Starting this month, every other month, we are going to be taking a journey through time and exploring "Books by the Decade". This will give us a chance to see how writing and storytelling has evolved over time, while also putting a new spin on this club's past preference for historical fiction. This month's book will be what some consider the first important novel by Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist, Edith Wharton.
First published in 1905, The House of Mirth shocked the New York society it so deftly chronicles, portraying the moral, social, and economic restraints on a woman who dared to claim the privileges of marriage without assuming the responsibilities. Lily Bart, beautiful, witty, and sophisticated, is accepted by "old money" and courted by the growing tribe of nouveaux riches. But as she nears 30, her foothold becomes precarious; a poor girl with expensive tastes, she needs a husband to preserve her social standing and to maintain her life in the luxury she has come to expect. While many have sought her, something—fastidiousness or integrity—prevents her from making a "suitable" match.