Book Review: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Preview…This Week, let’s dive into the world of “The House of Mirth” as envisioned by Edith Wharton. Meet Lily Bart; Lily has all of the makings of a turn-of-the-century New York socialite—well, almost. Orphaned as a young adult and living off of the support provided by her frugal aunt, Lily has everything she needs, except for the main thing she desires—money. Our heroine’s primary ambitions in life are to (a) have a corpulent bank balance and (b) take part in a marriage that is conducive to this goal.
Lily’s true love is a non-wealthy attorney, Lawrence Selden. Throughout the course of the book, she can never really admit her desire for Selden, though it is abundantly clear to the reader. Propositioned by one good prospect after the next, Lily turns down each subsequent proposal holding out for something better. Before Lily can achieve her pinnacle matrimonial arrangement, she is disgraced by and banished from society through means of a false rumor.
Sinking under the heavy weight of a fiscal debt that shames her own moral code, Lily must try to regain her footing on the social ladder. Once fallen, can this angel pick herself up and resume flight?
You may like this book if…you enjoy a novel rife with poignant asides, you are a cynic and a critic of society, you feel animosity towards social cliques, you understand the importance of marrying for money, you are a feminist, you are a social climber, you enjoy a good novel of manners, you like works by the Bronte sisters or by Jane Austen or you love the novel “Vanity Fair”
You may not like this book if… you, like me, might find yourself daydreaming when the action flags, you do not like seeing the noveau-riche denigrated, you believe true love triumphs, you have been personally thwarted via a dead relative’s will, you abuse sleeping aids (trust me)