The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
Fiction suggested by Barbara
from Julian Fellowes on Wikipedia “Wharton has created an anti-heroine [who] has no values except ambition, greed and desire, and yet through the miracle of Wharton’s writing, you are on her side. That’s what’s so extraordinary about the book …”
from Amazon – From New York to Europe, the apartments of the nouveau riche to ancient French estates, Edith Wharton tells the story of Undine, a girl from a Midwestern town with unquenchable social aspirations. Though narcissistic, pampered, and incredibly selfish, she is a beguiling heroine whose marital initiation into New York high society from its trade-wealthy fringes is only the beginning of her relentless ambitions. Wharton weaves an elaborate plot that renders a detailed depiction of upper class social behavior in the early twentieth century. By utilizing a character with inexorable greed in a novel of manners, she demonstrates some of the customs of a modern age and posits a surprising explanation for divorce and the social role of women, which still resonates for the modern reader today.