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The Buccaneers

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Edith Wharton's spellbinding final novel tells a story of love in the gilded age that crosses the boundaries of society--now an original series on AppleTV+ "Brave, lively, engaging...a fairy-tale... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

American Beauties Seek British Titles/Brits Seek American $$

Edith Wharton's last novel opens at the height of the racing season in Saratoga, NY, in 1876. Here America's 'nouveau riche' women gather; mothers and daughters who have been shunned by the elite, 'old money' society, scheme to marry their girls into the British aristocracy. Four beautiful young women become fast friends, as they dream and scheme together of potential suitors and titles in far off England. An English woman, unmarried and sophisticated, is hired to instruct the four friends in 'all that is necessary' to be successfully presented into British society. The girls' quest is most certainly not an impossible one. Many eligible, young aristocrats are short of funds necessary to keep up their vast estates. They are more than willing to marry American money, especially when wrapped in a beautiful, charming package, which will allow them to live in the style to which they are accustomed. The story is told through the eyes, and from the hearts, of these young debutantes - wide-eyed, innocent and full of fun and American energy. Their longed-for entry into English society, and their subsequent marriages, joys and disappointments, as well as their strong, never waning, friendship for each other, is chronicled here with fascinating detail. The world of their childish fantasies is not the world of reality, as romance fades and financial worries, marital infidelities and lost love take the place of past dreams. They each struggle with the conflict between individual and social fulfillment, repressed sexuality, and the manners and mores of Britain's 'old families.' They discover secrets that were kept from them during courtship - intrigues, and hidden, devastating character flaws in their matrimonial choices.Edith Wharton's descriptions of the wonderful American and British settings - the gorgeous countryside, great homes and extravagant furnishings, lavish clothing and courtship rites are remarkable. Each of the four young women have much in common, although their characters are quite different. Part of the glory of this novel is Wharton's development of her characters and their growth, as the young women mature with time and experience. The lesser characters are vividly drawn and complex. Her portrayal of the conflict between the American old society and the immense wealth of the newly rich robber barons and their socially ambitious wives, is an accurate and compelling glimpse of our past.I know that Edith Wharton died before completing this extraordinary novel. I could wish, along with thousands of others, I am sure, that she had been allowed to live long enough to complete this masterpiece. However, Marion Mainwaring's conclusion does not diminish my immense enjoyment of the book in the least.

Amazing Novel

The Buccaneers is my all-time-favorite novel. There's just something about the love story between Nan St. George and Guy Thwaite. I love how she follows her heart even when she's sure to be branded an outcast by her family and friends. Watch the miniseries based on this book as well! Carla Gugino is great as Nan St. George.

Engaging and enjoyable

I was skeptical about reading this book, since it was not complete by Edith Wharton. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Marion Mainwaring did a wonderful job of completing the novel. I was unable to tell where Edith's writing stopped and Marion's began. (The afterword describes exactly what Marion added.) -very fun book to read. I finished it in just a few days.

A story about power and money vs. Love

The Buccaneers is a richly worded novel by Wharton that follows a group of American girls to Europe in search of husbands. We are surprised by the men they marry and the rich European titles the young women inherit. Most unexpected is the marriage of the youngest of the women, Annabel St. George. Surprisingly she becomes a Duchess. Annabel marries the Duke for what she thinks is love. The reader learns that this love was really for the art, architecture and land the Duke and his family own. Annabel is enchanted by the aesthetics of England and allows it to cloud her judgement. We realize that love is not what the young women find. Annabel surprises the reader when in the end she listens to her heart and not to what the culture of the time expects of her. The young women realize that love is often separate from wealth and title. Each young woman deals with this predicament in a different way. The reader is entertained with marvelous character development and will find every character worth reading about.

Beautifully written, compelling characters.

Most of us know Edith Wharton either through reading Ethan Frome in high school, or having seen The Age of Innocence at the movie theater. While she is best know for these works they are dim in tone and portray the oppressive nature of society. In The Buccaneers, Wharton presents us with a group of young women who have been rejected by late 19th Century NY society, and journey to England in search of husbands. Each of the characters in fully drawn, and while Wharton maintains her description of society as oppressive, she counters this with the idealism and hope of her brave young women and societal rules that with time are changing. These women for the most part strive to attain happiness, and unlike Wharton's other principal characters, do acheive it. This is probably the only Wharton novel to end on a note of happiness and hope. Combined with the richly drawn backdrop of 19th century English & American society, it makes for an enchanting and provocative read.

The Buccaneers Mentions in Our Blog

The Buccaneers in What's New and Coming Soon in Book-to-Screen
What's New and Coming Soon in Book-to-Screen
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 07, 2023

It's always fun to see our favorite books on the screen. But sometimes, the best literature gets adapted before we've had the chance to read it. Here are thirteen new or upcoming book-to-screen adaptations. Order your copy of the source material so you can read before you watch.

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