Indian Summer

William Dean HOWELLS (1837 - 1920)

In his novel Indian Summer, William Dean Howells presents a mellow but realistic story that has the complete feel of that delightful time of the year, although the plot actually spans several seasons. The Indian summer aspect applies to a sophisticated gentleman, Theodore Colville, who has just entered his middle years as he returns to a scene, Florence, Italy, that played an important part in his early manhood. It was here twenty years earlier that he first fell in love, seemingly successfully until a sudden and harsh rejection. Now, after a once profitable career as a newspaper editor has ended, he is barely ensconced in the Italian city when he meets a lady from his past, a close friend of his lost love. Lina Bowen, now a widow with a young daughter, is an attractive and charming socialite among the American and English residents of Florence. Also living with her at this time as a temporary ward is a beautiful young girl just blossoming into womanhood, Imogene Graham.

Colville, although he still hides a shy nature, has become an exceedingly witty and entertaining conversationalist. He quickly becomes a favorite with young Effie Bowen and Imogene Graham. Miss Graham indicates a disdain for the shallow young men that she has met and is highly attracted to the urbane, intelligent Mr. Colville. Mrs. Bowen invites Colville to become a regular guest in her home, and for a time the little coterie is delightfully congenial, but then an emotional triangle begins to develop. Imogene seems to be too devoted to this older gentleman, and Colville does not discourage her. Mrs. Bowen, who apparently is captivated by his charm as well, begins to feel overshadowed by her lovely young ward. This is the core of the intriguing plot.

Howells’ characters are totally believable in their thoughts, their motivations, their words, and their actions. The dialogue is delightful, both in the lighter conversations and in the more passionate speeches. Aided by the social milieu of expatriates in a historic city of art and culture, the story moves at first slowly and pleasantly, but begins to build inexorably toward an emotional crisis. As the whole plot unwinds before us, we can eventually see that there is really no other way that the events could realistically move. This novel is a very engrossing and satisfying tale of people that we become truly interested in. ( Summary by Leonard Wilson )

Genre(s): Action & Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Chapter 1 Leonard Wilson
00:19:54
Play 02 Chapter 2 Leonard Wilson
00:19:27
Play 03 Chapter 3 Leonard Wilson
00:26:10
Play 04 Chapter 4 Leonard Wilson
00:22:45
Play 05 Chapter 5 Leonard Wilson
00:22:55
Play 06 Chapter 6 Leonard Wilson
00:26:26
Play 07 Chapter 7 Leonard Wilson
00:47:22
Play 08 Chapter 8 Leonard Wilson
00:41:43
Play 09 Chapter 9 Leonard Wilson
00:31:20
Play 10 Chapter 10 Leonard Wilson
00:20:04
Play 11 Chapter 11 Leonard Wilson
00:50:01
Play 12 Chapter 12 Leonard Wilson
00:15:14
Play 13 Chapter 13 Leonard Wilson
00:30:56
Play 14 Chapter 14 Leonard Wilson
00:24:16
Play 15 Chapter 15 Leonard Wilson
00:33:54
Play 16 Chapter 16 Leonard Wilson
00:40:31
Play 17 Chapter 17 Leonard Wilson
00:20:04
Play 18 Chapter 18 Leonard Wilson
00:28:57
Play 19 Chapter 19 Leonard Wilson
00:17:17
Play 20 Chapter 20 Leonard Wilson
00:38:14
Play 21 Chapter 21 Leonard Wilson
00:16:41
Play 22 Chapter 22 Leonard Wilson
00:22:04
Play 23 Chapter 23 Leonard Wilson
00:21:31
Play 24 Chapter 24 Leonard Wilson
00:04:33