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The Old Maid | [Edith Wharton]

The Old Maid

The story follows the life of Tina, a young woman caught between the mother who adopted her - the beautiful, upstanding Delia - and her true mother, her plain, unmarried ‘aunt’ Charlotte, who gave Tina up to provide her with a socially acceptable life. The three women live quietly together until Tina’s wedding day, when Delia’s and Charlotte’s hidden jealousies rush to the surface.
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Publisher's Summary

The story follows the life of Tina, a young woman caught between the mother who adopted her - the beautiful, upstanding Delia - and her true mother, her plain, unmarried ‘aunt’ Charlotte, who gave Tina up to provide her with a socially acceptable life.

The three women live quietly together until Tina’s wedding day, when Delia’s and Charlotte’s hidden jealousies rush to the surface. Originally serialized in The Red Book magazine in 1922, The Old Maid is an examination of class and society as only Edith Wharton could undertake.

©2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (76 )
5 star
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4.3 (67 )
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4.4 (66 )
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  •  
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 06-13-10
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 06-13-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Touching story, well read"

    Edith Wharton doesn't disappoint. This story is not long, but it is packed with insight, and beautifully written. Eleanor Bron does a fine job of interpreting the text.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 12-10-13
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 12-10-13 Member Since 2015

    Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The More I Read Edith Wharton..."

    As I mentioned recently somewhere, the more I read Edith Wharton the more I love her, which is saying a lot since I was instantly smitten when I started reading my first book by her, The House of Mirth. I’ve read a couple of her novels and some of her shorter works since, but this is the first short story I've read of hers so far, and I can see why she was considered a master of the form. This story is included in the Old New York collection and I'm counting is as an individual work since I got it as an audiobook and am shamelessly making up the numbers to reach 150 books this year. Set in the 1850s, and I should specify in Edith Wharton's 50s, that is to say, the Old New York of the top of the upper crust of distinguished family names, splendour, old money and stifling social conventions, it tells the story of two cousins, one pretty and married, the other rather plain and unwed and mother to an illegitimate little girl. Charlotte, who is about to be married into the same respectable family as her cousin Mrs. Deliah Ralston, confides to her cousin and begs for her help, as she fears that her marriage will separate her from her secret love child Tina forever. Deliah, whose first loyalty goes to her family by marriage, ensures that the wedding plans are cancelled to prevent the scandal from attaching itself to the too respectable Ralstons, though she promises to take care of Tina herself. Years go by, Deliah is widowed, the cousins live together, and Tina is now a very attractive girl of marriageable age. Charlotte is known to the girl as 'Aunt Charlotte the old maid', and she affectionately considers Deliah to be her mother, and of course the secret of her real origins are unknown to her. The two older women have found this to be the best compromise, but there are unexpressed jealousies and resentments seething under the surface, which suddenly erupt when a young man starts making too frequent visits to the house. When Wharton wrote this story, it was already relegated to historical fiction, describing mores that had been long out of fashion, but the core of the tale is timeless, telling of love and passion and the mysteries of motherly love and the bonds that unify women. I couldn't help but shed a sentimental tear or two at the end, and perhaps it is a sentimental story, but they should all be so well told.

    28 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    murray LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 12-19-14
    murray LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 12-19-14 Member Since 2007

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "sorry it ended so soon"
    If you could sum up The Old Maid in three words, what would they be?

    elegant clarity of language


    What did you like best about this story?

    the truthfulness of the characters and the way time is treated


    Which character – as performed by Eleanor Bron – was your favorite?

    not the old maid but the real hero of the story


    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Naples, NY, United States 08-14-10
    Beverly Naples, NY, United States 08-14-10 Member Since 2010
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    "A Superb Tale"

    I thoughly enjoyed this wonderful story read with such care by Eleanor Bron. Fans of Edith Wharton should enjoy this immensely.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Winter 03-26-15
    Winter 03-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    6
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    "Very sweet!"

    I got this book on a whim, not knowing the authors other work or what I was getting into.

    A simple sweet little story, and the end had my eyes watering... I'm sure it was just the smoke from cooking breakfast... ;)

    This was a nice brake from some of the harder titles I've been listening to.

    Light, quick and sweet.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ingela Sweden 03-26-15
    Ingela Sweden 03-26-15 Member Since 2014

    Audiobook addict by now. ~ I love romances: historicals, suspense and stories about men who loves men (M/M).

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    "Beautiful classic novella - wonderfully narrated"

    Oh my, this is a beautiful classic novella wonderfully narrated here. Highly recommended for 2:30 hrs GOOD listening. My tears dripped in the end. So touching.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine D. 03-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    "boring"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I fell asleep listening to it and re-listened with a wish for sleep, again! I wish I could return it!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deb 03-26-15
    deb 03-26-15
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    "Wow"
    Where does The Old Maid rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I bought this just for the price and hoped I wouldn't be too bored. It was a really really
    good story with the perfect narrarator. I'm going to check all her books out.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 03-25-15
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 03-25-15 Member Since 2014

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "JUST DIDN'T LIKEBIT"

    I know! Edith Wharton is supposed to be a literary superstar. But so is Shakespeare but not all of his works were that great. This is my second disappointing foray into this author's body of work and for a second time I didn't like it. That is not to say that Wharton doesn't write good books - just not for NE! Too much female angst from a long past era. Her books just dint Arabs up to the test of time. This story may have been interesting when first published but almost a century later......NOT SO GOOD. If you were a win stuck with the mores and customs if the time, controlled by your father or husband, this would be an escape for you. But I found it to be unsubstantive, light and fluffy. The writing is good but the subject matter uninteresting. Wharton fans may love it. However, even though my Audible Library contains a plethora of varied genres, this book is not a good fit for me. Just because a work is old doesn't make it a good book by contemporary standards.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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