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Publisher's Summary

In 1905 New York City, Lily Bart is a young, witty and beautiful socialite. Through a series of unfortunate events, she learns of the bitter consequences for a single woman without wealth, living in an uncaring society.

Public Domain (P)2013 Trout Lake Media

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • VK
  • Des Moines, IA
  • 01-19-15

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

I thought this book was okay, well worth the 95 cents that I paid. I am not sure why so many other reviewers disliked the narrator. This is the second book that I've listened to which she has narrated and I found her perfectly adequate.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 08-09-15

Excellent, but Quite Dated

This is an excellently written novel about a young woman falling from the height of 1900’s New York society. It is a well delivered story but it is difficult now days to feel too sorry for the character actually having to learn a skill and get a job (due to her own silliness) instead of living off of inherited wealth or marriage into such wealth. This is an unflattering expose of 1900 New York, which was likely controversial at the time, but now just seems quaint.

This, like An American Tragedy, is well written in a naturalistic style with a likable yet tragically flawed protagonist, but I much preferred An American Tragedy as it was less a story about manners and more about motivations.

The narration was excellent and added much to my enjoyment of this novel.

Although the writing was excellent and the story well written, I can’t think of anyone I would highly recommend this book to.

9 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • HOOVER, AL, United States
  • 03-04-14

The Novel of Manners = Blech!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Well-spent? Probably not. I have come to appreciate Edith Wharton but I am not a fan of the Novels of Manners.

Would you be willing to try another book from Edith Wharton? Why or why not?

Yes. I very much liked Ethan Frome and, despite it being a Novel of Manners, the Age of Innocence. Wharton knows what she's doing and I would not give up on her based on my ho-hum take on House of Mirth.

What does Emma Messenger bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I don't mean this maliciously, but not much. Messenger did a great job with her performance and I liked her portrayals very much. But the narrator, in my opinion, has little ability to improve the book experience but has a lot of power to diminish it. Ms. Messenger delivers a wholly adequate and enjoyable experience.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

None at this time.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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amazing storytelling and narration

Wharton is a wonderful storyteller. House of Mirth is full of beautifully written characters and a great understanding of human nature and social dynamics. Narrator Emma Messenger is one of the best I've heard.

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know the book is a classic but I'd change the end.

Narrator is wonderful , book is beautiful. I just want a different ending! Worth it though

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Wonderfull reading of a wonderful but tragic story

Where does The House of Mirth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Emma Messenger reads very true to the book, in a delightful voice that does not add to characters what isn't already there on the page

What was one of the most memorable moments of The House of Mirth?

The story is very heart-gripping, one of those where you loathe as well as love the main person, Lily Barth, a beautiful but too-proud lady in pre-WW1 New York society era.

Have you listened to any of Emma Messenger’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

House Of Mirth is so much a better book than Age Of Innocence. It's a mysteriously beautiful story while tragic!

Any additional comments?

Emma Messenger should read more Edith Wharton books.

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Brilliant tragic love story

Superb narration of a beautifully written novel. By today's standards the heroine's indecision can sometimes be exasperating, but that's more a reflection on the elite society of early 20e America than on her. Many parallels to Anna Karenina.

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Glad I Read

I enjoyed reading this book. It took me to a place in time I'm glad I didn't live in. Being a woman I'm not sure I would have done anything different.

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Different

It took some time to get interested, but it was worth the wait in the end.

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  • Marylyn
  • Damascus, MD, United States
  • 03-24-15

Must be considered with a grain of salt

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Just about everything. But it's worth knowing what that genre and period are about. I'm just glad I don't live in that society.

What about Emma Messenger’s performance did you like?

She did a good job.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No - too boring.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Clavs
  • 06-22-17

Ahead of its Time

This novel of social commentary, highlights the unjust treatment of single women in New York high Society at the end of the nineteenth century. I imagine it was controversial when published but time has tamed its criticism.

Beautiful Lily Bart has many family connections and an aristocratic upbringing but is forced to depend on the small allowance of an elderly aunt. Lily's extravagant friends and life style mean she soon finds herself unable to keep up financially and so she must consider marrying for money to maintain the lifestyle she is accustom to. However, she faces the all too familiar issue of marrying for love over money. Could she be happy in poverty with the man she loves? This novel explores the options facing many young women from this period.

I found the narrator of this book quite annoying. Very breathy at times and putting on many hammed up voices. I would rather have read it myself and I think I would have connected with the characters more had they not been so frustratingly portrayed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 03-02-14

Not my style

It's a well written book, well presented, but not my style. Despite the fact it kept making me think of the vapidity of Paris Hilton and countless Kardashians, I still made it half way through. That is quite some endorsement.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-13-17

Emotional and thought provoking

The performance is adequately pleasant for listening and the story is one which infuses romance and social commentary in a fabulous way.

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  • Jan
  • 04-14-16

frustrating read/listening.

struggled as main character didn't seem to think like a person just like a scripted character

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  • zomodo
  • 03-26-14

Worth a read

If you could sum up The House of Mirth in three words, what would they be?

Frustrating female character

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It annoyed me because the main character was just so principled to her own detriment. I didn't have much sympathy for her in the end but that doesn't take away from the quality of the writing, it only shows how good it was to elicit such strong feelings from me!

Any additional comments?

Would like to watch the TV adaption

1 of 2 people found this review helpful