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Summary

Written in Paris in 1916 as Edith Wharton contemplated the German army's approach, Summer is her most erotic and lyrical novel. The setting for the book, however, is far away from Paris, in the same rigid New England she used for Ethan Frome. It is here that she explores her most daring theme, a woman's awakening to her sexual needs.

The book's heroine is an 18-year-old girl named Charity Royall. Living in the small town of North Dormer, she is ignorant of desire until she meets a visiting architect, Lucius Harney. Like the succulent summer in the beautiful Berkshires around them, their romance is lush and picturesque, but its consequences are harsh and real.

(P)1994 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"Reader Grace Conlin distinguishes both men's and women's voices easily, using hushed, intimate tones to convey the sweetness of the romance. Yet an ephemeral quality in her delivery casts a shadow of reality on the story and reminds the listener that seasons change." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bridget
  • Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom
  • 08-01-08

Summer (unabridged), Edith Wharton

This was my first audiobook download and I loved it so much that I stayed awake until 2.00 a.m. to hear it out. The reader perfectly captured the elegant, ironic tone of the writing without sentimentality. The story itself never falters, moving rapidly from one development to another while perfectly encapsulating both character and setting. It is extraordinary to think that this story of a small town girl's sexual awakening, understanding and betrayal was written in 1916.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • lilyglint
  • 23-08-04

Excellent first audible purchase!

Grace Conlin is a great reader. At first I thought she was going to be too fast, but her pacing is excellent. She sweeps you right into the story. And this is a concise Wharton tale. Similar tragic tones to her other books. However, some lovely descriptions of New England countryside in the summer. A sad contrast to her heroine. I'm not done yet, about half way, but I find myself looking for excuses to pop in the headphones and listen.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Betty
  • 16-06-08

The negative reviews frightened me

but I found the story enchanting, enthralling and somewhat ominously predictable. My first Edith Wharton but I believe I'll try another.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Debra Garfinkle
  • 08-04-15

My favorite Wharton book so far

This is the third book of hers I've read. It's the least depressing, which is a good thing in my opinion. E. Wharton wrote beautiful prose and also knew how to tell a fast-paced story. My book club had a very lively discussion about class, gender, marriage, nature, and other interesting issues raised by this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth
  • 24-03-09

More complex than Ethan Frome

This novella may be compared to Ethan Frome in that it is about country people rather than about the wealthy about whom Edith Wharton more commonly wrote. And yet this novel is more complex and emotionally compelling than the more famous work. The tragedy of this young woman's life and her seemingly unavoidable doom is spellbinding.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Alicia Czechowski
  • 15-02-09

basic, satisfying Wharton

The central character, Charity Royall, I found unsympathetic, but her troubles are vivid as she faces the traditional moral struggle of virtue vs restraint with convincing small-minded impulsiveness.

Wharton is wise and worldly. Her understanding of the primacy of trivial things in relationships is profound. Charity blunders stupidly through life in a very human way. This is not a great novel like The House of Mirth, but Wharton weaves melodrama out of the stuff of an ordinary life.

The reader is very good, except for the occasional odd pronunciation.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • 26-07-12

It's Okay

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I'm trying to get through all of Wharton's novels- I'd recommend this to a Wharton fan but not necessarily someone looking for that all encompassing "good read". It was scandalous at the time but it sort of has a predictable ending and I wasn't particularly satisfied with the heroine.

If you’ve listened to books by Edith Wharton before, how does this one compare?

There wasn't anything particularly wrong with the reader- I just didn't like her style. The reading felt very clipped and almost rushed.

Would you be willing to try another one of Grace Conlin’s performances?

Probably not.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • 23-04-10

Required "Summer" reading

Grace Conlin's initial rapid delivery of Edith Wharton's sensitive penetration of the Summer of adolescent dreams collapsing into the Fall of the realities of adult choices is worth the investment of the listener's patience. Once Conlin settles into her natural rhythm, she crafts a gem that should become the centerpiece of the setting of required summer reading for every high school girl--and her mother.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie Lynn
  • 27-05-15

Feminism NOT

Sad sad story of the exploitation of women. Have women really come much further by 2015! Thank God for birth control!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Larry
  • 03-03-05

Sluggish and Disappointing

It's very hard to like Wharton, and having never studied her within the academic world, I cannot understand her popularity and enduring publication. The story descriptions seem like ripe plums, but instead we bite into hard, green, sour flesh with no juice.

Again we have a heroine who seems to drift, along with the story as a whole. Will we ever just get somewhere? If we must be languid, couldn't we at least enjoy the characters?

I can only recommend this one if you are a Wharton fan or you're seeking a quiet ride in dull country.

2 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • 20-01-05

Summer

I thought the character did not have enough depth.

0 of 8 people found this review helpful