The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920)
A ravishing tale about desire and betrayal in upper-class New York, Edith Wharton’s literary groundbreaker won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921, making her the first woman ever to do so. It tells the story of Newland Archer, an aristocratic young lawyer, and his boring but beautiful bride-to-be May Welland, as they prepare for their wedding.
But when May’s exotic cousin Ellen materialises from Europe, having fled her failed marriage to a Polish count, Archer’s loins are activated by her worldly ways. He must make a choice: should he bow to societal strictures and marry a woman who bores him half to sleep, or to a femme fatale to whose flame he is intoxicatingly drawn?