Author: Edith Wharton
My Rating: Considered by some to be her finest work, Edith Wharton's Summer created a sensation when first published in 1917, as it was one of the first novels to deal honestly with a young woman's sexual awakening.
Summer is the story of proud and independent Charity Royall, a child of mountain moonshiners adopted by a family in a poor New England town, who has a passionate love affair with Lucious Harney, an educated young man from the city. Wharton broke the conventions of women's romantic fiction by making Charity a thoroughly contemporary woman - in touch with her feelings and sexuality, yet kept from love and the larger world she craves by the overwhelming pressures of environment and heredity.
What I liked/disliked about the book: This book failed to capture me. It's a character driven book, but for this particular book, the character didn't work for me. Charity Royall was suppose to be a independent modern woman, in touch with her sexuality. But I didn't see it. For the time period I suppose it was seen as modern and a bit scandalous, Charity was likely seen as a heroine, but I still don't think there was enough good characterization to move the book forward. She didn't have anything special to keep her apart from all the other women written in that time, save for a job, and she would try to stand up against her guardian, but even then, it wasn't to different than other books written in the time. There was some innuendo with her lover, but I'm not sure how much happened in her mind and how much actually happened with him besides a passionate kiss. Nothing stood out to impress me, especially the lead character. Which was probably why I was so bored with the book - so many others like it written at the same time have almost the same plot devices.
I did enjoy the glimpses of her background story of the mountain people, and wish that was explained in more detail, I felt like it was just scratched at the surface, and was looking for more. Otherwise, the story was bland, and not a lot kept me interested.
Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure I would recommend this particular book to read. The writing was excellent, but there wasn't much else in the book. So perhaps the author, but not the book.
What to read next: I'd try the author again, as well as George Eliot, Willa Cather