Edith Wharton's novel The House of Mirth follows the social ups and downs of Lily Bart, who is a very attractive woman about to turn 30. At the beginning of the book, she is slated to marry Percy Gryce, seeing as he fits the exact description of the type of bachelor that she is looking for: wealthy and predictable. Yet through a series of missteps, Lily loses her chance with Percy and must therefore spend some time trying to regain her social standing so that she can ultimately find the rich bachelor that she desires. But Lily's luck continues to decline when she befriends the wrong people, especially a man whose devious wife tries to foil her fledgling affair with another young man. To make matters worse, the inheritance money Lily was waiting on from an aunt is not as sizeable as she had expected. The second half of the book details more of Lily's misfortunes and the sticky situations that she finds herself in. Fortunately she remains honest to herself throughout the book, even taking a job as a hat maker for a little extra money. At the end, however, Lily finally becomes the object of a young man's affection; though he is not the man she initially set her sights on, he is absolutely the right man for her.
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