256 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 in
January 8, 2014
Simon & Schuster
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1451640471
ISBN - 13: 9781451640472
About the Book
A debut author transforms Edith Wharton's "The House of Mirth" into a powerful modern story of one woman's struggle with independence, reputation, and love as she navigates difficult social terrain.
Read from the Book
Gilded Age • 1 • The Orchestra I’m a native Clevelander. I went east to school, as we do. And I married the loveliest man from Charleston, South Carolina, and convinced him to move back to Cleveland and start a family with me, as Clevelanders do. Nothing is more usual than Clevelanders of a certain ilk leaving, seeing the world, and then dragging a spouse back to settle down. My husband, Jim, calls himself in jest an import—used to vary the breeding stock. And variety is needed here. I’ve known most of my Cleveland friends since we were infants, since crawling around together on faded Oriental carpets and cartwheeling in the grass at country club picnics. My parents knew their parents, and my parents’ parents knew their grandparents, and so it goes back to the very beginnings when Cleveland was considered the West, and nice families had to stick together. So imports are needed, as few things are less exciting than kissing someone you’ve known since kindergarten. I tell you all this so that when I tell you that Eleanor Hart moved back to Cleveland without an import, you have a sense of the problem this presented. I’ve known Eleanor since those days when we played while our mothers gossiped over coffee. I call her mother Aunt Hart, though technically we are no relation. Her father died when she was a girl. It’s rumored that my great-grandmother once went on a date with Eleanor’s great-grandfather. They say he took her to a speakeasy for some prohibition gin, and great-grandmo
From the Publisher
Intelligent, witty, and poignant, Gilded Age presents a modern Edith Wharton heroine—dramatically beautiful, socially prominent, and just a bit unconventional—whose return to the hothouse of Cleveland society revives rivalries, raises eyebrows, and reveals the tender vulnerabilities of a woman struggling to reconcile her desire for independence and her need for love.
ELEANOR HART had made a brilliant marriage in New York, but it ended in a scandalous divorce and thirty days in Sierra Tucson rehab. Now she finds that, despite feminist lip service, she will still need a husband to be socially complete. A woman’s sexual reputation matters, and so does her family name. Ellie must navigate the treacherous social terrain where old money meets new: charitable benefits and tequila body shots, inherited diamonds and viper-bite lip piercings, country house weekends and sexting. She finds that her beauty is a powerful tool in this world, but it has its limitations, even liabilities. Through one misstep after another, Ellie mishandles her second act. Her options narrow, her future prospects contract, until she faces a desperate choice.
With a keen eye for the perfect detail and a heart big enough to embrace those she observes, Claire McMillan has written an assured and revelatory debut novel about class, gender, and the timeless conundrum of femininity.
About the Author
Claire McMillan grew up in Pasadena, California and now lives in Cleveland on her husband’s family’s farm with their three children. She practiced law until 2003 and then received her MFA in creative writing from Bennington College. This is her first novel.
“Claire McMillan's mesmerizing depiction of contemporary Rust Belt aristocracy—no less stratified and coded than Edith Wharton's New York—is also a tender look at friendship and the secret of happiness. The haunting beauty of this novel lingers after the final page.”—Irina Reyn, author of What Happened to Anna K.