I discovered this Wharton novella as part of a reading group sponsored by The Mount. The Mount is Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, Massachusetts (though she spend most of her later years in France). I know Lenox quite well; it’s long been an area to which my wife and I travel. It is in western Berkshire County, just across the border from New York and is best known, perhaps, for Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I’ve set many stories there and in nearby Stockbridge; many of the wealthy New York City families in my Gilded Age books have houses in these communities. (I set an erotic novella, An International Exchange, there and in neighboring Pittsfield.)
The book itself is about a pair of Americans who are accustomed to living large, on the charity of rich friends, and embark on a plan to be sponges off them in various places in Europe. Things get complicated and connections are missed and you’ll either like these two or you will hate these two. That was the consensus of the folks on the Mount’s group. (I liked them.)
Set in the 1920s, for this cover I found something from the Petit Palais: Musée des Beaux-arts de la Ville de Paris. (Paintings in public museums in Paris are generally in the public domain. The Louvre is not.)
This image is from 1932 to 1935 so it’s a bit more recent than the story and is one of the few with more than one person I’ve used for my covers. The story is essentially that of this couple, which is why I used it. I know little of the artist–Henri Martin–or about the painting other than it being described as “a couple walking along the Luxembourg basin,” which is in the Luxembourg Gardens, a wonderful oasis in Paris.