Newland Archer is a young lawyer, a member of New York’s high society, and engaged to be married to May Welland. Countess Ellen Olenska is May’s cousin, and wants a divorce from the Polish nobleman she married. Intelligent and beautiful, she comes back to New York where she tries to fit into the high society life she had before her marriage. Her family and former friends, however, are shocked by the idea of divorce within their social circle, and she finds herself snubbed by her own class. Ellen and Newland fall in love and must choose between passion and conventions.
Public Domain (P)2011 Recorded Books
It's always too soon to write a fair review of a great book when they always keep you thinking. 4 & 5 stars are worth repeat listenings.
This book made me thankful for the freedom American women live in today. It impresses the attractiveness of being individual and thinking for oneself.
I loved the last chapter for it's telling of how the future played out.
A picture of stuffy high class New York society through Edith Wharton eyes.
Wharton won the Pulitzer prize for representing a "wholesome" atmosphere of American Life, over Sinclair Lewis "Main Street" a controversy came from the decision.
While I prefer The House of Mirth, this is a great book with wonderful set pieces and a shrewd eye for satirizing New York society in the late 1800's. The central love story between Archer and Madame Olenska feels at times more like a concept to contrast the values of "Europe" and "old New York" than a passionate relationship, but Wharton's eye for convincing detail never falters. Barbara Caruso's voice has great depth and compassion. Her reading emphasizes some of the more comedic elements of the story, and at times I felt she was commenting on the material. But that's a matter of taste. I heard her read other books, and she's masterful.
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