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The Reef

Edith Wharton

Book Overview: 

George Darrow, Anna Leath’s first love, is finally coming from London to propose to her. However, he drifts to an affair with Sophy Viner, Anna’s daughter’s naïve and young governess. Sophy’s relationship with Darrow and Anna’s family can threaten his success. In this novel, as in many of Wharton’s other well known novels, we see the eternal love triangle. With her sly and lovely writing style, Wharton delivers to us in this wonderful novel a cast of unforgettable characters and many unforgettable scenes which we can vividly imagine. What would Darrow choose: success or love? Would Anna marry him despite his affair with Sophy?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e me a day or two, and let me try to make you forget all the things that are troubling you. I was a fool not to see that if I'd put it to you in that way you'd have accepted or refused, as you chose; but that at least you wouldn't have mistaken my intentions.—Intentions!" He stood up, walked the length of the room, and turned back to where she still sat motionless, her elbows propped on the dressing-table, her chin on her hands. "What rubbish we talk about intentions! The truth is I hadn't any: I just liked being with you. Perhaps you don't know how extraordinarily one can like being with you...I was depressed and adrift myself; and you made me forget my bothers; and when I found you were going—and going back to dreariness, as I was—I didn't see why we shouldn't have a few hours together first; so I left your letter in my pocket."

He saw her face melt as she listened, and suddenly she unclasped her hands and leaned to him.

"But are. . . Read More

Community Reviews

"Morty," Edie Wharton said, "if you can do that again, I'll get naked !"

What was EWs lover Morton Fullerton like ? In her
most autobiographical novel he appears as George
Darrow, an aspiring diplomat who has a casual fling
with a young American woman while waiting for the
widowed Anna Leath (EW) to deci

This novel revolves around four characters. Anna Leath is a widow who now resides in a French Chateau with her nine year old daughter Effie. Owen Leath is her step son. George Darrow is an American diplomat in London who knew Anna prior to her marriage and they are now planning to get married. Sophy

This is not a horrible novel, but it’s certainly not one of Wharton’s best. I was reminded of her good friend Henry James at points, due to some ambiguity and the state of the characters’ thought processes, but, for only one thing, her plot points were too predictable and some elements were belabore

Greuț început, dar merită citită!

"- Oamenii fermecători există pretutindeni... și trebuie să cauți întotdeauna ce e mai bun... dar cînd ai trăit atîta timp într-o lume cu tradiții, e dificil să te adaptezi la idei noi..."
"- Firește! Avem cu toții atîtea planuri să ne facem - și să le punem de acord

Here is the plotline in a nutshell. George Darrow plans to marry Anna Leath, the two having known each other since they were young. He had lost her once to another, to Fraser Leath whom she had married, but now Fraser Leath has died, and George Darrow has no intention of letting Anna slip by a secon

This is Wharton’s fifth novel. Published in 1912, it is considered, together with the previous Ethan Frome and the subsequent The Custom of the Country, as partly autobiographical. Not so much in deeds as in spirit. As I know very little about her life, I cannot agree nor disagree with this. Rather

Wharton doing what she does so well, exploring the human condition and how the classes interact with one another when the artificial lines collapse. I loved this complex story that asked so many moving, and always pertinent, questions. A gentleman has a brief encounter with a girl who does not rise

Young diplomat George Darrow is on his way to meet Anna Leath, an old girlfriend who is now a widow with a young daughter and a grown stepson. When Anna abruptly postpones their rendezvous without explanation, Darrow concludes that she is no longer interested in him. A chance meeting with Sophy Vine

This is supposed to be Wharton's Jamesian book....whatever that means. Probably, it's the convoluted plotting in which all is NOT revealed until the end...and then, we "Dear Readers" are treated to the weirdest ending in years. Anna, major female protagonist, visits the blowsy sister of the woman h

”In every nerve and vein she was conscious of that equipoise of bliss which the fearful human heart scarce dares acknowledge. She was not used to strong or full emotions; but she had always known that she should not be afraid of them. She was not afraid now; but she felt a deep inward stillness.”

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