Edith Wharton called her novel, Summer, "the hot Ethan Frome." It is a sister book to Ethan Frome in many ways. It takes place in rural New England, is about forbidden love, and unlike most of her other novels, her characters are middle class. But the main character of Summer, Charity Royall, has so much more spunk than Ethan! Charity is headstrong, passionate, willful, and like most of Wharton's characters, desperate to escape her claustrophobic existance. And the novel is hot, Wharton's right. She wrote it soon after her own passionate love affair with Morton Fullerton, and Charity's sexuality is more luxuriant and less repressed than that of any of her other female characters. Maybe I love this novel best of all Wharton's work is because I too, grew up in rural New England rather than old New York, but I think it's because Charity is bolder, more feral, less ladylike than any of Wharton's other main characters. Heartbreakingly, and quintessentially Wharton, it begins with the opening of a door, and ends with the closing of that same door.