Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Brave Escape of Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton lived a privileged life. She was born into the Jones family - a wealthy family who were prominent members of New York society. From an early age, her mother knew Edith was different.

Edith was shy, she admired the truth, she liked to make up stories, and she loved reading. She spent her formative years touring Europe, which left a deep impression.

Upon her return, she made her debut. In one summer she met two men. She developed a deep relationship with one, but he left at the end of the summer. The other man she befriended and then married. She fell out of favor with society, but that didn't stop her.

Edith wrote in the mornings. In the beginning, she had three poems printed in respected publications. One of the publishers was interested in more of her writing. After her short story appeared, she began work on several others that would be published into one volume. However, the idea of her stories in print threw her into a panic, and she began to work on non-fiction projects.

She traveled throughout Europe and met many bachelors who would become her dearest friends. Several of these men were writers. She would share her ideas and her writings with them. After publishing her first novel, one of these men, Henry James, wrote with advice for her next book.

Edith took his advice to heart and wrote a serialized tale published in a magazine that would later become THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. Her success was huge. She kept writing, which paid for her house to be built, her trips to Europe, and her lifestyle. Until she died, Edith wrote and behaved in the fashion she desired.

My Thoughts: I read Edith Wharton in college and loved The House of Mirth. I devoured some of her other novels. I jumped at the chance to review this book as I wanted to know more about this author. Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge writes a fascinating and engaging non-fiction book describing an amazing woman who dared to step outside the bounds of society and live life on her own terms.

Cover: I like it - I love the detail of the stairs.

Source: reviewed for where I gave it a
Fun Facts: A few years ago, I dragged my husband to visit The Mount (the house she built)

She also co-wrote a book The Decoration of Houses which she used the ideas in her own home. However, the Whartons sold the house and because of that, no one quite knows how the house might have looked inside apart of the ideas in this book.

One of her tricks was to place a mirror on the walls opposite the windows for two purposes. One, the light bounces off the mirror and creates more light in the room. Two, the mirror creates an effect of making the room larger than it appears.

These stairs, as other rooms in the house, were decorated by local interior designers of what might have been in the house.

Here's her library. She wrote mostly in bed, but maybe she did some writing at this desk. They did purchase most of the original books from her personal collection.
The outside grounds are also gorgeous

1 comment:

Kim Harrington said...

Gorgeous pics! Oh my, that library! And the grounds! *swoon*