Who knew New Yorkers were ever know for their subtlety and reserve!? The gilded age must have ended any ties they had to British formality as the progressive era seemed to be the beginning of the stereo typical American forthrightness.
Our story takes place in 1870 New York, a city were appearances were all that mattered, people stuck to others of their "rank" and Europe was viewed as the playground of the scandalous and "eccentric". Enter Ellen Olenska, a New Yorker by origin who had spent the most part of her life in Europe with her aunt. Ellen's return to NY is met with outrage as the conservative New Yorkers are repulsed at the idea that she left her abusive husband, allegedly with the help of her lover. Newland Archer, betrothed to Ellen's cousin, May Welland, is just as outraged as everyone else but does his utmost best to protect Ellen in support of his Fiancé.
It should be frustrating reading about times where everything was so hush hush and people refused to even admit things to themselves but it wasn't, cause this shit still happens. Newland is torn between his upbringing and the new ideas of women emancipation that Ellen inspires in him. Newland, living in the 1870's, is probably way more open minded and forward thinking than most men I know today, how messed up is that? I liked this character and how he changed throughout the novel I also liked May, whom for all her innocent girl exterior, turned out to be a shrewd little fighter.
3.5 stars cause it dragged and was a bit too dry for my tastes.
The moral I take away from this story and form every stunted love novel is Don't Settle. No matter what. Even if all the odds are stacked against you and it feels like there is no choice, in matters of the heart especially, just don't settle! That shit will follow you forever.