Edith Wharton's last novel deals with a foursome of rich young American girls who go off to Europe in search of culture and husbands. They are introduced at the beginning at a resort in Saratoga where Nan St. George, the youngest of the girls, meets her new english governess, a sensitive woman who tries to make Nan, her sister and their friends see the importance of the older social custom of Europe as opposed to the more freewheeling society they are used to in America. When they do go abroad, the girls are very quickly caught up in the aristocratic glamor, fall in love, and in some cases marry quickly, but not always very happily. They soon discover that beneath the fine manners and social graces there are often hidden shabby vices.
Edith Wharton died before she finished this novel. It was completed based on her notes by Marion Mainwaring.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein