Little did I suspect that a 19th century author held the capacity to tug at my heart! By the time I neared the end of Wharton’s tragic social commentary entitled The House of Mirth, I had used half a box of kleenexes sobbing over the fate of Lily Bart.
The heroine is a young woman who is accepted by New York society, but is poor by comparison. An orphan, Lily Bart makes it her goal in life to snag a wealthy man (in marriage, of course) to help her live in the style she aspires to. Poor Lily makes one mistake after another, and despite her good intentions, she must pay the price.
I couldn’t help but compare Wharton’s writing to Jane Austen. Both were adept at social commentary and creating characters and story lines that drew their readers in. Unlike Austen, however, Wharton has no qualms about forgoing the happy ending for a more shocking and tragic course.
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 1905