When Frederick, an American expatriate traveling in Europe, meets the commonplace, newly rich Miller family from New York, he is charmed by the daughter, Daisy, and her "inscrutable combination of audacity and innocence". The Millers have no perception of the complex code that underlies behavior in European society, and Winterbourne is astonished at the girl's unworldliness and her mother's unconcern when Daisy accompanies him to the Castle of Chillon.
Some months later, he meets the family in Rome, where Daisy has aroused suspicion among the American colony by being seen constantly with a third-rate Italian. Ostracized by former friends who think her "intrigue" has gone too far, Daisy denies that she is engaged to Giovanelli. Publicly, Winterbourne defends her as simply uncultivated, but privately, he hesitates.
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"By maintaining a vigorous, satisfying pace, Susan O'Malley holds the listener's attention admirably. Her reading is intelligent and agreeable." (AudioFile)
This is Henry James, so you know it will be good. American expatriate Winterbourne meets Daisy Miller first in Switzerland and later when she is in Rome. There is a suspense in his attraction to her, her missteps in European society, and his ambiguous feelings towards her as he witnesses her defying the expectations of the American community in Rome. It's also a clear window into society at a different time and place in history. Perhaps, it is not the most memorable Henry James, but certainly this brief novel is an enjoyable, brief, and worthwhile read.
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