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Summer

Summer by Edith Wharton
By: (1862-1937)

Wharton's 1917 novella Summer, like her more famous work Ethan Frome, is set in a very small rural New England town. Charity Royall longs to escape the claustrophobic confines of North Dormer and the inappropriate advances of her guardian Mr. Royall, who adopted her as a child from the nearby Mountain community. Hope arrives in the form of city boy Lucius Harney, who has come to research the architecture of the region; but will his presence in Charity's life mean her salvation - or her undoing? (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)

First Page:

SUMMER

by Edith Wharton

1917

I

A girl came out of lawyer Royall's house, at the end of the one street of North Dormer, and stood on the doorstep.

It was the beginning of a June afternoon. The springlike transparent sky shed a rain of silver sunshine on the roofs of the village, and on the pastures and larchwoods surrounding it. A little wind moved among the round white clouds on the shoulders of the hills, driving their shadows across the fields and down the grassy road that takes the name of street when it passes through North Dormer. The place lies high and in the open, and lacks the lavish shade of the more protected New England villages. The clump of weeping willows about the duck pond, and the Norway spruces in front of the Hatchard gate, cast almost the only roadside shadow between lawyer Royall's house and the point where, at the other end of the village, the road rises above the church and skirts the black hemlock wall enclosing the cemetery.

The little June wind, frisking down the street, shook the doleful fringes of the Hatchard spruces, caught the straw hat of a young man just passing under them, and spun it clean across the road into the duck pond... Continue reading book >>


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