The Age of Innocence
BY Edith Wharton
“Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the sumptuous Golden Age of Old New York, a time when society people “dreaded scandal more than disease.”
This is Newland Archer’s world as he prepares to marry the beautiful but conventional May Welland. But when the mysterious Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after a disastrous marriage, Archer falls deeply in love with her. Torn between duty and passion, Archer struggles to make a decision that will either courageously define his life—or mercilessly destroy it.” -Goodreads
As far as classic novels go, this is now one of my favorites. Wharton was beautifully able to portray an array of emotions that are strangled by societal dictates. As a reader of an obscenely large amount of historical romances, I’ve read a lot that concerns reputations in society. It is more than a sin to tarnish your reputation and it can last generations if one does so. This novel follows Newland Archer’s desire for one woman despite his obligation to another. It leave one with questions on whether he should have followed his heart or his head. I deem any novel that leaves me asking questions when all is said and done to be a fantastic work. Why else, besides enjoyment, would we read?