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Wharton’s final novel (completed by Marion Mainwaring after the author’s death in 1937) revolves around American and British society in the 1870s. Told in large part through the eyes of American debutantes, the story portrays innocent, wide-eyed, almost ethereal girls who turn into socially conscious women with financial worries–unrecognizable even to themselves. The beginning sections quickly catch the listener’s attention, with lush descriptions of rooms, clothes, and the heights of feminine beauty. We enter a world of intrigue: secrets, characters with past relationships that could prove fatal, and competition taken to its limits.
Adapted from Amazon.com review