The Reef (Paperback)
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George Darrow, an American diplomat residing in London, has remained in contact with his former love, Anna Leath, who had previously married another man. Now widowed, she resumes contact with Darrow. Darrow desires to continue the relationship he had with Anna but remains concerned about her commitment to the relationship.
The novel begins with Darrow preparing to join Anna in France when he receives a telegram ordering him to wait "til thirtieth" because of an "unexpected obstacle" - one of many such delays Anna has ordered. Deeply humiliated and disappointed, Darrow boards the boat regardless and runs into the young Sophy Viner, a woman he had previously encountered but never gotten to know thoroughly . Sophy, although down on her luck, is an ambitious aspiring actress determined to start a new life in France. Enthralled, Darrow convinces her to spend a few days with him so he can show her around Paris. During their time spent together, the two enter into a romantic affair.
A few Months later, Darrow and the widowed Anna Leath patch their relationship and make arrangements to get married. But before they can announce their plans, Darrow finds out that the engagement of Anna's stepson menaces to have a profound effect on his own
Facts and Trivia:
The novel was adapted into a film The Reef (also known as Passion's Way) in 1999 starring Sela Ward, Timothy Dalton and Alicia Witt.
George Darrow: 37-year-old American Diplomat who is living in London at the beginning of the novel. He becomes engaged to Anna Leath.
Anna Leath: American widow living in Givre, which is in rural France. She becomes engaged to George Darrow.
Sophy Viner: young American woman who aspires to become an actress. She is engaged to Owen Leath.
Owen Leath: Anna's stepson, age 23. He is engaged to Sophy Viner.
Effie Leath: Anna's daughter, age 9
Dowager Marquise de Chantelle: Anna's mother in law, age 60
Adelaide Painter: American friend of the family and of the Marquise
Mrs. Murrett: Sophy's previous employer
Fraser Leath: Anna's deceased husband
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About the Author
Edith Newbold Jones (Edith Wharton) was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly. After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton's novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton's first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable literary success. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton's reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Andre Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London."