This was chosen for a bookclub read , which is why I finished reading it whereas I would normally ditch such a book after the first three chapters . I was glad that I had persevered as it has a few rewards.
I immediately disliked the cast of effete , self indulgent characters, even the 'spirited clever daughter '[ oh yes we know this one]was a formulaic sketch with no depth . I read yards of similar stuff in the 80's , there was a glut of these would be aristos writing about the idle rich.
We have wonderful classics by writers like Henry James, Evelyn Waugh , Aldous Huxley, EM Forster ...the list goes on . They write with colour, warmth and always a sense of self mocking humour .
There is no humour in this book , everyone takes themselves very seriously . There is little colour or sense of place , no sense of the South . I think after a month has passed since I read this, I remember the the characters as inhabiting grey rooms in dreary weather.
The lesson I did learn was that one has to stop disliking a book because its characters are uninteresting and address the very obvious fact that in life we are too ready to judge from our very particular viewpoint. Instead we must always be prepared to try to see from that different angle, even if the angle seems dull. When I placed myself in the shoes of the frigid American heiress , the cheating Italian husband , or the spirited daughter the book came to life .
After all , who wants to read about people like themselves ?