Though her desire for a comfortable life means that she cannot marry for love without money, her resistance to the rules of the social elite endangers her many marriage proposals. As Lily spirals down into debt and dishonor, her story takes on the resonance of classic tragedy.
The House of Mirth is a lucid, disturbing analysis of the stifling limitations imposed upon women of author Edith Wharton's generation. Herself born into Old New York Society, Wharton watched as an entirely new set of people living by new codes of conduct entered the metropolitan scene.
In telling the story of Lily Bart, Wharton recasts the age-old themes of family, marriage, and money in ways that transform the traditional novel of manners into an arrestingly modern tale of one woman's struggle to succeed.
Very good book. One suggestion for future listeners: If I had it to do over, I might have gone with another narrator. The one for this version has a very girlish quality that I really liked, however her voice was also very gravelly and after awhile, that started to bother me. Just a small issue, but something to consider!
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What constraints women lived under in 1905! Edith Wharton didn't take the easy way out in this chronicle of Lily Barth's rise and fall in society, and the horrible way her 'friends' and the men in her life treated her. It puts all those beautiful mansions in Newport and along the Hudson in perspective.
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Would you try another book from Edith Wharton and/or Wanda McCaddon?
Maybe. I give most readers at least one "I didn't like it" story. After all, even my favorite authors have written at least one book I didn't love.
Has The House of Mirth turned you off from other books in this genre?
No. A single story cannot be held up as an example of an entire genre.
Which scene was your favorite?
I can't think of one.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
The books conclusion created the only reaction I had to this book. I do not wish to offer a spoiler, but I can say that the conclusion was not predictable. That scene made me feel sad.
Any additional comments?
This book has been on my "to read" list for 5-6 months. It is the story of Lily, a young woman in the United States in the late 19th century. She is poor, her parents passed away, and is a financial burden on her family. Her goal is to marry a man with some wealth to relieve her financial situation. There are several men that find their way into her story. There is Lawrence, he loves her, but is to poor to be an acceptable choice. Then there is Simon, a social climber that wants to trade his fortune for Lily's social status. In addition to the choice between love and money in this pair there is also Gus. Gus is a married man who finds himself in lust with Lily and has manipulated her into taking money from him so that he could later claim an obligation. Finally there is George, who appears to be a friend.
With the main characters laid before you I can say that none of these characters appealed to me. I could forge no connection with any of the characters. This would be why the highest rating I could give the book was "Okay."
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how many women today can relate to this story of loves lost to indecision and regret.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
The only good thing about this book it that it occupied my time driving to and from work for a few weeks. I kept thinking the story would finally get better and the heroine would at least go get a job or learn a trade, but she was a vapid, useless woman, caught in a world where women are disregarded except for ornamental purposes. I had a hard time identifying with her in this story.
What could Edith Wharton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
She could have had the heroine find something to do to make a living, or she could have had her marry her love interest instead of waiting to fall in love with a rich man. She was so shallow, but I suppose it was the era and how she was raised.
What about Wanda McCaddon’s performance did you like?
I liked her "continental" accent.
Do you think The House of Mirth needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
No...it was shallow and plotless.
Any additional comments?
I was disappointed in this first book I have read by Edith Wharton. Perhaps it will be my last!
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Where does The House of Mirth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This book was not easy listening but it was worth the extra effort.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Troubled heroine in a different era
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What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
It never happened. The download didn't come through despite constantly trying.
What was most disappointing about Edith Wharton’s story?
What didn’t you like about Wanda McCaddon’s performance?
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The House of Mirth?
Any additional comments?
My Audible app was continually syncing. Way past the time frame. Not a happy camper.
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