The best part of this book was the story of a smart and determined young woman who travels overseas to rescue her sister from the husband who broke her spirit with deliberate, methodical cruelty. The best (and most surprising) writing in this book is the examination of his cruelty and exposure of the methods of psychological warfare that are used to subjugate one’s partner. It was surprising, because this novel was written in the first decade of the 20th century, long before terms such as “gaslighting” were in common use. I believe the author was exorcising some demons from her own life, as it was written during her turbulent second marriage, to a man who reportedly was very controlling and attempted to wrest control of her own independent wealth.
I enjoyed the writing. It is endlessly quotable.
But this novel is not perfect. It has all the challenges of reading 100+ year old literature, the narrative wanders all over the place, it contains some very odd themes with its love-fest of capitalism and comparisons of American industrialist energy to waning English aristocracy, and the last quarter of the story devolves into standard bullshit Romance tropes.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much.
I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly game, for square 15: “Additional Task: Read a book where someone gets married, with jewelry on the cover, or where any character is a millionaire/billionaire!” The story, on its surface, is of multimillionaire American heiresses of a business empire who marry into impoverished English aristocracy.
4/21/17 - page 53 10.35% "It just occurred to me that the author started work on this book during her very short and apparently turbulent second marriage, to a man who reportedly was very controlling and attempted to take her money, which she had earned with her writing."