AAR
Click here for full forums index
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
 
Books about Luxury
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Let's Talk Romance Novels Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:48 am    Post subject: Books about Luxury Reply with quote

+IHS+

I've been asked to write an article about good books that feature luxury, opulence and elegance.

For the past two days, I've realised that most classics are about poor or struggling people--and that those with rich people aren't very sympathetic to wealth. (Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, anyone?) Then there are Meg being initially charmed and ultimately disillusioned by "Vanity Fair" in Little Women; Jane asking Mr. Rochester not to dress her in silks and satins in Jane Eyre; and even Caddie Woodlawn in the eponymous YA classic making fun of a cousin from New York who loves the latest fashions.

However, the article has to be positive about wealth and luxury--without being decadent.

Does anyone have any suggestions? So far, the only thing I can think of is Auntie Mame! Laughing

It's all right if the book isn't too positive (like Little Women), but gives us a window to the opulence of the times.
_________________
"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
HeatherB



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can think of off the top of my head is The Great Gatsby, but that's not too positive either. Does it need to be a classic?
Heather B
_________________
(edit) http://www.shelfari.com/o1518288432
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, it doesn't, Heather. I'm just trying to stay away from Danielle Steele/Barbara Taylor Bradford territory, if you know what I mean. Wink
_________________
"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JJ



Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about the J.D. Robb books? Roarke's lifestyle is about as opulent and luxurious as you can get.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Vellorine



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since The Great Gatsby is mentioned, I'd like to ask a question. Are you looking for the books that feature positive characters raised in a wealth family (and therefore, being able to pursue different life questions, appreciating arts, without being pressed into financial troubles) OR the books that promote self-made men/individualism/capitalism?

For the first category I have in mind: Daniel Deronda (George Elliot), any of E. M. Forster books, The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton) and A Life of Privilege (a memoir by Gardner Botsford).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any of Jane Austen. Mr. Darcy's wealth is hardly a negative.
Much of Trollope wealth properly used is an opportunity (and a responsibility).

Actually, I'm having trouble thinking of anything before the late 19th century that considered wealth a problem in itself. Now giving it away caused problems for Lear ...
_________________
JaneO
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
HeatherB



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would look at some of Henry James works. It's been years, but maybe one called The Bostonians - my memory could be very faulty here.
Heather B
_________________
(edit) http://www.shelfari.com/o1518288432
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kayne



Joined: 31 Mar 2007
Posts: 902

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:04 am    Post subject: wealthy Reply with quote

Are you looking for contemporary or historical?

Contemporary: I haven't read The Villa by Nora Roberts in a long time but I remember it being about 2 wealthy wine families and it got good reviews. Judith McNaught has some and one in particular I am thinking of that I liked was Remember When, where Diana is modeling expensive jewelry at a social event.

Historical: I think a house party scene, like in Slightly Dangerous or a Julia Quinn croquet game, an elaborate ball scene (maybe from a Foley book, like Devil Takes a Bride. Lisa Kleypas has some descriptive home scenes in Logan's story, Because Your Mine or an opera box scene where they describe everyone's dress.

I would be interested to read your article when you're done, whatever books you decide to discuss. Good Luck.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scandal Of The Season by Sophie Gee. "London 1711, As the rich, young offspring of the city's most fashionable families fill their days with masquerade balls and clandestine courtships, Arabella Fermor and Tobert, Lord Petre, lead the pursuit of pleasure. " (taken from the inside cover)
Loved this book!!! Read it last year. It has been compare to Dangerous Liaisons by an author I can't remember right now...Pierre...something-or-other.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vellorine wrote:
Since The Great Gatsby is mentioned, I'd like to ask a question. Are you looking for the books that feature positive characters raised in a wealth family (and therefore, being able to pursue different life questions, appreciating arts, without being pressed into financial troubles) OR the books that promote self-made men/individualism/capitalism?


Good question! The article will focus on descriptions of luxury. I'm going to be pretty neutral about the attitudes of the characters or the points the novels make about wealth.

I wouldn't mind a book about a depraved jewel thief, as long as there were good or iconic descriptions of jewelry. Wink

By the way, thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I've already read more of the recommended books and authors than I thought! At least this makes my job easier.

Kayne wrote:
I would be interested to read your article when you're done, whatever books you decide to discuss. Good Luck.


Thanks, Kayne. I think that the magazine will have a downloadable version, so I can PM you the link to that.
_________________
"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1044
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be interested as well. I've always been fascinated by the wretched excess of the robber barons of the early 20th century and the Vanderbilts, Flaglers, Rockefellers and their ilk. An absolutely riveting nonfiction book Little Gloria Happy at Last chronicles the custody battle for little Gloria Vanderbilt and offers a wealth of detail about the lifestyle of the very, very rich of the time. Scott and Zelda lived the life as well and any biography of those two is mighty interesting reading. I've read several good ones.
_________________
Diana
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Manda



Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seem to remember the descriptions of the O'Hara's wealth before the war in Gone With the Wind as being pretty opulent.

Also the Jeeves and Wooster books by P.G. Wodehouse are pretty luxurious. Bertie seems to live in a perpetual rich man about town bubble. Champagne, parties, valets...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1667

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:03 pm    Post subject: Luxury Reply with quote

Two suggestions:

I haven't read it, but there's a YA recent book called Luxe, which certainly sounds as if it's what you're looking for. Plus, it has a beautiful cover. Maybe someone here can tell you if it's any good or not.

You certainly should include Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The scene where Daisy goes through Gatsby's shirts is one of the most sensuous I can remember reading ever. The shirts represent such luxury and longing for the unattainable that just thinking about them makes me weak in the knees -- who would have thought such a simple item as shirts could represent so much? Fitzgerald pulls it off, however.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1481
Location: America

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Age of Innocence & The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Portrait of A Lady, The Golden Bowl and The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde ***
Marcel Proust's la recherche du temps perdu
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Vellorine



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Henry James' Americans contain quite a bit of description of Paris upperclass houses. I'm fairly certain about Stendahl's The Red and The Black and Flaubert's Sentimental Education in that aspect. And...perhaps Evelyn Waugh's novels would fit too (for its upper-class English characters)?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Let's Talk Romance Novels Forum All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group