Madame de Treymes by Edith Wharton

51IdhevEV2L__SL500_AA300_I have only ever read two novellas: The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer (an Eclipse novella) and Madame de Treymes by Edith Wharton. The latter is also the first novel I’ve read by Edith Wharton.  I downloaded Madame de Treymes and Age of Innocence (probably her most successful work) on my kindle, as I have heard a lot of people mentioning how much they like Edith Wharton’s work.

That being said, I read this one first as it was shorter, also I read it at work during lunch times and even in between.  I don’t bring books to work, but I do bring my kindle.  Edith’s writing style is dated, yet it is good. I loved how she describes Saint-Germain (Paris) and New York in the olden days.

The story is about a man, called John Durham who travels to Paris and meet again with his previous girlfriend Fanny Frisbee, now Madame de Malrive, married to a Marquis. She and Monsieur de Malrive are separated and she and John falls in love. He proposes to her, yet she declines him. Reason? She has a son. In the case of her getting a divorce, the father will get custody of the child, especially if the mother initiated it. The son was raised a catholic and back in the day divorce was forbidden to Catholics.  John seeks the help of Madame de Treymes, the Marquis’ sister to help him persuade the family to grant Fanny the divorce. But all does not go so well in the end. John has to choose: Either his morals, or loose the woman he loves….

This book was short and in the beginning, quite a confusing read. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t think it was a waste of time either. It was quite interesting to know how things were back in the day, but I wouldn’t recommend this book as a ‘must-read’. However, I can’t wait to read Age of Innocence

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  • Good to know it’s one I might want to skip, but I can pick it up if I feel the urge!

  • I’m finding that I enjoy novellas of classics more and more 🙂 Probably because I still find the classics daunting!

    • Mel

      Same here, Allison! Yesterday when I took a break from studying, I started reading another of her novellas. Bunner Sisters and I finished it. Really starting to like her work.

  • Les

    I might also give this one a sip even though. It is sad to think that how people’s lives, back in the days, gets determine by their culture.

    • Mel

      It really is! It reminds me of a prescribed book in high school – about a catholic woman marrying a man of another faith. It was infuriating and sad. Book was called “Across the Barricades”. I’m sure I have it still – I never handed it back {naughty me!}

  • I’ve seen “The Age of Innocence” film twice but haven’t read the book. The only Wharton novel I have read is “Ethan Frome,” and I highly recommend it. It’s an awesome piece of writing. Her stories (at least the two that I am acquainted with) end with an ironic twist.

    I would love to know what you think of the “Age of Innocence” after you read it. Enjoyed your post. I greatly admire Edith Wharton, a brilliant writer. I have heard that her unhappy marriage inspired some (or all?) of her works.

    • Mel

      Thanks, Sheryl. I can’t wait to read The Age of Innocence and I will definitely write a review on it. I do have Ethan Frome on my kindle (I downloaded quite a few of Edith’s works).

      Thanks for stopping by xx

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  • Hello,

    There’s another review here:
    http://beautyisasleepingcat.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/edith-wharton-madame-de-treymes-1907-novella-with-parisian-setting/

    I loved The Age of Innocence but I loved The Custom of the Country even more.

    • Mel

      Hi Emma, thanks for the link I will check out that review. Age of Innocence is high on my list of to read novels so hopefully I will get to it soon.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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  • Madame de Treyme is a fairly quick read and is fairly predictable too. I liked Wharton’s writing style, but this is certainly not Age of Innocence. As you rightly said, it’s a decent effort, but there is no point going out of your way to find it.

    • I haven’t read Age of Innocence yet, but I will do so soon. This one is my least favourite of the Wharton’s I’ve read.

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