I don't read children's books very often (although sometimes they're very appealing), but when I read a few months ago that a new biography of Edith Wharton had been published to good reviews, I was enchanted. If my nieces were younger, I would have bought this for them in a heartbeat, without even reading it. That's because to me, she is a fascinating (and yes, brave) woman as well as a great writer...but on the other hand, it was (it still is) a little hard to see her (and her circle of friends) as figures of interest for a 12 or 13 or 14-year-old girl. Edith comes across (as she always has for me) as an old soul.
I remember reading my way through the shelf of children's biographies in my elementary school library (when I was admittedly a little younger than the intended reader of this book), and I'm sure that whatever facts I learned about Florence Nightingale or Eleanor Roosevelt were uplifting, positive and highly moral. So I found it interesting that this book didn't shy away from touching on Edith's wedding night or her affair with Morton Fullerton. It also tells some of the stories that I've always loved, about Edith and her love of motor cars to Henry James' grumbling about buying a wheelbarrow with the proceeds of his last novel and having it painted with the money from the next one. It presents interesting information (I think) about old New York and about war work in Paris during the World War I, and it's filled with wonderful pictures. That's almost the best part of all.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .