- Summer is a novel by Edith Wharton published in 1917 by Charles Scribner's Sons. The story is one of only two novels by Wharton to be set in New England; Wharton was best known for her portrayals of upper class New York society. The novel details the sexual awakening of its protagonist, Charity Royall, and her cruel treatment by the father of her child, and shares many plot similarities with Wharton's better known novel, Ethan Frome. Only moderately well-received when originally published, Summer has had a resurgence in critical popularity since the 1960s. Eighteen-year-old Charity Royall is bored in the small town of North Dormer. She is a librarian and ward of North Dormer’s premier citizen, Lawyer Royall. While working at the library, Charity meets visiting architect Lucius Harney. On a trip to Nettleton, Harney kisses Charity for the first time, and buys her a present, a brooch. Afterwards they run into a drunken Mr. Royall, accompanied by prostitutes. Mr. Royall verbally abuses Charity, and Charity becomes overwhelmed with shame. Charity and Harney begin a sexual relationship after the trip to Nettleton. During North Dormer’s Old Home Week, Charity sees Harney with Annabel Balch, a society girl she envies. After the dance, Charity as usual goes to the small house where she meets up with Harney. Mr. Royall suddenly shows up and, when Harney arrives, Mr. Royall asks him if that is where he intends to live after he marries Charity. After an angry Mr. Royall leaves, Harney promises Charity that he is going to marry her, but that he has to go away for awhile first. After Harney has left, Charity’s friend Ally lets slip that she saw Harney leave town with Annabel Balch. Charity writes a letter to Harney telling him to do the right thing and marry Annabel. Charity has been feeling unwell, so she goes to Dr. Merkle, who confirms her suspicion that she is pregnant. Charity makes her way to the mountain, intending to look for her mother. On the way she sees the minister, Mr. Miles, and her friend Liff Hyatt. They are on their way up the mountains because Charity’s mother is dying. When they arrive, Charity’s mother has already died, and they bury her. Charity stays on the mountain overnight, where she sees the abject poverty and resolves not to raise her child there. She decides that she is going to be a prostitute, and with the money she earns she will hire someone to take care of her child. En route, she meets Mr. Royall, who has come to pick her up. Mr. Royall offers to marry her. After Charity marries Mr. Royall in Nettleton, she realizes that he knows she is pregnant, and that is why he married her. He gives her forty dollars to buy clothes, and she goes to Dr. Merkle to get her brooch back. Dr. Merkle has heard of her marriage to Mr. Royall, and refuses to return the brooch for less than forty dollars. Rather than paying the money, Charity quickly grabs the brooch and rushes from the office. She returns to Lawyer Royall's and writes to Harney, telling him that she has married Mr. Royall and has returned to North Dormer.