Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields (Book Tour)

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For fans of The Paris Wife, a sparkling glimpse into the life of Edith Wharton and the scandalous love affair that threatened her closest friendship.

They say that behind every great man is a great woman. Behind Edith Wharton, there was Anna Bahlmann—her governess turned literary secretary and confidante. At the age of forty-five, despite her growing fame, Edith remains unfulfilled in a lonely, sexless marriage. Against all the rules of Gilded Age society, she falls in love with Morton Fullerton, a dashing young journalist. But their scandalous affair threatens everything in Edith’s life—especially her abiding ties to Anna.

At a moment of regained popularity for Wharton, Jennie Fields brilliantly interweaves Wharton’s real letters and diary entries with her fascinating, untold love story. Told through the points of view of both Edith and Anna, The Age of Desire transports readers to the golden days of Wharton’s turn-of-the century world and—like the recent bestseller The Chaperone—effortlessly re-creates the life of an unforgettable woman.


 What an interesting story.  It did take me a little bit to get into this book, once I got used to the writing style I did enjoy it.  To be very honest I never knew who Edith Wharton was until I read this book and I found myself lost in the story on many occasions.  This is also my first book by Jennie Fields.

I am not a big romance fan, this book I would not really label as romance.  Though it is about Edith's love affair with Morton Fullerton, I felt there was more to it.  And I really dislike saying too much of what happens in the book for fear of giving too much of the story away.

If the authors intent was to portray Edith as lonely, confused, selfish, insensitive and lacking compassion then she did a wonderful job.  Again I know nothing of Edith and this could very well be what she was like.  At times she was like a teenager, 'write me', 'don't write me', 'why isn't he writing'?  'Should I'? 'shouldn't I'?   She lived a glamorous life but still a very unhappy person and at times I did not like her.

Anna, her secretary was compassionate and caring. At times I was hoping something would happen between her and Teddy (Edith's husband).  

Jennie Fields did a wonderful job of bringing to life the early 1900's, from Paris to the United States she showed the social side of life for those with money and time.  She also showed a society that didnt grasp mental illness and the affect it had on family members and friends.  

I really liked how real letters and diary entries played into this book, brought more emotion to the story.  This book would appeal to those that like historical fiction based on real people.  The author was able to capture what life was like during this time period.

About the Author

Born in the heart of the heart of the country – Chicago -- Jennie Fields decided to become a writer at the age of six and produced her first (365 page!) novel when she was eleven.  She received her MFA at the Iowa Writers Workshop and published her first short stories while spending a postgraduate year at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.  But needing to feed her family  in the era just post-Mad Men, she became an early female copywriter at an advertising agency, soon rising to creative director and moving to New York.  In her 32-year advertising career, she wrote and produced many well-known and award-winning commercials.  People even now can embarrass her by telling her they grew up dancing to one of her McDonalds’ jingles. 

Still, fiction was her great love.  Writing during her lunch hour and after her daughter’s bedtime she penned her first novel, Lily Beach, which was published by Atheneum in 1993 to much acclaim.  Since then, she’s written three more novels including Crossing Brooklyn Ferry and The Middle Ages. Her latest, The Age of Desire, is a biographical novel based on the life of the author dearest to her heart, Edith Wharton.  An Editor’s Choice of the New York Times Book Review, it describes Wharton’s mid-life love affair with a younger, manipulative man.  Why the affinity to Wharton?  Because she wrote about people attempting to break society’s expectations for them – which is something Fields has been yearning to do all her life.

For more information, please visit Jennie's website.

  You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this book. I like Wharton's writing so for me it was interesting to get a look into the authors life. I felt the same that she was selfish in many instances especially when it came to Anna.