The House of Mirth, by Edith WhartonRead about another book on the list.
Edith Wharton is the quintessential Manhattan novelist. A society girl from the late 1800s herself, Wharton writes insightfully and brilliantly about New York high society in The House of Mirth. Her protagonist, Lily Bart, is a captivating, delicate, struggling socialite of few economic means who flits around Manhattan trying to scrape by enough to survive. You will be entranced by Lily, who seems too fragile and innocent for the cut-throat, harsh world she lives in.
The House of Mirth is one of Rachel Cusk's five best books on disgrace and Kate Christensen's six books that she rereads all the time; it appears on Robert McCrum's top ten list of books for Obama officials.