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The Angry Wife

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  581 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
A novel of a Southern woman trapped in the past and two brothers divided by the Civil War, from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Good Earth.

Lucinda Delaney is a southern belle ruled by a vision of life that no longer exists. The Civil War has come and gone and her side has lost, yet she is determined to proceed as if nothing has changed—a denial that stokes the
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published November 1980 by Severn House (first published 1946)
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Michele Chapman
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read books about the times of American slavery, and learned in school about the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, but I have not read about, or even thought too much about the time period where the war is over and everyone goes home. Say you owned slaves, what does your life look like? Say you were a slave, what does your life look like? This books gives a glimpse into that transition period by showing us the different viewpoints of its characters over their lifetime after the war ...more
Eileen E Cartwright

I never knew, before I discovered this book, that Pearl Buck wrote about anything but China - certainly not the American south after the Civil War. Her take on relations between blacks and whites is interesting. She brings out how terribly difficult things must have been. Also, I confess I knew nothing about the railroad strike of 1877. Here she begins to delve into workers vs rich corporate owners and the beginnings of unions. I was not crazy about the last third or so of the book bu
Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya
A rare mix of a quiet, and seemingly non-interesting life set in a time of social change, written with the mastery and deep psychological insight that did not allow me to put the book down for longer, than it was absolutely needed.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pearl Buck's simply elegant prose and her psychological insights into her characters are amazing. The Angry Wife is set just after the Civil War, where part of Virginia becomes West Virginia and when masters and slaves are adjusting to freedom. Pierce Delaney comes home from the war, having fought for the South, changed and willing to change, to a wife who seemingly cannot comprehend the change. Tensions escalate when Pierce's brother Tom, who fought for the North and survived Andersonville, ret ...more
Pearl Buck......fantastic author...has tremendous insight into the feeling--loves, joys,struggles, concerns of women. In every book I've read I've found myself strongly relating to the central female character. I've read 3 of her books. Each one is unique in its portrayal of women. Yet each one drew me in to the world of these various women. "The Angry Wife" takes place in post civil war south and deals with the difficulty of adjusting to or rejection of the changes brought about by that horribl ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a departure from Pearl's far East stories, so I felt I had to read it. It's a historical piece of fiction dealing with an American Southern family after the Civil War. The family and those that were close (house) slaves have to deal with all the changes that came after the war: the new employer/employee relationships and the forbidden concept of interracial marriage. Although not one of her best, it is engaging and worth the read.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Change and Revolution

I enjoyed this book by Pearl Buck. Like her books on China, she writes of change and revolution, only this time in the southern United States. The main focus is a man who fought in the civil war and came home to a rapidly changing world around him.
Though he tried to hold back time, things would never be the same. This story tells of his acceptance that the future would move on without him.
Terry S
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable read by Pearl S. Buck. This novel breaks away from her Asian settings with a journey through the freeing of slaves after the Civil War. An engaging story that touches on the struggles faced by slave owners and their freed slaves to deal with a different way of life. It captures the emotions of the various characters as they make their way through new challenges.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great mix of history, fiction, intelligence and emotion

I couldn’t wait to reopen book after each closing. So much learned about that period right after Civil War ended - with historical references woven in amongst this fine story of family, live, honor, ambition, growth and loss. Highly recommended.
Mobeme53 Branson
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Although perhaps not her best work, it does give a very good portrait of The South after the Civil War. Written in 1959 she show remarkable insight into the post war attitudes and lends understanding to the reasons why prejudice against African-Americans is still strong today. The language is a bit stilted and perhaps overly dramatic at times but still worth a read.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Several times I nearly gave up on this book. I was looking for an authentic book on slavery and abolition and this was not that. The characters are so flimsy, the storytelling weak and predictable. I know many will disagree but this was the first book I read by Pearl S Buck and I will definitely not be reading another.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was my first Pearl S. Buck novel and it was very engaging. Written in 1947, the story is about a family divided by issues of race in the post Civil War era and what was considered socially acceptable.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A whole different setting for Pearl S Buck

This book takes place in post Civil War West Virginia. The main character is conflicted between the way he was raised and how he sees the world after the Civil War.
Julia Prater
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating read of transition set in post-Civil War West Virginia. Thought provoking in the arena of race relations as well as in the industrialization of the nation, labor issues and the monumental changes of late 19th century.
Patricia Wagg
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pearl Buck’s books are always a reading treat. This is a significant book, which gives insights into the national divisions of the US today. Enlightening.
Claudia Walmsley
Oct 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
A stupid, poorly written book. Don’t waste your time!
Judy Moseley
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting take on West Virginian "plantation society" in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Kathie Kuehl
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book! Focuses on life in the south after the Civil War from many different vantage points....slaves, slave owners,
Amanda Smith
I prefer her books that take place in China. I found this one a little hard to follow-the story line jumps from person to person-it takes focus to follow it.
Nancy Stern
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
pearl Buck has never failed to impress
Nov 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love Pearl S. Buck - have read 15 or so of her books. Absolutely hated this one.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-gave-up
Buck wrote beautifully but I hate these people and can't tolerate their company any longer.
Debbie J
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
As I read The Angry Wife I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The novel includes some tricky ideas which today’s audience should take in context of the time and conditions when the award-winning author published it.

The story says much not only regarding racism and classism but also colorism--although perhaps unintentionally. The two Black women who seemed so intriguing and desirable by their White male employers/former owners were half-White and could've passed if they’d moved elsewhere. Presumably
Sep 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book. I might have enjoyed it as much as I did because I started it with such low expectations, almost begrudgingly, almost forcing myself to pick it up before I continue my recent spate of devouring and indulging in contemporary novels. I thought it would be difficult to re-adjust to reading a classic, to have to try to relate to something so far in the past and clearly not relevant.

Luckily I was wrong. I dove right in from the beginning, as the characters and the themes and the plot
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it
One would think, after my many years of reading, that I would have learned not to begin the works of an author with his/her masterpiece. Everything thereafter, no matter how good, will be anticlimactic. This has been my experience with Pearl Buck -- after The Good Earth, I have sought out her other books and, while I liked them quite a bit, I can't help making the comparison.

The Angry Wife takes place in West Virginia, at and after the end of the Civil War.The only similarities to The Good Earth
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book more than I thought I would. The story begins at the end of the Civil War when Pierce Delaney returns to his home from fighting for the South. His brother Tom arrives soon after from imprisonment in Andersonville and is nursed to health by Bettina, the offspring of a plantation owner and one of his slaves. Basically the story concerns the characters' attitudes about race. The angry wife of the title, Pierce's wife Lucinda, wants no changes in the way things have always been: wh ...more
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
To my opinion, Pearl S. Buck chose the unique context for the "wars" to set as the story background. Everybody chose their own path of revolution and pursued their own freedom. Thus, nobody in this story is a complete revolutionist nor totally free. Then there were people who stubbornly stayed the same and set their own wars against those who pursued freedom. And one person, Pierce Delaney, the main character, is at the same time strong- and weak-willed. Funny how he swayed from one doubt to ano ...more
Robyn Echols
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Pearl S. Buck is a top quality author. Her portrayal of her characters is unmatched. So much depth, and when you peel off back the layers you can see into and feel the essence of each person. The conflict between those who changed and moved forward with the times and those who remained locked in the past as well as how it affected their relationships kept the story riveting. I found the historical context interesting also.

The author may no longer be with us, but this novel is timeless.
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love Buck's writing and this book did not disappoint. Her woman's perspective is so spot on whether she is writing about a Chinese matriarch or, in this case, a spoiled Southern Bell - she is best to read.

I was confused by the title in the beginning and gradually found the meaning which gave the book a new light.

Her descriptions and depth of feelings about slavery and acceptance are amazing.

If you haven't read any Buck you are missing out - I really liked this book and I loved The Pavilion of
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic-fiction
I must say this book totally surprised me. My copy has a different cover, so I assumed this would be another novel about China. Instead, I got a novel which starts after the American civil war with brothers returning from the war. They had fought for different sides. The novel goes into the changes black and white relationships as each face a new and changed world. Some are trying to still live in the past, while others are running to new futures, or trying to come to grips with changing feeling ...more
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Pearl Sydenstricker Buck was a bestselling and Nobel Prize–winning author. Her classic novel The Good Earth (1931) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and William Dean Howells Medal. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to the United St ...more
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“At the southwest corner Malvern joined its fields to that of his nearest neighbor, John MacBain. Pierce held his horse just short of the border and looked across a meadow. Part of the MacBain house had been burned down. He had heard of it, but he had not seen it. Now it was plain. The east wing was grey and gaunt, a skeleton attached to the main house. Strange how crippled the house looked—like a man with his right arm withered! No, he was not going to let himself think about crippled men.” 1 likes
“I don’t know, Pierce. But I do know that when men are frightened and discontented they gather around any man who is not afraid.” 1 likes
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