Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was an American novelist and short story writer. Her works show the lives of people of the late nineteenth century, the times of decline in American history. She was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921. Wharton also was familiar with many famous people of the time, including President Theodore Roosevelt. "The Reef is a novel that takes place in Paris and rural France and features mostly American characters. It tells the story of a romance between a widow Anna Leath and her former lover, an American diplomat George Darrow. When Darrow is almost ready to join Anna in France, he receives a telegram ordering him to wait because of an "unexpected obstacle. " Offended and disappointed, he soon meets a young actor Sophy Viner and enters into a romantic affair.