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The Buccaneers
     

The Buccaneers

3.6 11
by Edith Wharton
 

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Set in the 1870s, the same period as Wharton's The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers is about five wealthy American girls denied entry into New York Society because their parents' money is too new. At the suggestion of their clever governess, the girls sail to London, where they marry lords, earls, and dukes who find their beauty charming—and their

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Buccaneers 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Tonstant-Weader More than 1 year ago
I began reading a familiar-feeling (if also unfinished-feeling) Edith Wharton novel: then, about three-quarters of the way through, I was suddenly thrust into a mere bodice-ripper. Had Ms. Mainwaring ever even read a Wharton novel before setting about to "complete" this one? Edith wasn't exactly the Queen of the Happy Endings. Her characters find their passions in painful conflict with their conventions and their passions generally lose. The conventions in this particular case happened to be quite overwhelming, and yet they slunk away with barely a whimper. And don't even get me started about Mainwaring's melodramatic prose. This "completion" lacks the dignity, intelligence, depth and compassion of Wharton's work - and even its theme.
MerryWifeofWindsor More than 1 year ago
It is the 1870’s and the St. Georges are a nouveau riche family who are entirely looked down upon by the rest of New York’s upper-crust. The St. George girls are the statuesque and perfect eldest daughter, Virginia and the precocious and childish younger daughter, Nan. Included in this nouveau riche cadre are the Brazilian beauty Conchita Closson and the lovely Lizzy Elmsworth whose family is rather wealthy. In this time period, there is only one profession prescribed for wealthy young women: marriage. Mrs. St. George and Mrs. Elmsworth have a sort of “frenemy” (friend + enemy) relationship, engaging in conversation over whose daughter is better. In this marriage game, it is a competitive business and the mothers of these young women will stop at nothing to have them married. When it comes to Mrs. Closson, Mrs. St. George and Mrs. Elmsworth immediately dislike and snub her in anyway possible. Mrs. Closson is found to be rather crass and of such lowly character. She has this strange habit of smoking cigars like its no one’s business and playing the piano in such a loud manner. Moreover, both ladies are not at all fond of Conchita Closson whom they find to be wild-looking and almost entirely barbaric. While the mothers may be petty and nit-picky, the young ladies are affable and kind towards each other. They band together and have fun like any young teenagers would do. When the St. Georges engage an English governess by the name of Laura Testvalley for the young Nan, little do they realize that a world of opportunity is opening up for them. In time, Lord Richard Marabel comes to visit and, right under everyone’s noses, he falls madly in love with the unconventional Conchita Closson. And in time, the couple marries, shocking their small group of acquaintances. This marriage of Conchita Closson to Lord Richard Marabel sets the stage for the ladies. Assisted by Laura Testvalley and her American friend Jacqueline March, Nan, Virginia, and Lizzy set off for England in search of the best sort of plunder: marriages. Miss Jacqueline March, who was jilted at the altar decades before by Lord Brightlingsea (Lord Richard’s father), affectionately refers to the young ladies as “the Buccaneers” and instructs them in the ways of London society. Virginia, Lizzy, and Nan meet a whole host of suitors from the eccentric Duke of Tintagel, the brooding Lord Seadown (brother to Lord Richard), the charming Hector Robinson, and the splendidly romantic Guy Thwarte. First of all, I found this book to be rather exciting and it unfolded beautifully from the beginning. The original author, Ms. Wharton did a fantastic job of fleshing out her characters and breathing such life into them that it made them vastly interesting. The names were creative and altogether interesting. The character that I loved best was that of adoring governess Laura Testvalley. She was halfway between a wise older sister and a cultured best friend, imparting her knowledge to Nan. No matter what, Laura seemed to understand the struggles that Nan faced throughout the novel. It seemed like once you had begun to know Laura as a character, she always had a secret to share. My only critique of this story as that the ending fell rather flat. I do not in anyway attribute it to Ms. Mainwaring who attempted to complete Ms. Wharton’s final work. There seemed to be a lack of climax and the ending lacked any excitement whatsoever. * Reviewed by the Merry Wife of Windsor * www.MerryWifeofWindsor.com
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting and intriguing book. The BBC movie version of it is also a great adaptation. It really takes a look at the freedom and personal issues and struggles of women living in America and England.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderfully written. It explores the world of the aristocracy and the lives of five very independant young women at the turn of the century.