The story of "The Age of Innocence" is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s, during the so-called Gilded Age. Newland Archer has the perfect life. He is rich, young, good looking and member of the New York High Society. Newland is engaged to a lovely, delightful girl, May Welland and later they get married. When her cousin (Ellen Olenska), comes back from Europe, her presence threatens their happiness as Newland develops feelings for her... Wharton manages to dissect the hypocrisy of a society where customs and position take center stage.