Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others.
Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena's vivacious cousin enters their household as a hired girl, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent.
Set in the American South, this is the story of a group of people who appear to have little in common except they are all hopelessly lonely. A young girl, a drunken socialist and a black doctor are drawn to a gentle, sympathetic deaf mute, John Singer, whose presence changes their lives.
In Jackson, Mississippi, there are lines that are not crossed. Black maids raise the white children, but no one trusts them not to steal the silver. Aibileen is a black maid, raising her seventeenth white child, but with a bitter heart after the death of her son. Minny is the sassiest woman in Mississippi; she can cook like nobody's business, but she can't keep her lip buttoned. And Skeeter is a white woman with a degree but no ring on her finger. Home from college, Skeeter discovers her beloved maid Constantine has disappeared without a trace. And as different as they may be, these three women will come together for a clandestine project that will put all of them at risk.
But The Help is not just about race, it's about how women, whether mothers or daughters, the help or the boss, relate to each other. It's about the dramas of domestic life: pride, competition on the cooking and home front complex emotions about the raising of young children, and that horrible feeling that those who look after your children may understand them, deal with them and love them, even, better than you . . .
Tracing the lives of a group of friends, this novel follows their development from childhood to youth and middle age. Separately and together, they query the relationship of past to present, and the meaning of life itself. The author also wrote "The Voyage Out" and "Mrs Dalloway".
The Penguin English Library Edition of The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton 'It was characteristic of her that she always roused speculation, that her simplest acts seemed the result of far-reaching intentions' A searing, shocking tale of women as consumer items in a man's world, The House of Mirth sees Lily Bart, beautiful and charming, living among the wealthy families of New York but reluctant to finally commit herself to a husband. In her search for freedom and the happiness she feels she deserves, Lily is ultimately ruined by scandal. Edith Wharton's shattering novel created controversy on its publication in 1905 with its scathing portrayal of the world's wealthy and the prison that marriage can become. The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.