If you love Classic Jane Austen novels, this book is 10x better. Hefty claim, I know.
Edith Wharton is progressive & ballsy. She sets up her characters perfectly to make a point about societal standards, gender roles, & defiance or compliance with those roles. A great testament of the 1920s: a novel of the era.
Newland Archer, the novel’s protagonist, is representative of a society that wants, yet fears, change. He basically says, “Screw what society tells me to do!” But than does exactly what society tells him to do. Like, what?
If you love a badass chick that does what she wants, when she wants & doesn’t judge other women for their choice to adhere to society’s standards, Countess Olsenska will be your heroin. She is my definition of a true Feminist.
Edith Wharton nailed this book. It had Jane Austen vibes, BUT:
A. It didn’t take me 200 hours to read.
B. It was clever & smart, without the lengthiness of an Austen novel.
Highly recommend to someone who loves the idea of reading a Classic Austen novel, without the 50-100 page snooze fest in-between the good parts.