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.
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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.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
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.
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elegant clarity of language
the truthfulness of the characters and the way time is treated
not the old maid but the real hero of the story
I thoughly enjoyed this wonderful story read with such care by Eleanor Bron. Fans of Edith Wharton should enjoy this immensely.
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.
Audiobook addict by now. ~ I love romances: historicals, suspense and stories about men who loves men (M/M).
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.
I fell asleep listening to it and re-listened with a wish for sleep, again! I wish I could return it!
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.
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!!!
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.
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