Summer’s Charity

I’ve added Charity Royall from Edith Wharton’s Summer to my list of favorite heroines.

I can’t help but love her.

I love the way she embraces nature like a young female John Muir appreciating every stone and blade of grass.  The way she springs from her library desk to the grassy hills that lie beneath the dark and beckoning mountains make me want to throw my  laptop out the window and take my dogs for a walk.

Not quite as adventurous as Charity, I know. But you get my drift.

There is also a tinge of Doroles Price from She’s Come Undone in Charity.  Another of my favorite heroines.  The tragic sharp-tongued girl who uses sarcasm as her main defense weapon.  (Charity, however, does not turn to Cheez Whiz for comfort as does Dolores, but instead turns to the educated, b-s-ing architect, Harney).

Harney, the handsome and oh, so charming “Willougby” of Summer.  I found their relationship to be Austenesque in so many ways that I felt I was reading an Austen (different time, different place, etc.) novella.  And Mr. Royall?  He would be the Colornel Brandon-like character of Summer; loving Charity unconditionally (and fatherly, which makes it a bit yukky for Charity).  Colonel Brandon, by the way, (from Austen’s Sense and Sensibility) is, in my opinion, one of Austen’s most underrated heroes.  Given, he’s no Mr. Darcy, but he’s up there for sure.

Summer, which I read the week my son returned to school — kissing our favorite season goodbye — is a book I’m tempted to re-read before the end of the year. It’s just that good (plus it’s only 100 pages).  Technically, I suppose, it’s a novella and if you’ve read my thoughts on short stories or Kafka, you know I appreciate that fact.

The power of the word!  Less is more.

How a story this powerful can be crammed into 100 pages, I’ll never know, but it takes an awesome amount of talent to do so.

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