Half the trouble in life is caused by pretending there isn’t any.

Summary – The beautiful Lily Bart attempts to navigate a world of money and hypocrisy.

The Perfect Drink – We feel that The House of Mirth is a book of two halves. For the first part of the book you’ll want something delicate and highly perfumed, like jasmine tea drunk from an from an ornamental china teacup. This would strike the right note between beauty and fragility. When Lily’s fortunes change, however, you’ll need something robust, practical and highly caffeinated like a big mug of black tea. Lily comes to rely on strong tea to keep her awake after sleepless nights.

The Perfect Snack – With your jasmine tea you need light, melting flavours and textures that last only a moment on the tongue. Floral flavours would work well in a book where women are viewed as flower-like objects of beauty. We would recommend rose or lavender macaroons, with a crisp texture that is quick to dissolve. You could eat these with thin slices of stone fruits, like white peach – something delicious but easily bruised. You could even try a bowl of fresh lemon or elderflower sorbet. For the second part of the book, you need to look for stronger, harsher flavours. Try some bitter, complex dark chocolate – 70 or 80% – which you can dip into your black tea.This will complement the bitter note on which the book concludes.

The Perfect Place – Wharton’s novel deals with fading and decline, so is a natural fit for autumn. Beauty is a key theme – so aim to read it somewhere you find beautiful, whether that be a park, a library, or somewhere else entirely.

How would you read The House of Mirth? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.