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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Review: Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton

The Custom of the Country - Edith Wharton, Linda Wagner-Martin

Poor Ralph.


Poor Paul.


Everyone who comes into contact with Undine Spragg ends up regretting it. She pulls them in with her beauty and appearance of innocence, but this girl knows what she is doing - if only she could figure out what she wants. Constantly striving for whatever it is she doesn't have, Undine has a sense of entitlement that knows no bounds. If her parents can't provide it, then she must need a husband. If he is incapable, well, she'll find a lover who can meet her bills. She seems to feel no remorse for those she tramples in her quest to get . . . . well, she's not completely sure where.


I know that this novel is Wharton's big hit, but I honestly enjoyed others more, especially Age of Innocence, House of Mirth, and Ethan Frome. This novel is conspicuously missing the big surprise ending that haunts the reader long after finishing her other works. While not my favorite, this is still a very worthwhile read as anything by Wharton is beautifully written and thought provoking.