May 29, 2008
The Age of Innocence
by Edith Wharton
Book Readers Group
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton is a picture of New York society in the 1870s when there were strict codes of behaviour, which could not be broken. At the start of the book Newland Archer gentleman lawyer and heir to one of New York City's best families, is about to become engaged to the beautiful May Welland. Yet, he soon has doubts about his choice of bride after the appearance of Countess Ellen Olenska, May's exotic, beautiful thirty-year-old cousin, who had been living in Europe. Ellen has returned to her New York family after scandalously leaving her husband, a Polish count, and Newland is torn between his attraction for the worldly flamboyant Ellen and his more conventional fianceé May.
Although one or two of our group enjoyed the book, on the whole most of us thought that this classic hadn't stood the test of time.