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The Reef | Edith Wharton
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The Reef - Book V completes the book

Anna ties herself up in a knot of indecision - taking Darrow back and then managing to get _him_ to call it off for her. That‘s most of this part. Owen runs off for some mental recovery. Sophy holds up her end, and goes back to where she started. In the end, she‘s the only one who truly lost something. I think it‘s a curious ending. Where did you end up in your own thought process?

Graywacke Apologies for the late post. I‘m traveling. I had time, just off my routine. 3d
Graywacke I wanted to add one thought before I tag everyone. I notice this book is from a humbled perspective. The author of House of Mirth and The Fruit of the Tree came across as full of passion and frustration…and self confidence. This author seems to have looked into something without answer and been troubled by it. 3d
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Lcsmcat “Something without answer” sums it up! Anna‘s vacillation was driving me bonkers! And then the ending was so abrupt. WTF!?! 3d
Lcsmcat Quotes I marked, in no particular order. “The truth had come to light by the force of its irresistible pressure;” 3d
Lcsmcat “Her scruples were not overcome; but for the time their voices were drowned in the tumultuous rumour of her happiness.” 3d
Graywacke Side note. I finished the book and then wracked my memory for Jimmy Brance. I was really entertained when I found Sophy telling both Darrow _and me_ (exclaimed in wonder): “You were absorbed—not to remember Jimmy Brance!…” (Book I, part 2) 3d
Lcsmcat “She could hardly conceive of wanting the kind of love that was a state one could be cozened into…” 3d
Lcsmcat “she reflected with a chill of fear that she would never again know if he were speaking the truth or not.” 3d
Lcsmcat And the oft marked “What I meant was that when you‘ve lived a little longer you‘ll see what complex blunderers we all are: how we‘re struck blind sometimes, and mad sometimes—and then, when our sight and our senses come back, how we have to set to work, and build up, little by little, bit by bit, the precious things we‘d smashed to atoms without knowing it. Life‘s just a perpetual piecing together of broken bits.” 3d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke 😂😂Me too! (Re: Jimmy) (edited) 3d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat oh, lovely. Thanks for posting all these. The second to last one rung a death knell to Darrow in my mind. At this point I could only doubt everything he said. Poor Anna. Your last one strikes home. 3d
Currey @Lcsmcat @Graywacke Yes, agreed with WTF ending. I don‘t mind ambiguity but after all of Anna‘s dithering back and forth to only get to that ending was odd I thought. 3d
Currey @Lcsmcar @Graywacke Did you get the sense that Wharton was really striving to capture something that she herself experienced? 3d
Lcsmcat @Currey I hate to read too much autobiography into an author‘s work, but this really feels like her trying to find a “right” answer to an impossible situation, doesn‘t it? 3d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I didn‘t trust Darrow after Book 2, but this made me hope Anna would realize she‘d be happier without him. 3d
Currey @lcsmcat Yes, no right answer and therefore no right ending? Seems like Wharton is better than that….to get to no right answer but a “right” ending. I think I am getting silly now 3d
CarolynM I was gobsmacked by that abrupt and completely inconclusive ending. WTF??? I needed some closure for my peace of mind so I‘ve decided that Sophy confessed all to Owen and they ran away together which was why Owen was so keen to get rid of Anna. As for Anna and Darrow I can‘t decide. Like @Lcsmcat I was fed up with Anna‘s vacillating and moral agonizing. Was Sophy‘s sister & her lifestyle intended to tell us something about Sophy? Is so, what? 3d
jewright The ending seemed so abrupt to me. I literally had to double check if my Kindle app had not loaded the rest of the ending. Anna just either needs to forgive and forget or let Darrow go. This constant upheaval will make them both miserable. It reminds me of a high school couple who break up only to reunite with drama and repeat for four years. 3d
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat (I‘m love to read too much into autobiographical stuff 😊) I felt there was experience behind what she wrote. That sense of certainty, solid logic - how awful Darrow was - getting lost in the moment. If it‘s not real, why add it in. It‘s not good for the drama, unless it happens to have something real behind it. So I imagined experience behind it. But I also feel she struggled to capture it. 2d
Graywacke @CarolynM i hope Sophy ran away with Owen for her sake, but he was better off maturing. Also, like you I have really wondered what W‘s intent was with Sophy. Because you can interpret that as very judgmental, and narrow-minded wealthy elitist. I want that to be wrong, but I‘m still unconvinced. But 👇 2d
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I think Sophy‘s sister was what Sophy was running to avoid becoming. And as for the ending, maybe Wharton was ahead of her time with ambiguous endings. 😂 2d
Lcsmcat @jewright Very high school drama! And I had to check my Kindle too - I really did think there would be another chapter. 😂 2d
Graywacke ?one way it‘s wrong is if the point is Anna. Anna falls, anyway you look at it. She has it altogether when we meet her. Responsible to mom, daughter and stepson, and with well-selected fiancé. When it comes apart, she comes apart too. She makes bad decisions with Darrow. And she failed mom, Sophy and herself (but arguably not Owen). In this context it highlights how low she has fallen and how much she has failed Sophy. ? 2d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think she totally captured the vacillation and inner turmoil. She just didn‘t give us an answer. Maybe letting us in on Anna‘s ultimate choice would imply that was the “right” choice, and she didn‘t want to (or couldn‘t) do that. 2d
Graywacke 👆but @CarolynM i‘d like to hear more takes ok this. But still - yeah, @Lcsmcat @Currey @jewright , wtf? 2d
Graywacke @jewright ( @Lcsmcat @Currey ) - see, I agree unless there is a real element to it. We do have high school drama moments in life. When we get seriously scared we are liable to go into really dumb dramatic states. Ok, apologies, not accusing anyone, but I have done this anyway. It‘s so dumb afterwards, but during its very hard to think straight. Anyway, if there is something real there, it‘s meaningful. If it‘s just drama, then seems silly to me. (edited) 2d
CarolynM I'm not sure that Anna has failed anyone. It is an unfortunate situation, but it's not of her making. Ultimately I think all the relationships would be changed, whatever final choice she made. Also, I was curious about her first marriage. 2d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat if you extrapolate an epilogue - do you see Anna ever managing to make an ultimate choice? (edited) 2d
Graywacke @CarolynM Fraser Leath… yeah, I‘m curious too. My edition came with a terrible introduction. But one good thing about was it points out how brilliantly W captured Fraser, who we never see. We do have to question Anna‘s judgement marrying a snuff box collector. Fraser and Darrow were misses. 👇 2d
Sparklemn I bit off more than I could chew this month with reading, work, life, etc. so I didn't finish The Reef. However, I've enjoyed what I read so far and plan to finish it someday . Glad you all made it to the end! (edited) 2d
Graywacke 👆 Anna makes an interesting and progressive case for encouraging Owen with Sophy. Does anyone think it was another bad judgment? 2d
Graywacke @Sparklemn thanks! I hope, if you finish, it rewards. Let us know! 🙂 2d
Currey @Graywacke @CarolynM I got the impression she married Fraser because he was a snuff box collector not in spite of. He was predictable, non-dramatic, outside presence always correct and no one seemed to care about any real feelings he may have had. After loving Darrow she wonders if Fraser had a completely different life away from her, especially when he traveled without her. Clearly, it not only never occurred to her before but she did not care 2d
CarolynM @Currey I thought there was a hint that Fraser was a rebound thing after her early relationship with Darrow because he was more suitable. I agree she didn‘t care about him. If it weren‘t for the existence of the daughter I‘d have thought it was possibly an unconsummated marriage. 2d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Anna has to make an ultimate decision, even if it‘s deciding not to decide. But what that decision would be? 🤷🏻‍♀️ What it _should_ be, is to cut Darrow loose. 2d
Lcsmcat @CarolynM @currey Wasn‘t there something in the beginning about Fraser being unconventional, but then Anna discovering that his rules around being unconventional were as rigid as the social conventions? I‘ll have to look back for that. (edited) 2d
CarolynM @Lcsmcat Yes, I remember something like that. Was she hinting he was gay? 2d
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I hadn‘t thought about his being gay, but perhaps? I‘ve found the quote and will post it below. It‘s long so it may take several parts. 2d
Lcsmcat “It was a mind, she soon learned, contentedly absorbed in formulating the conventions of the unconventional. West Fifty-fifth Street was no more conscientiously concerned than Givré with the momentous question of “what people did”; ?? 2d
Lcsmcat 👆🏻”it was only the type of deed investigated that was different. Mr. Leath collected his social instances with the same seriousness and patience as his snuff-boxes. He exacted a rigid conformity to his rules of non-conformity and his scepticism had the absolute accent of a dogma.” 2d
Cathythoughts Sorry, never made it yesterday ( at a concert 👍🏻). Yes , the ending was so abrupt and told us nothing. I have no idea if Sophy went with Owen ? Anna had no idea what to do! Anna was driving herself mad trying to make the ‘right ‘ decision ( she was starting to drive me mad too) . I hadn‘t thought of Fraser being gay @CarolynM @Lcsmcat but it would make sense. It‘s a possibility 🤔. I can say that I enjoyed this one very much. 2d
Graywacke @Currey @CarolynM @Lcsmcat I had a simpler take on Fraser. I think young Anna felt Darrow was limiting, but Fraser came along and she liked his irreverent attitude. It was only later she discovered he wasn‘t really irreverent at all, and she found him cold. (regardless of his orientation) My point being she knew Darrow well enough to sense something she didn‘t like, but didn‘t know Fraser well enough to sense this when they married. 2d
Graywacke So, perhaps in the same way she was slow to pick up on Darrow and Sophy - she asked the right questions but didn‘t pursue the answers - was the same way she evaluated men with hidden flaws in general. 2d
Graywacke And if I‘m right I can say this: and yet she encouraged Owen to rush ahead… (edited) 2d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I agree that she‘s encouraging Owen to do that which got her into this untenable situation. I‘m not sure what caused her to think Fraser would be the one to make her “really live” except he criticized her parents, which is sometimes enough for a teenager. 😀 2d
jewright @Lcsmcat—You are right! I‘m just not a fan of ambiguous endings ever! I hate them on modern novels as well. I need everything tied up with a bow, thanks. Or dead. I don‘t mind a good tragedy. 2d
Lcsmcat @jewright So, Dickensian? 😂 2d
jewright @Lcsmcat I love Dickens! 15h
Lcsmcat @jewright Same here. But I‘m also ok with ambiguous endings. I guess this one just felt unprepared or something. 15h
jewright @Lcsmcat I‘m really not a fan of them at all. I kind of hate The Giver for that reason. 13h
Graywacke @jewright the Giver sequel kills the ambiguity. But that‘s funny. 1h
Graywacke @jewright @Lcsmcat I read David Copperfield this year. _Everything_ is wrapped up. Wharton‘s endings are uncomfortable, but not all are ambiguous. I think Anna was in no state for a proper ending. @Lcsmcat 1h
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The Reef | Edith Wharton
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More stills from Passion‘s Way

The Reef - Book IV - #whartonbuddyread

And everything falls apart. And pride is the last thing standing. I guess a question out there is whether pride here is a strength or Shakespearean tragic flaw. So, what‘s on your mind? Were you surprised by anything? We‘re you able to stop at Book IV? What do you think Anna should do?

Lcsmcat I‘m not sure if Pride is the tragic flaw or the only thing holding them together. But this section is so sad. One action ruins so many lives! 1w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat thinking about what to post, it struck me how restrained everyone‘s response is. It‘s sad, but everyone works so hard to keep their exterior intact. 1w
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Lcsmcat @Graywacke There was so much that one couldn‘t say then. Anna could hardly explain her broken engagement by saying “We‘ll the jerk slept with my daughter‘s governance/step-son‘s fiancée, and then lied about it.” I think pride was all they had left. 1w
Cathythoughts I finished this part this morning. I haven‘t had time to process the story so far , lots of keeping face. I‘m mostly struck with Whartons writing of the inner feelings and accompanying out word or inward gestures… she has it down to a t. “ Anna‘s heart shook against her side “ “ as though her very nature had changed without her having knowing it. “. Whartons intuition astounds me , dreams , memory, the wan old waiter‘s face he remembers !? (edited) 1w
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts She does a very good job of writing that dichotomy between inner and expressed emotions! (I didn‘t mark quotes this week, but it was more a function of my time than Wharton‘s writing.) 1w
arubabookwoman I for one could not stop reading at the end of Book IV, so I went ahead and finished the book. I won't comment much this week in fear of making spoilerish comments. I will say that when I finished Book IV, I was surprised it went on. At that point, it seemed Wharton had said all she needed to say, but apparently not. 1w
arubabookwoman In the other Whartons we have read, a lot of the "tragedy" is caused by the failure to communicate, or by lies and deceit. When we read Fruit of the Tree, I was thinking that the lack of communication skills was a flaw of the particular character. Now, I think that much if not all the miscommunication is the result of the strictures and rules of the society in which these characters reside. So many rules about what can and cannot be said & to whom 1w
Leftcoastzen I love everyone‘s comments! Of course we knew things had to come out.But the restraint at which each move will be made is in step with the times & their status. 1w
arubabookwoman Here, Sophie for the most part is honest, as when she tells Darrow that as soon as she saw him again she knew she wanted to keep him all to herself, (if only in her heart), and knew she couldn't marry Owen. But Sophie is not at Anna and Darrow's societal level. She is a mere governess, and of a class Darrow feels comfortable taking advantage of. In contrast, Darrow, when he learns Anna knows he saw Sophie in Paris, 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 (edited) 1w
arubabookwoman ...tells Anna only enough to cause her to surmise (somewhat comically) that perhaps Darrow "helped her in her straits--lent her money" which caused Sophie to fall in love with him. 1w
arubabookwoman any thoughts on the title? A reef is a submerged hidden danger. Lurking, causing shipwrecks to the unwary. There is certainly a shipwreck taking place at Givres. 1w
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I like your take on the title! 1w
Currey @arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat Yes, great take on the title….a reef also protects the shore from wave erosion. A biological creation made up of individual fragile things is also a strong barrier. The communication customs or strictures of the day served to protect people‘s outward proper presence but really I wanted to scream: just tell her you f**ked up and beg forgiveness you slimy piece of…. 1w
Currey @Graywacke I was surprised at Darrow coming clean or at least a bit cleaner in a brilliant nuanced Wharton way. In this way, for me, she tilted the balance again. Suddenly I was thinking he is not all bad and maybe Anna was not all good. Was Anna in love with her own emotions rather than with a human being and full of too much pride? I did not change my mind completely but Wharton caused the lines to be a bit blurrier again. 👇 1w
Currey @Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman which may be Wharton‘s way of pointing to a whole society rather than individuals within it…as Arubabookwoman and Lcsmcat were saying. 1w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat (your 2nd comment above) it‘s interesting in a way that Anna couldn‘t flat out say that. I mean that the nature of societal structure, the stuff they all depend on, prevented it. If she were in a different world and could say that straight…it would neither change the fact or resolve it. It would just be another context for arguably the same problem. 1w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat inner feelings - this caught my attention too. It‘s striking. I was thinking Wharton knows something about these feelings. I thought they came through with a sense of personal experience behind them. 1w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman i have the same feeling - in the sense that I‘ve finished book iv and it feels like we have everything concluded (not wrapped up, mind you). So what‘s next? But I don‘t know yet. 🙂 1w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman “the miscommunication is the result if the strictures and rules of the society in which these characters reside” - storing this description. It captures a key aspect to everything thing we‘ve read by W so far. 1w
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen yes! Does that restraint make it worse? I Sorry, don‘t mean to put you on the spot. But I‘m asking myself this question because it strikes me direct speech is like always productive either - or truly direct. 1w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman Sophy surprised me in saying she still loved Darrow. I find it funny that the same person who loved second rate art seems to love Darrow - it‘s quite a way to blast his mediocrity. 1w
Graywacke @Currey @arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat - on the title. I love these ideas. I find the title puzzling and has assumed it was a reference to borders - Givré protected from the outer world, the Leaths protecting their status, that kind of thing. But it wears a little strange to me. I‘m missing something. 1w
Graywacke @Currey Darrow makes an interesting character study, no? 1w
Currey @Graywacke Absolutely, and parsing what is inherent to his character and what are the cultural norms of the time is fascinating. His duplicity is not a product of the times, his inability to stabilize on one judgement is not a product of the times but his communication….hmmmm 1w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke “quite a way to blast his mediocrity” 😂 1w
Leftcoastzen @Graywacke even in contemporary society the shock of an event can leave you at a loss for words !😄shoulda said this or that ! I think people of that era know the walls have ears , staff could gossip about what had occurred. 1w
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen having servants around would limit how much someone can act out. 🙂 1w
CarolynM @arubabookwoman Yes to all that. I am surprised at how affronted Anna is by the Darrow-Sophy liaison - weren‘t men of that class and time expected to have mistresses? I get that she‘d be upset about the timing & obviously Sophy is immoral and must be shunned, but I‘m more used to the “that‘s men for you” approach. Maybe that‘s the difference between European/British and American moral attitudes. 1w
Cathythoughts Can I just ask on another note, what‘s our next Wharton after this one. ? I must get it. Thanks. 1w
Cathythoughts This protecting of Owen is starting to really annoy me. He needs the truth too. But , I suppose Anna‘s over protection of Owen is a way for her to distract from her own feelings. 1w
Tamra @Graywacke it is puzzling and I don‘t have any definitive ideas. But I like your interpretation. Class &/or generational mores protection? (edited) 1w
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The Reef | Edith Wharton
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I had to finish this when I could as I won‘t have time for it in the upcoming weeks as scheduled.

I‘m anxious for title interpretations from the group! #whartonbuddyread

@Graywacke @Lcsmcat

Graywacke 👍 I‘m anxious to find what happens 2w
Cathythoughts I know ! The Reef ? I still have the last 2 parts to read. 2w
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The Reef | Edith Wharton
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Tim Dalton as Charles Darrow from a 1999 TV movie version called Passion‘s Way.

The Reef - Book III #whartonbuddyread

What you all guessed has happened. Is only Anna oblivious?! Anyway Darrow has constant irritation underneath his outwardly presented and desired bliss - imagining “the countless chances of betrayal”.

So, does Sophy actually love Owen? Does Darrow actually love Anna? Is Wharton still master of her story? Your thoughts? ☂ anyone?

Graywacke I loved this description: “Owen, like Sophy Viner, had the kind of face which seems less the stage on which emotions move than the very stuff they work in.” 2w
Graywacke And I thought this captured our state. Two posts under a shared umbrella: “As they hastened on through the drizzle in which the storm of the night was weeping itself out, Anna drew close under his umbrella, and at the pressure of her arm against his he recalled his walk up the Dover pier with Sophy Viner. 👇 2w
Graywacke 👆 The memory gave him a startled vision of the inevitable occasions of contact, confidence, familiarity, which his future relationship to the girl would entail, and the countless chances of betrayal that every one of them involved.” 2w
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Graywacke For my two cents, I think Wharton may have been struggling with this Darrow at this point. He‘s awkwardly obvious when can work much subtly if she wanted him too. Not sure. And, 2 extra cents - what‘s with the name Charles Darrow? What‘s the difference between Darrow and Darwin? Survival of the fittest? 2w
jewright I think Sophy doesn‘t mind Owen, and she knows this is her best chance. She‘s had a rough life, and she‘s going to settle for security and money. 2w
Currey @Graywacke I agree that Wharton is either struggling with Darrow or she is attempting to set us (the reader) up for something completely different at the next chance. This section was not as interesting as the first two. 2w
jewright Darrow is in love with the past Anna. There‘s always nostalgia with a first love! He also seems to want to be settled. Honestly, he had more chemistry with Sophy! 2w
Lcsmcat Interesting that your mind went to Darwin. Mine went to Clarence Darrow, who said "the fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom." Maybe she is using the combined names to indicate the shifting social mores and the character‘s discomfort with them? 2w
Lcsmcat @jewright I think Sophy loves Owen in a “fondness” kind of way. He‘s not her passion, but because he‘s young and malleable she thinks that‘s enough because she‘ll be able to control him. Which would be awfully tempting to one who has had little control over her own life thus far! 2w
Lcsmcat About Darrow, some quotes I marked: “he was more and more aware of his inability to test the moral atmosphere about him” 2w
Lcsmcat “Darrow, under shelter of the necessarily impersonal talk, had time to adjust his disguise and to perceive that the others were engaged in the same re-arrangement.” 2w
Currey @Lcsmcat I liked this one about Darrow‘s take on Miss Painter: …it was restful and fortifying merely to walk into the big blank area of Miss Painter‘s mind, so vacuous for all its accumulated items, so echoless for all its vacuity. 2w
Cathythoughts Darrow is certainly having flashback moments to his time with Sophy.. I‘m not sure where Sophy is at just now. Anna and Owen are steady in their feelings and course .. let‘s see what happens next 🤔 2w
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @jewright Also something tells me it is Miss Painter who will be his downfall. Could she be on to him? 2w
Cathythoughts @Graywacke Darrow and Darwin ? 😁🤔 2w
Lcsmcat @Currey Great quote about Miss Painter! I too have an inkling that she‘s going to set something in motion. 2w
Cathythoughts @Currey I agree Miss Painter is one to watch out for , our detective 🕵️‍♀️ 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Charles Darwin + Clarence Darrow - no clue who this Darrow was but I love your quote and your idea of the mishmash and the shifting social mores to the practical (Cather is listening now). The idea of shifting social mores reminds me no one is French in our French chateau (other than unnamed servants). 2w
Graywacke @Currey @Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I was waiting to see how Darrow would respond when Painter suggested she would investigate Viner‘s past. He didn‘t seem to notice, distracted as he is by so many other disasters on the cusp. I don‘t think he foresaw what that could mean. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Clarence Darrow was the attorney at the Scopes Monkey Trials. He argued in favor of evolution against William Jennings Bryan. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ok. That‘s really cool but we also can chronologically eliminate Clarence. Scopes trial was 1925. The Reef 1912. 2w
Tamra @Lcsmcat I noted that line too, as if Darrow is a social/moral chameleon? Darrow seems inclined to do what‘s in his own best interests. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke It was pre-Scopes, but Darrow was a well-known defense lawyer and public speaker from 1880 on. She probably knew about him, but that doesn‘t mean she _was_ referencing him; just that she could have. 2w
Tamra @Currey she‘s the shift in wind from the north! (edited) 2w
Lcsmcat @Tamra Yes, Darrow is all about himself!! 2w
Tamra I already like Painter! I loved the scene in which she uses Madame‘s own biblical morality to oppose her objections - best to support a doubtful/unsuitable lawful match than a sinful liaison. 👌🏾 (edited) 2w
Tamra Anna has definitely added glue to the bind of Darrow‘s own making when she insists they can only be happy if Owen & Sophy are happy. Wharton is quite adept at ramping up the tension. 2w
Tamra @Lcsmcat He‘s pretty transparent to the reader, but obviously not to Anna. I suspect she‘s so desperate to be fulfilled and away from Givre she‘ll settle for blissful ignorance. 2w
Lcsmcat @Tamra And I think Anna is also falling for the nostalgia aspect of their relationship. 2w
Lcsmcat @Tamra @Currey I like Painter too. She‘s surprisingly likable. 2w
Tamra @Lcsmcat good point. The past can‘t be resurrected. 2w
PageShifter One day I'll participate in these buddy reads! 2w
Graywacke @jewright @Lcsmcat On Sophy‘s feelings for Owen: I was intrigued when Darrow challenges her feelings straight up (his only good query?) and she did not rise in passion. She just gave him a muddied adequate answer - which in more in line with an beaten down opportunist looking for stability than one deeply in love. She has never said to Darrow, I love him, don‘t ruin this - or anything similar. 2w
Graywacke @Currey This was softer than Books I and II, no question. But those two were especially entertaining. Also glad I‘m not the only one wondering about what Wharton was thinking with Darwin in this moment. 2w
Graywacke @jewright @Cathythoughts @tamra @Lcsmcat these comments about D and A‘s nostalgia are so interesting to me. It makes a lot click about their relationship. (And Anna was only mixed on Darrow back then.) Maybe they aren‘t even seeing each other now and only trying to recover their younger selves. I‘m putting this in mind going forward. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat these are terrific quotes on Darrow. The first one, about his inability to sense the morality - I originally thought it meant he‘s too worked up to focus and sense. But the extra meaning is … lush. @Tamra I find Darwin so slimy in his way of manipulating. Also, enjoyed your back and forth on Darrow - the opaque and transparent aspects of a completely selfish Darrow. 2w
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts @Tamra Adelaide Painter - someone picked on her last week and we barely knew who she was, so I read Bk3 looking out for her expectantly. And she‘s been a terrific character. Still, her influence is so uncertain right now. I wonder when our inevitable Wharton catastrophe takes place, if will think, yeah, she knew. 2w
Graywacke @Tamra your glue comment and Wharton ramping up the tension - that line by Anna - such good stuff for this story, it made me smile. Man, if Darrow would just agree with Anna and support her… because every he does counter (which is everything he does) digs him deeper and deeper into future trouble. 2w
Graywacke @PageShifter please join! We‘re doing Custom of the Country next, one of her big four classica. (No date set yet) 2w
CarolynM Darrow is a thoroughly unlikeable character. I‘m fed up with his rather overwrought inner dialogue. I‘m interested that the question of morality seems to hang over his head quite so much - I thought it was only women who could be “compromised”. The timing of the dalliance is damning, though. I love Adelaide Painter, she leaps off the page in full colour. 2w
CarolynM I‘m also interested in the whole Americans-in-France thing. The culture clash of Madame de Treyme seems to be just accepted background here. Most of them don‘t seem to like France or the French much but there they are. Is it just that at the time their money went a lot further in France than at home, or is there something else at play that I don‘t understand? @Lcsmcat @Tamra 2w
Tamra @CarolynM yes she does! So interesting and forthright. 2w
llwheeler Loving all these comments. I've finished the book now, so trying to be mindful not to say anything too far in the story. But I agree with the nostalgia comments re Darrow and Anna... She has her child and stepchild keeping her in the present so to speak, but Darrow seems very immature for his age to me, maybe stuck in the past - there's a huge age gap btw him and Sophy... 2w
Tamra @CarolynM good question. I don‘t have enough historical context to answer. It is curious the disdain and yet there they are…..perhaps a bit of cognitive dissonance? Unwilling admiration or envy as an outsider given surely Americans were tolerated only to the extent of their financial value? (At least by stereotype.) 2w
Tamra @llwheeler it‘s hard! 😬🫢 2w
Graywacke @llwheeler @tamra my sympathies on your pressed reticence. 😂 2w
Lcsmcat @CarolynM The American in France thing is hard for me to grasp. I‘m not sure what the draw was. 2w
Graywacke @CarolynM @Lcsmcat Living in France in an American expat community sounds really nice to me. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @CarolynM And it‘s certainly in the national psyche. But why, if you dislike the French? 2w
Leftcoastzen Love everyone‘s comments! Painter is a colorful character! She is definitely bringing some life to the party! @llwheeler comments about Anna having lived a life with children, commitments making her more grounded in the present & Darrow being immature resonates w/ me.He seems to feel panic then feelings of “I can manage this situation “😃 2w
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The Reef | Edith Wharton
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Finished this ahead of the #whartonbuddyread so won't say too much here. I liked this one - solidly in the middle of her books we've read so far for me, not my favourite but I liked it more than a couple of the others. Love her writing.

Graywacke Congrats and thanks for no spoilers. I‘m really curious how this plays out. 3w
llwheeler @Graywacke I was too, part of why I read ahead and finished early! (and partly cause I have some busy times coming up) 3w
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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Meshell1313 🤣🤣🤣 3w
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Ethan Frome | Edith Wharton
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The Reef | Edith Wharton
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The Reef - Book II - #whartonbuddyread

Oh Darrow. We meet Anna and her rather lovely family, their lovely chateau, her lovely promising relationship with a spineless liar, and her perfect governess. So, your thoughts?

(Pictured is Château de la Brunière, in the town of Givré. Not our chateau, but perhaps along those lines.)

jewright I knew who the governess was going to be! I‘m just confused about what exactly happened between books 1 and 2. How did they end up apart and out of touch? 3w
Lcsmcat @jewright I have the same questions. But I imagine Darrow trying to pretend nothing happened as he offers his “help” that she refused. And then he ran back to his diplomatic position. 3w
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Leftcoastzen I guessed who the governess would be as well ! Festivities predicted to ensue!😄I still think there will be something in that letter that Darrow didn‘t read & threw in the fire will come into play sometime . 3w
Graywacke @jewright @Lcsmcat I spent all Book 2 wondering what happened between (from May to October). Darrow is not helpful. So, Owen did notice, right? 3w
Graywacke @jewright @Leftcoastzen You were good on predicting the governess! I was slow figuring that out…and then I could only smile. The meeting-with Owen and Anna there-that scene-Wharton was having fun. 3w
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen Such a mystery, that unread letter. Can Darrow get away with pretending to have read it? He couldn‘t even keep not mailing Sophy‘s letter from her. (It‘s a little surreal, Anna is steady, and Darrow is false in such an inept manner) 3w
Leftcoastzen @Graywacke 😁I agree! I enjoy reading this book so much , her writing, her descriptions , so good! 3w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Oh I think Owen noticed all right. But what will he do with that knowledge? 3w
Lcsmcat @Leftcoastzen I want to know about the letter, too. I‘m not sure how, but you know it‘s got to be important. 3w
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen that‘s great to hear. I find her writing - it‘s so good to me it‘s actually relaxing. 3w
Graywacke Speaking of writing, anyone else get caught up in the nuances of Fraser Leath? Anna thinks of him: “It was a mind, she soon learned, contentedly absorbed in formulating the conventions of the unconventional.” 3w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Owen kept it mute while hunting with Darrow, while oozing trust. But he‘s preoccupied. 🙂 3w
Tamra So delightful! I absolutely loved the description of the Chateau at the beginning of Book 2. I think it may be portentous. Owen seeks to break with it, as it may “gobble” him up. All the responsibilities & traditions….. (edited) 3w
Tamra @Graywacke oh yes, we get to really know Fraser and his obsessive compulsive need for order & control. 3w
Tamra Watching out for the appearance of Adelaide Painter, the omen of catastrophe. 😲 3w
arubabookwoman I had previously read this years ago, and the only thing I did remember was that the new governess was the woman Darrow had a fling with, so with Darrow at the Chateau and the governess away I read very impatiently, anxious to see how Wharton was going to handle the big reveal. Not based on memory but on a few hints here and there, (Anna anxious to know more about Sophie) I'm wondering if Owen's "unsuitable" match is Sophie. 3w
arubabookwoman @Leftcoastzen @Graywacke Re the letter,, Anna says that the 2nd letter, in response to which he came , "repeated exactly what I'd said in the first", so I don't think what the burned letter said is a mystery. But since in the letter she told him she had an answer for him (to marriage proposal I assume , the pertinent question is how can Anna accept his lame excuse as to why he didn't answer the first letter. (edited) 3w
arubabookwoman I'm also interested in what Darrow told Anna about the woman Owen saw him with in Paris. When Anna asks, he kind of laughs it off then tells her, "Now you may ask me anything you please!", but Wharton doesn't tell us what Anna asks or what Darrow tells her. We do know that Darrow later lies to her about how and where he knew Sophie from before. Oh what a tangled web we weave..... 3w
Cathythoughts @arubabookwoman I was wondering too if Owens unsuitable match is Sophie.. the plot would thicken ! Really enjoying the drama. (edited) 3w
Graywacke @Tamra the gorgeous beguiling chateau no one wants to live in. I found that curious. 3w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts @arubabookwoman wait, Sophy could be the fiancé?! And @tamra the yet unmet Adelaide Painter an omen. Ok, so first I need this closer. And second there‘s a lot of good stuff in all these posts. And 3rd…Sophy…wow. 3w
Currey @Graywacke @Tamra @arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat Sorry to be late to the party but I concur with everyone‘s assessment of Darrow‘s deceitfulness and all round sliminess and Anna, so wanting to be in love that she seems to be overlooking a few issues. Great reading this week. I wonder why Wharton thought this was a “lump” 3w
CarolynM I‘m behind. I‘ll catch you up next week. 3w
Graywacke @CarolynM sounds good. 👍 3w
Graywacke @Currey i keep thinking about the lump comment too. Perhaps she was being humble or insecure, or she just couldn‘t get it right. Glad you‘re enjoying! Anna asks the right questions but has rose-colored glasses on - she doesn‘t press hard enough on the answers. 3w
Currey @Graywacke Yes, Anna seems so secure in her love that she has not truly peeled back the layers of who she is in love with. After being married to Leath she should know better. 3w
Currey @Graywacke Perhaps Wharton could not bring it to the right conclusion, but clearly the beginning is quite wonderful 3w
Graywacke @Currey I‘m curious to know. Sometimes 5 weeks is way too long. 3w
Graywacke @jewright @arubabookwoman @Currey @KathyWheeler @CarolynM @Cathythoughts @leftcoastzen @tamra @Lcsmcat - you can keep posting, just wanted to say this has been a great conversation. 3w
Currey @Cathythoughts @arubabookwoman I actually found myself hoping that Sophy was not Owen‘s love interest. The tangle there was making my stomach ache in anticipation. However, I do think you are correct. 3w
Sparklemn I'm behind but I'll catch up. I'm enjoying following the discussion! 3w
Graywacke @Sparklemn I‘m enjoying it too. No worries about catching up later. 3w
llwheeler Busy weekend so I'm slow to post here, but I'm actually ahead on the reading... I couldn't stop and finished the book! I also found the time jump before the start of this section a little curious, wondering what had happened in the meantime 3w
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The Reef | Edith Wharton
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May wrap up. Didn't read my #BookSpin or #doublespin (again) but I did get a bingo!

For #20in4 I got about 12 hours. I only finished 1 book during the readathon, but then finished 4 the next day that were all almost finished 😅

And I still have too many books on the go...


TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! I'm also have a “books on the go“ problem... nine with bookmarks in them right now! 😂 4w
llwheeler @TheAromaofBooks oof! I think I have about that many with bookmarks too, but I'm only actively reading probably about 5... Only lol... 4w
TheAromaofBooks Most of them are intentional chapter-a-day reads, but I still may have overcommitted on the buddy read/challenge aspect in May and it is carrying over into June! 4w
llwheeler @TheAromaofBooks good luck with them all! 4w
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