Tag Archives: 1920s

The Glimpses of the Moon

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wharton

As much trouble as I had picking a novel for this category after reading this book I don’t think I could have picked a better one. Edith Wharton is a powerhouse in American literature, the first woman ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She is deft in her craft and knows exactly where she wants to steer her reader. I read The House of Mirth in college and loved it, despite it having a seriously depressing ending. The American realists really took reality to a new level.

With The House of Mirth in mind, this novel really took me by surprise. It’s very different from The House of Mirth but with some of the same strains. The Glimpses of the Moon also has to do with the upper crust of New York life. Wharton condemns them in both novels for their frivolities and superficial existence. Except in The Glimpses of the Moon the end is not nearly as dire.

The Glimpses of the Moon centers on two characters, Susy and Nick. These two, both penniless, basically mooch off their wealthy friends. To continue this lifestyle they decide to get married and mooch of their friends for a year while they honeymoon in Europe. But like any good romantic comedy things go awry.

I have to say that I was really surprised with the formula of this novel. It read exactly like a romantic comedy. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, trials and tribulations ensure, boy gets girl in the end. It makes me wonder, who created this formula for romantic fiction? Perhaps Wharton herself. She was definitely innovative enough to do so.

All in all, this was a really cute novel. I enjoyed the character progression and the luxurious scenery of Europe. The novel is a bit dated and many of the couples arguments are rather insipid but it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the novel.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Upstairs, Downstairs

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Upstairs, Downstairs

From the first, I couldn’t get images of Downton Abbey out of my head while reading this book. In parts, it’s a mash-up of Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs about the lives of staff and their wealthy patrons and how they intersect and influence the other. The House at Riverton has all the scandal and drama of Downton Abbey and quite a bit of heart. Told from the perspective of house maid Grace, the story covers about a decade in the lives of the Hartford family. From the fancies and dreams of youth to the traumatizing events of WWI, the characters grow and change with the changing times. However, the passage of time in the book was a bit jumbled for my taste. I never was sure exactly when it was or how old the main characters were supposed to be at that point which caused some head scratching on my part.

Morton’s forumla is definitely starting her and, perhaps because she’s still finding her rhythm, not nearly as strong as in her later books. The big reveals in the book aren’t all that shocking because of Morton’s constant foreshadowing the reader pretty much knows what to expect. Perhaps most jarring is that effort it takes Morton to arrange her main character, Grace, into the other characters secret lives, even listening in at keyholes, to keep the story moving forward. In fact, Grace is probably the best part of the book. She’s the best fleshed out character of the bunch. I found myself far more interested in the little snippets we gleamed about her life than the lives of the Hartfords. Grace was the quietly subversive one and definitely the one who lived what the other characters only dreamed about.

Despite the little hiccups in the book, I enjoyed it immensely. I like Morton’s formula and she does it well. I especially loved the small scene in the book featuring Agatha Christie.

Rating: 4/5.

For those of you wondering what’s next in the battle here’s a hint. It’s going to be a memoir! Happy reading!!