(E-)Book Read! ETHAN FROME by Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (1911).

First sentence: “”I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.”

Last sentence: “Ethan might ha’ lived; and the way they are now, I don’t see’s there’s much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down in the graveyard; ‘cept that down there they’re all quiet, and the women have got to hold their tongues.”

This book is my first encounter with the author Edith Wharton, and I am sure I will read more books by her as I liked this a lot.

Ethan Frome is set in a fictional New England town named Starkfield, where an unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with dreams and desires. The narrator tells the story based on an account from observations at Frome’s house when he had to stay there during a winter storm. (you can find a summary of the plot here)

This is a story about the relations between people, negative and positive; a story that end with an ironic turn.  Throughout the book there is a tension, and you know from the start on that things are going to end badly.  But it is a beautiful story, about love, fate, poverty, lost opportunities, …

Other thoughts and/or reviews of this book you can find on Word by Word, Project Gutenberg Project.

This was the 1st book I read for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012 and also the 1st one for the 2012 EBook Challenge.



  1. Good start on your challenges! I also read some books for my challenges – yes, I’ve finished 3 already (one I started last year).

    • This time the challenges are not so difficult, Judith, because all the books are in my TBR-pile and/or on my e-reader. But when I will start buying new books….?
      You are doing great (as always)… 3 books already!

  2. This was my first Wharton as well, read this winter and I really enjoyed it, I understand its not so much like her society novels, but I am looking forward to reading the next one ‘Summer’ in this same category of novels. It was interesting to follow this up with Irene Nemirovsky’s ‘Fire in the Blood’ a similar theme but a different cultural perspective and response.

    • I’ve now just started my second Wharton novel, The House of Mirth, and I am loving it so far. I guess this is one of her society novels. It’s about a woman of 29 who is poor and is looking for a rich husband. I am already curious how the story will develop.

      • I just downloaded ‘Summer’ today which I will read first, it follows a similar theme to ‘Ethan Frome’ and someone who read my review is launching a play in London in May and asked if I would write something, so thought I better read the book first 🙂 but ‘House of Mirth’ will be next, I’ve already read a few chapters (of House of Mirth) as I was curious and it seemed quite compelling right from the start.

        Edith Wharton herself is an intriguing charcter, I understand she was a bit of a matchmaker for a number of wealthy American heiresses which England was in in need of, to save some of those large stately homes that were at risk of going to financial ruin (a little like Downton Abbey).

      • I am not sure Summer is on my TBR-pile (or should I say Mountain).. Great that you were asked to write something for a play. Congratulations!
        I think these histories of American heiresses in England are great… I loved Downton Abbey and I love reading books about this subject ( or seeing tv-series). Good luck with your adaptation of Summer and thanks for your comment

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