Review: House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton

house of mirth edith wharton

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genre: Classic

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This classic was recommended by a fellow book blogger, and I was curious by it, although not entirely convinced. So I listened to it as an audiobook during my Kindle Unlimited month.

House of Mirth tells the story of Lily Bart, a beautiful girl at the age of 29, who worries about her need to marry soon. To maintain her luxurious lifestyle she must marry rich. She isn’t old money, and is well-aware of the limits of freedom and choice of her sex, so her suit isn’t as easy as she thought.

Lily Bart is such an interesting character. She is beautiful, charming and smart – but she loses focus easily and doesn’t pursue her plans as carefully as she should. She’s also proud and won’t settle for anything but what she deserves. She’s so witty and I loved her, although I agonized every time she made a mistake of judgment.

It seemed to me as if House of Mirth is the cynical answer to Pride and Prejudice – a beautiful and smart girl pressured into getting married. Elizabeth Bennet ended up marrying a very rich man and loved him deeply. Lily wants the same end, but of course she can’t count on serendipity, and intends on making it true herself. A hint of Madame Bouvary and lots of bad luck, lost chances, bitterness and class divide.

A study of women’s lack of independence and a very interesting story, tied together by great writing and tragedy. I highly recommend it!

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