By Edith Wharton
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Published in 1917, Summer is a story of love, romance and sensuality. It follows the life of a young American female from New England named Charity Royall who was born in poverty. Charity is loved by her guardian Lawyer Royall who expresses his wish to marry her. He first finds her a decent job as the town's librarian despite her lack of qualifications. However, Charity falls in love with another young man named Lucius Harney that she meets one day in the library. With Lucius, eighteen-year-old Charity gradually discovers sensual love for the first time in her life. Other developments happen in the story as Charity falls pregnant and yet discovers that her lover is secretly engaged to another young woman from a higher social rank. Her depression and desperation push her to decide to become a prostitute like her mother when she is rescued from this tragic destiny by Lawyer Royall who marries her and protects her. Edith Wharton's Summer is today considered as one of the earliest novels that deal with innocent young girls discovering the sweet, albeit thorny, world of love and sensual romance.