Early on in this hefty tome, I found myself enjoying it immensely. The approach is more thematic than chronological, so I wouldn’t recommend this as a first introduction to the life of Edith Wharton – the RWB Lewis biography is still probably best for that. But this is still an engrossing new examination of Wharton as an artist, person and influencer. This book also has some of the best insights I’ve found so far into the complex relationship between Wharton, Henry James and his circle.Once I finished the book, rather wishing it did not have to end, I concluded that likely no one will ever have the complete picture of this complex woman and artist, in part because she destroyed some of her correspondence along the way. As well, her closest relationships were with two equally enigmatic individuals – Walter Berry and Morton Fullerton. As challenging as this book has been, though, I’m glad I stuck with it because I think it is the fullest, most precise and most respectful portrait of the incomparable Mrs. Wharton. It also provides concise yet incisive analyses of all of her major works, including The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth.