed up in clearly. But always her loyalty remains with Edith. Some of my favorite scenes were when Anna would type the completed pages of Edith's most recent novel and offer gentle suggestions. Anna was Edith's sounding board and her first reader and her closest friend.
This book is a very interesting look at the personal relationships of a very famous, yet very private, woman. The events it shows are all very probable and it includes some of the actual letters between Edith and her correspondents. It is well worth the time to read.
Jennie Fields takes us back in time and fills us with every sight, smell, sensation and heart-straining emotion, I felt elated and exhausted each time I sat this elaborate tale down.
BRAVO Jennie, my best read in 10 years! You have a die hard fan scrambling to find another world created by you.