Tuesday Trivia: Happy Birthday, Edith Wharton

A pink tree in bloom

On this day in 1862, Edith Newbold Jones was born in New York City. She published her first work at the age of 16, a book of poetry entitled Verses.

Of course, we know Wharton by her later novels. She published The House of Mirth in 1905 and Ethan Frome in 1911. She lived for ten years at The Mount, her large estate in Lenox, Massachusetts. Go to the link below and take a look at the house.

It’s gorgeous, and I have to visit! Who’s with me?

Not long after publishing Ethan Frome (or right before; online sources are at odds), Wharton moved to France. She won the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence in 1921 and died in France in 1937.

[Info page on the website of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home. https://www.edithwharton.org/discover/edith-wharton/]

Have you read any or all of Edith Wharton’s novels? I am a sucker for Ethan Frome this time of year, probably because I’m a New Englander and can feel the cold and smell the crystal snow and feel the glide of a sled down an icy hill.

It’s wicked tragic.

According to what I can find in a cursory search of the internet, the story was based on a true story of a sledding accident that occurred in Lenox. It’s also about poor people, not the upper-class rich society Wharton was born into.[https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/frome/context/]

The accident must have made quite an impression on the author and just goes to show that inspiration can come from anywhere.

Writing Update

I’ve made good progress the last couple of days revising NIGHT MOVES: An Olivia Lively Mystery Book 2.

After several days struggling with the first chapter, I finalized it yesterday by combining elements of my original draft and the newer revised draft that gave me so much trouble. Apparently my muse liked the original, and I did start to feel I’d overworked the material. Do you know what I mean, writer friends?

Sometimes the first rush of inspiration proves to create the freshest, most emotionally-satisfying writing. Other times, the stuff needs a shot of adrenaline to get it breathing again. Or a good, swift kick in the patootie.

Anyway, at this point, I feel like a complete idiot and swing from thinking the writing is quite good to experiencing the worst sort of impostor syndrome. I can only hope that I’ve written something compelling and emotionally resonant. Well, and you know, fun.

Meanwhile, a few random lines popped into my head the other day that may turn into something new. A short story? A novelette? A piece longer than a flash fiction and shorter than a novel, anyway.

I have more ideas than I know what to do with. I have a whole stack of them scribbled on scraps of paper and shoved into a pretty box on my desk. I’ll never, in my lifetime, get to all of them. Being a slow writer is one of the greatest peeves of my life. It took me until age 55 to publish my first novel. How many will I be able to squeeze out before I die? Five? Maybe seven? It’s kind of depressing.

Sometimes I just want to quit and read books other people wrote and be content.

Honestly, the idea sounds just delicious.


  1. One of the English classes is reading “Ethan Frome.” I have never read that one. My book club read “Age of Innocence” a couple of years ago. Maybe we can visit MA if you’re home this summer!

    1. It’s a shorter Wharton read so that makes sense for English class. I hope we CAN visit this summer. A literary road trip would be awesome. Sarah Orne Jewett, Louisa May Alcott, and Edith Wharton?

Comments are closed.