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The Age of Desire Audiobook, by Jennie Fields Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jennie Fields Narrator: Meredith Mitchell Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781620640623
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (507 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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They say that behind every great man is a woman. Behind Edith Wharton, there was Anna Bahlmann—her governess turned literary secretary, and her mothering, nuturing friend. When at the age of forty-five Edith falls passionately in love with a dashing, younger journalist, Morton Fullerton, and is at last opened to the world of the sensual, it threatens everything certain in her life—but especially her abiding friendship with Anna. As Edith’s marriage crumbles, the women must face the fragility at the heart of all friendships. The Age of Desire takes us on a vivid journey through Wharton’s early Gilded Age world: Paris with its glamorous literary salons and dark secret cafes, the Wharton’s elegant house in Lenox, Massachusetts, and Henry James’ manse in Rye, England. Edith’s real letters and intimate diary entries are woven throughout the book. The Age of Desire brings to life one of literatures most beloved writers, whose own story was as complex and nuanced as that of any of the heroines she created. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “One doesn’t have to be an Edith Wharton fan to luxuriate in the Wharton-esque plotting and prose Fields so elegantly conjures.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “With astonishing tenderness and immediacy, The Age of Desire portrays the interwoven lives of Edith Wharton and Anna Bahlmann, her governess, secretary, and close friend. By focusing on these two women from vastly different backgrounds, Jennie Fields miraculously illuminates an entire era…I gained insight into both Wharton’s monumental work and her personal struggles—and I was filled with regret that I’d finished reading so soon.”

    Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light and A Fierce Radiance

  • “Somewhere between the repressiveness of Edith Wharton’s early-20th-century Age of Innocence and our own libertine Shades of Grey era lies the absorbingly sensuous world of Jennie Fields’s The Age of Desire…  along with the overheated romance and the middle-age passion it so accurately describes, The Age of Desire also offers something simpler and quieter: a tribute to the enduring power of female friendship.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Delicate and imaginative…Fields’s love and respect for all her characters and her care in telling their stories shines through.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Fields supplements the story with fascinating excerpts from Wharton’s actual letters and includes appearances by other authors of the period…to re-create the exciting literary landscape of Paris and New York in the first decade of the 20th century…The novel should…appeal to those who enjoyed Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife.”

    Library Journal

  • “Fields bases her perceptive novel on Wharton’s own diaries and letters. …[The Age of Desire] sheds welcome light on the little-known private life of a famous woman and her closest relationships in early-twentieth-century Europe and America.”


  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, August2012

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heidi | 2/18/2014

    " Being a big fan of 'The Age of Innocence' I was drawn to this novel, based on the life if its author. The seething frustrations of the aristocracy, adhering to their strict societal codes, are so well represented in Wharton's novels. This new novel provides an insight into the author's life and explains how she came to be so expert at being able to portray the 'hidden' emotions of the gentile classes. Art imitates life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 2/14/2014

    " Really a 3 1/2 star book but I am rounding up because it was easy-to-read, enjoyable, historical fiction about Edith Wharton in 1907 Paris. Maybe too melodramatic at times, but since it incorporates wharton's letters and diaries, there's at least some truth behind the melodrama. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie | 1/24/2014

    " Slow, boring, and not a single character I cared about. This is not a fitting tribute to Edith Wharton in my humble opinion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tammy | 12/1/2013

    " Loved this historical fiction! My only complaint is that it wasn't longer. I look forward to reading more by author Jennie Fields! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 10/31/2013

    " I'm Great Edith Wharton fan and I really loved this book. If you have not visited The Mount, put it on your list. I wish the story had included the story of her death and burial. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela | 10/2/2013

    " A fictionalized account of Edith Wharton's affair with that bounder, Morton Fullerton. The author uses nonfictional correspondence between them, which she asked him to destroy and he (being a bounder) did not. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/6/2013

    " Fans of LOVING FRANK and THE PARIS WIFE will enjoy this fictionalized look at the life of Edith Wharton -- it has the same kind of feel, and Edith, like Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright, comes off as, at least at times, unlikeable, but none the less compelling. A thoroughly enjoyable read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 1/7/2013

    " Fictional account of the author Edith Wharton. Famous for her books about classes and society she was apparently trapped in a loveless marriage. In her forties she awoke to passion through an affair in France. This could have been very good but the characters were a flat as was most of the dialog. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 12/6/2012

    " Fascinating glimpse into life of Edith Wharton, beautifully crafted and apparently closely based on letters she wrote to her assistant and her paramour. Novel format gives the author license to fill gaps, which she compellingly constructs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 11/3/2012

    " This was a really interesting novel about Edith Wharton. Reminded me of Lady's Maid (about Emily Barrett Browning). They were both terribly selfish women who were definitely in the I formation! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 10/29/2012

    " superb. meticulous research. descriptive. didn't want it to end. puts the reader in the midst of Edith Wharton's world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joey | 8/27/2012

    " This was such an interesting period piece about Edith Wharton, Henry James, their friends, lovers, lives in Paris and the US. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kittyhere | 8/16/2012

    " Some of the dialog does not always seem true to the period but the relationship between Edith and her assistant/childhood governess is nicely developed in this novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 7/31/2012

    " It was a very interesting read on Edith Wharton's life. I enjoyed it very much "

About the Author

Jennie Fields received an MA in creative writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the author of the novels Lily Beach, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, and The Middle Ages. An Illinois native, she spent twenty-five years as an advertising creative director in New York and currently lives with her husband in Nashville.

About the Narrator

Meredith Mitchell is an actress who has performed in such films as Mona Lisa Smile and The Reunion, on stage with Shakespeare & Company and the New Repertory Theatre, and on television on Good Morning America. She received her BA in psychology from Emory University and her MFA in acting from Brandeis University.