I'm finally getting to the Pulitzer Prize novels that were on my reading list more than a year ago. And the first one I decided to read was Edith Wharton's "The Age of Innocence". Based on the New York rich of the 1900's, the novel swells with the self-importance of its characters whose focus in life appears to be the judging and criticizing of others in their circle, in particular, Madame Olenska. Separated from an abusive husband, Ellen seeks solace and comfort by returning to her family and friends. But if only for conformity reasons and the strict rules of that time , they believe her place is with her husband the tyrant. They all play by the rules of the times and believe she should as well.
And then there is Newland Archer who becomes infatuated with Ellen. Since she is still married and she and Archer are unable to be together, Ellen suggests he marry is fiance, May. Ellen soon realizes that the best place for her to be is far from Archer, and returns to France but not to her husband.
In the final scene, more than 25 years later, they are both available to be together. And in a trip to France to visit his son and fiance, Archer decides the past should remain in the past, along with his fond memories of a love lost.
I rate 'The Age of Innocence' 5 out of 5 stars.
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