Naive young writer Vance Weston, convalescing by the Hudson River, meets Halo Spear and is fired by her passion for literature. They meet again, much later, and, with her rich, cultivated husband, Lewis Tarrant, she introduces him to New York's literary and artistic circles. But an impulsive marriage has brought Vance poverty and unwelcome responsibilities which inhibit his writing until one summer, Halo inspires him to write the novel which makes his name. The conflict between New York sophistication and Midwestern naivety leads to painful dilemmas, involving both couples in perplexity and loss.
One of Edith Wharton's unjustly neglected novels, Hudson River Bracketed features two strong protagonists - Vance Weston and Halo Spear. The former is an undereducated young man who arrives in New York with a keen desire to write. Halo Spear is a brilliant, accomplished young woman who introduces Vance to literature and they form a deep bond, which flourishes and endures despite the hardships of Vance's life, the disappointments of Halo's - and their respective marriages.