As books such as 50 Shades of Grey sweep the nation, more sophisticated readers may long for subtler, more refined, but no less fiery tales of passion. The Age of Desire by Jeanne Fields is a riveting account of novelist Edith Wharton’s midlife passion for a younger man.
Wharton is known classic novels that describe upper class life in the “Gilded Age”. When she won the Pulitzer Prize with her novel, The Age of Innocence, she became the first woman to win the honour.
Fields recreates Wharton’s privileged literary life in Paris, at the dawn of the 20th century, as she attends glittering literary salons with the beautiful and notorious Countess Anna de Noailles. The story is studded with fascinating people such as Wharton’s close friend Henry James Marcel, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Proust, Francis James, Colette, and André Gide, among other artistic figures of the age.
Fields also tells a tale of longing and passion. Wharton was a brilliant woman trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. As she falls hopelessly in love for the first time in her forties, she risks losing herself and all that she holds dear.
Fields does at masterful job at combining fact and fiction in this riveting and powerful story of lust and love. I couldn’t put it down!