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The Solitary Summer is a partially autobiographical novel first published in 1899. It’s an account of a summer spent in the country, away from the social world in which a woman of Elizabeth Von Arnim’s social stance was supposed to move. It’s also a companion to Von Arnim’s more famous Elizabeth and Her German Garden, which I’ve yet to read, but now absolutely must. Despite the title, the narrator’s summer isn’t completely solitary. She’s accompanied by her somewhat condescending husband, to whom she refers ironically as The Man of Wrath, and by her three small daughters. But despite their presence, the book is still about a summer of quiet reflection and nature observation.