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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicately woven love story
Newland Archer, a successful and wealthy young lawyer in the New York City of the 1870s, is happily engaged to May Welland, the sheltered and beautiful daughter of one of the best upper-class families, when he meets Ellen Olenska, May's exotic and free-spirited cousin. If you think this sounds like the premise for a Mills and Boon story, you're probably not wrong, but...
Published 13 months ago by Jeremy Walton

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed but too long
Didn't agree with those who think this is her best book. Enjoyed parts of it but far too much seemed repetitious. Lots of interesting characters though.
Published 4 months ago by bopa


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicately woven love story, 26 July 2013
By 
Jeremy Walton (Sidmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
Newland Archer, a successful and wealthy young lawyer in the New York City of the 1870s, is happily engaged to May Welland, the sheltered and beautiful daughter of one of the best upper-class families, when he meets Ellen Olenska, May's exotic and free-spirited cousin. If you think this sounds like the premise for a Mills and Boon story, you're probably not wrong, but even though what happens to Newland as a result of his meeting with Ellen isn't hard to guess, you might be surprised at the way in which the story of this menage a trois is delicately drawn out by this skillful author.

The tale is set against the fastidious background of the pinnacle of New York society, whose inhabitants "lived in an atmosphere of faint implications and pale delicacies", but is "wholly absorbed in barricading itself against the unpleasant" - bad news for Ellen, who has fled an unhappy marriage with an allegedly cruel and abusive husband. It's a world where, for example, one turns down a grossly impertinent and inappropriate suggestion with "How delicious! May I think it over, and write to you tomorrow morning?", and there are other deft touches in the way some of the minor characters are sketched in. Thus, May's father is "a mild and silent man, with no opinions but with many habits" and his hypochondria is fuelled by the family physician whose reputation was "largely based on the attack of pneumonia which Mr Welland had never had".

Against this backdrop, Newland wrestles with his feelings for the exciting, unconventional Ellen as he contemplates the limitations of a marriage in which his wife's "pressure was already bearing on the very angles whose sharpness he most wanted to keep". The way in which this emotional crisis is to be resolved, and its effect on everyone's lives, is kept hidden until the end of the story, and an epilogue which pulls back and views these events from the perspective of many years later resonantly frames this delicate and absorbing tale in a satisfying fashion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great work, 19 May 2014
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
This is a wonderful novel, beautifully crafted and plotted. It deals with a timeless situation and has a message that is applicable to all times. A compelling read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed but too long, 25 April 2014
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Didn't agree with those who think this is her best book. Enjoyed parts of it but far too much seemed repetitious. Lots of interesting characters though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars phenomenal, 25 April 2014
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
Superb prose with insightful social comment.
Wharton paints a picture of a strong societal conspiracy.
The description of the longing endured by lovers kept apart by social etiquette and their individual yearnings are prosaic.
How have I missed her?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Age of Innocence?, 7 April 2014
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
A really interesting book which asks whether we can escape the obligations, expectations and conventions of the society we are born into. Reflecting the society it portrays, much is left unsaid in the narrative. A book that makes demands of the reader at every turn.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written novel, 17 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
Evocative tale of passion and longing set in NewYork society where the most important principle is to do the right thing and avoid "unpleasantness". Engrossing and beautifully written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nothing changes, 6 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
Set 150 years ago and human nature and problems are still the same,we still make mistakes sometimes and also gat it right
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4.0 out of 5 stars a bit like an American Jane Austen, 7 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
this is a delicate and subtle love story and although really there are at least two intense relationships happening, the main focus is on the one which conveys intensity and passion with a light touch.

there are a lot of similarities with the way that Jane Austen uses humour and sly references to portray(and undercut) her characters but because it is set in America and is about Americans, there are inevitable differences. This is the first Edith Wharton I have got round to reading despite always having been aware of her reputation. Now sorry to have missed out for so long and will try another soon.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Building in intensity, 25 May 2014
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
I found the first third of this book rather heavy going but became more and more absorbed by the longing and desire felt by both protagonists.
Even as late as the last thirty pages I couldn't see how the book would end but then realised at the end that it could have been in no other way.
This was my first Edith Wharton. I found it somewhat redolent of The Forsyte Saga. I shall look forward to reading more.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Set on the 19th century, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Kindle Edition)
About the upper echelons of society, it is a bit difficult to have any empathy with the characters in this book, she was the first women to win the Pullitzer prize for this,
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The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
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