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Edith Wharton (1862-1937), the grande dame of American literature, was also a subtle and spirited critic of its society.

Twenty years earlier, Kate Clephane had exiled herself from husband, child and the rigidity of New York society because of her guilty elopement. Now, living quietly on the Rivera, she is overjoyed to be summoned home by her daughter, Anne. But back in the charmed circle, she finds post-war New York, though changed in many ways, still locked into petty and snobbish constrictions. This touching study of complex issues shows how Kate’s joy in being with Anne is soon threatened by the reappearance of the only man Kate had truly loved.