Like most Wharton novels, The House of Mirth examines the conflict between rigid social expectation and personal desire. Lily Bart is adept at playing society's games, which expect her to achieve an advantageous marriage. Yet, torn between her desire for luxurious living and a relationship based on mutual respect and love, she manages to sabotage all her possible chances for a wealthy marriage.
Actress Eleanor Bron played Aunt Julia in the 2000 film adaptation of this Edith Wharton classic, which she brings to life in an enjoyable audio production. At the start, Bron's tones are cool and measured in keeping with heroine Lily Bart's calculated manipulations in arranging her marriage to a fantastically rich if fantastically dull bachelor. But Lily's efforts meet with little success, and Bron ably captures the desperate heroine as her suitor rejects her, her debts mount, and her options narrow. As Lily finds herself alone in what used to seem like a glittering world, Bron's rendition of the character's exhausted disappointment is pitch-perfect. This is a compelling audiobook with a memorable performance from Bron.