Release date: 10 February 2014
In Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Age of Innocence, adapted by Coco Rousseau, the handsome, wealthy Newland Archer, a member of New York’s upper class, is caught in a web of a love triangle—not one he falls into, but one he creates. Is it the fair and innocent but superficial May Newland, his betrothed, who can bring Newland the happiness, love, and passion he craves?
Or will a desperate Newland Archer disregard the rigid, sterile views of high society and abandon May for another—May’s cousin, the beautiful and mysterious Countess Olenska, a married woman who brings scandal wherever she treads?
Let intrigue, passion, and lust be your guides as you experience the once hidden, but now openly sensual story of The Age of Innocence.
by Coco Rousseau and Edith Wharton
Coco Rousseau lives in Paris, France. When not partaking of nightlife and fashionable parties, she spends her days strolling through museums, drinking cappuccino in outdoor cafes, and writing romance novels in her penthouse apartment on Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
An excerpt from The Age of Innocence: The Wild and Wanton Edition, Volume 1:
On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York. The pleasure of Newland Archer’s company was expected. But he had not yet made his appearance for his attention had, as usual, been diverted elsewhere—or more accurately, he had been seduced. The lady, married within the ranks of New York Conservatives, would best remain unnamed at present for the sake of preserving subtlety among friends and others who might be predisposed to cast a disapproving frown. In Newland Archer’s mind, tonight would be his final rendezvous with the lady, for the greater of society that of New York, the élite not to be catechized in the slightest, had called him to account. It was time for Newland Archer to settle down.
Over two winters, the lady had captured his attention in conversation. In the beginning, he did not fully understand her intentions; her words were simply stimulating. But in time, she invited him to experience pleasures that he had not yet known as a young man. Naturally, he was intimidated by her frankness, although his guard eventually crumbled in the face of her sensual lure. He was tempted by her in a way he found irresistible, and thus, allowed her to guide their friendship beyond the intercourse of mind and spirit, until finally, she revealed to him the pleasures of the flesh.
Newland lingered before an open fire in his library, reading the summons he had received from his paramour earlier that evening. He drew on his cigar, and then dropped the perfumed Parisian paper, scripted with her elegant penmanship, into the fire. He watched the flames consume the white parchment. What had once been pristine no longer possessed even a remnant of purity.
An hour later, he arrived at the entrance to a magnificent home, which spared no amount of money in its finery. Before he could lift a hand to knock, a butler opened the door and greeted him.
“This way sir,” the butler said, and then showed Newland to an upstairs chamber. The butler opened the door to reveal a darkened boudoir, and stepped aside to let Newland enter the room. Though he might have hesitated had he allowed his rational mind to control his actions, this was not to be. His manly urges forced him to set reason aside. He stepped through the door, sauntered across the room, and stopped near the fireplace mantle.
“You have kept me waiting,” the woman said. She rose from the bed and walked to him. Her dark crimson hair flowed down the length of her back. She was dressed only in her dark emerald peignoir trimmed in gold braid, the fabric so thin that she might not have been wearing anything at all.
“We’ve been through this,” he said. “I wasn’t to come again.”
“I had to see you one last time.” She stood before her lover, her face turned to his, her expression sultry, her lips irresistible. Newland’s thoughts of resistance diminished, and the heat from the fire melted his restraint.