Isabel Archer is a young, naïve, wealthy lady that finds herself deceived. When Isabel inherits a small fortune, the vultures surround her and she unwittingly marries poorly. The marriage is for money, although she is too naïve to realize it until it is too late. The book details her travels with her maid with pomp and circumstance. The story starts in London and since Isabel is in no rush to return to Italy, they meander through Paris. During her travels, Isabel plots how her new-found wealth can free her from a marriage that was for her husband’s benefit instead of love. Isabel is bound by protocols of the time, yet yearns to break the chains that hold her.
The language is flowery and characters, similar to the time, never really say what they truly are thinking. Words on the pages are cluttered with excess so the reader must pay attention and decipher through the thick dust of hidden meanings. Readers that like period pieces will enjoy this book, even at its molasses-like pace. The book sheds light on how little rights women really had and how etiquette truly dictated people’s lives, even when happiness was at stake.
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