Nan and Virginia St. George have the great good luck to be born beautiful and wealthy - the two qualities prized above all others in 1870s New York - but the insurmountably bad luck to come from "new money." Shunned by the snobbish guardians of Manhattan society, the lively girls still attract many admirers, but no offers of marriage from eligible men - the grail pursued discreetly but with single-minded intensity by all young women of polite birth (and their mothers). Their spirited governess, Laura Testvalley, determines to launch these buccaneers in London society, whose impoverished aristocracy, groaning under the burdens of massive country estates, are only too willing to trade a title for a fortune.
But the earls and lords have failed to reckon with the strong wills of the buccaneers - especially exquisite Nan's. She dares to hope for more than position and wealth: a genuine, enduring love is what she craves, and she's willing to sacrifice everything she's attained for something true and real. Edith Wharton's novel pits tradition against vitality and change in a lushly romantic tale, observed with all her characteristic elegance and wit.
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Age of Innocence Allfriars American Annabel Tintagel asked beauty Buccaneers called Champions CHAPTER Ofc Colonel St George Conchita Cora Correggio darling daugh daughters dear door Dowager drawing-room Duke of Tintagel Duke's Edith Wharton England Ermie eyes face father felt girls glanced Glenloe's governess Guy Thwarte Guy's hair hand head heart Helmsley's Honourslove husband Idina invited Jinny knew Lady Brightlingsea Lady Churt Lady Dick Lady Glenloe Lady Richard laugh Laura Testvalley live Lizzy Elmsworth London Longlands looked Lord Brightlingsea Lord Richard Lord Seadown marriage married Miss Jacky Miss March Miss Testvalley mother murmured Nan St George Nan's never Parmore perhaps Runnymede seemed silence sister smile St George's stood suddenly suppose sure talk tell there's things thought told turned Ushant Virginia St George walked wife woman wondered York young ladies