What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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Query abandoned by poster > ABANDONED. Early 1900s: two middle class American sisters go to England, fall for two rich American brothers

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message 1: by Lo (new)

Lo | 2 comments Its the late 1890s or the 1910s (but written later.)

Older sister from sensible, Eastern or Midwestern family goes to an East Coast college (or maybe new good Midwestern college), small liberal arts college type. She is smart and not very pretty, and falls in with a tall intellectual, awkward-but-fascinating man. They're not an item immediately, but they're clearly heading that way. It's a wholesome college experience.

Somehow older sister gets an invitation to come visit older brother's family in England (maybe the guy's family helps pay for her?) and she brings along younger sister. Then, either that summer, or the subsequent summer (I think the subsequent summer) They have their own living arrangements, and bring their mother as a chaperone.

I think the brothers are also American, but super, super rich American, totally different social class. The older brother doesn't act like it, but the younger brother is definitely a man-about-town, shiny car, lots of energy, very handsome.

The older siblings are sort of steady and smart and a little reserved, but the younger brother falls head over heels for the extremely beautiful, daring, flashy (but from a steady middle class home) younger sister.

Maybe it starts one summer and continues to the next summer, but both sisters are back and set up house with their mother nearish London, and what was a crush for the younger brother is now this intense attachment, he is DETERMINED to marry the younger wilder sister.

This makes the boys' parents furious! They do not approve of the wild younger sister, this girl from nowhere, with no connections. The older sister had seemed unthreatening, but now the parents turn against both sisters.

There's some sort of very fancy party at the end of the summer, where the older sister does't have a nice dress to wear, and wears something plain and feels dowdy, and her younger sister wears this phenomenal expensive dress, and looks glorious. (The older sister thinks about wearing something flashy, but thinks she will be judged by the other richer people, and better to be dowdy than crass. ) Both sisters go to the party. It is clear the guys' parents have turned against both of them--distinct frigidness/cool towards even the older sister. She is condescended to and is feeling pretty miserable about the whole thing and the whole summer and her ugly dress and dull life and the general dubious behavior of her family, when the older brother finds her and clearly thinks she looks beautiful and kisses her passionately and in a new way, (although, of course, not TOO passionately, but still pretty scandalously, probably in some abandoned kitchen). Things are great! The younger sister and younger brother get involved in some big confrontation with the parents/crash something/parents give him an ultimatum, so the party ends badly and the two sisters go home it ends with the sisters going home and their parents having to pay back their initial Europe tickets that brought them to the family who now thinks these sisters are no good.

I think the younger sister/younger brother relationship does not survive these hectic days, but it seems like the older brother/older sister are going strong, even though things are complicated. At the end of the novel, the older siblings are back in America at this small liberal arts college with a school graduation/senior roasts thing, and everything is fine and wholesome, but then one friend does a roast of the older brother, and he makes jokes about both sisters, in bad taste (sort of gold-digger references?) and it's just a little nasty, and older sister is furious and both sisters somehow realize that the brothers are not for them, despite all their passion and interestingness, and everything is definitively broken off, leaving the sisters both sad and heartbroken but also empowered and proud.

This book has a sort of Maud Hart Lovelace flavor (Besty Tacy and Tib), also a bit like Anne of Green Gables and a bit of the EM Forster flavor. Definitely about the late 1890s/1910s, but written much later.

I dreamed about this book last night, and am trying to figure out if it's a book I actually read, or just a very well plotted dream.


message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily | 136 comments Sounds interesting. Do you know approximately what year you read the book? Was it a new book at the time? Do you remember if the intended audience was adults or YA?


message 3: by Lo (new)

Lo | 2 comments Not sure if it's a young adult or adult book, but leaning towards young adult (or written by an author who frequently writes young adult novels.)

I am sure the novel was published in the 20th century--definitely not around the time it was set, but later (so between 1920s and 1970s?)


message 4: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38146 comments Mod
It's not ringing major bells, but I'm curious to know what this is.


message 5: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38146 comments Mod
Lo, are you still looking for this book?


message 6: by Juels (last edited Jul 10, 2014 08:53AM) (new)

Juels | 2424 comments Sounds interesting. I'd love to read it if anyone identifies it. Based on the description, I thought the OP might also enjoy I Capture the Castle.


message 7: by Diana (new)

Diana Welsch | 529 comments I was thinking of I Capture the Castle too! Definitely not the right book based off of the amazing number of details the OP remembers, but great read nonetheless.


message 8: by Michele (new)

Michele | 2359 comments Maybe The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton, or The Golden Bowl by Henry James?


message 9: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38146 comments Mod
No response; moving to Abandoned.


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