Friday, April 20, 2012

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

Synopsis: "At the age of nine, George Amberson Minafer, the Major's one grandchild, was a princely terror..." 

Georgie Amberson Minafer, the spoiled only grandchild of a wealthy Midwest family, is alternately loathed and revered by nearly everyone in town. His beautiful face and privileged upbringing create an image that is difficult for people to resist, particularly people who are used to watching everything the Amberson family says and does. When Lucy Morgan arrives in town and enters the story, she too is captured by the magnificence of the Amberson family, and particularly by Georgie. But little do Georgie and Lucy know that their parents were also once in love. 

Isabel Amberson, Georgie's mother, was the most sought-after girl in town. Eugene Morgan, Lucy's father, was the only young man who could capture Isabel's heart. Through a youthful misunderstanding the star-crossed lovers were parted, only to be reunited years later, now with children of their own. Will Eugene and Isabel be able to finish their love story with a happy ending? Or will Georgie, used to being worshipped by his mother, be unable to accept that his mother is a woman who may need some completion outside of serving her one and only adored son? 

The Magnificent Ambersons is a story of unfulfilled love and the redemption of the human soul told against the backdrop of a changing world, a world in which old money and family prestige is rapidly being taken over by progress and industrialization. Written in 1918 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1919, The Magnificent Ambersons still delivers a relative tale for today's audience that is facing a whole new set of socioeconomic pressures in an ever-changing world.

My Thoughts: Before being offered the chance to read The Magnificent Ambersons for this tour, to me it was just a book on my rather long "prize winning books that I must read some day" list.  I had passed it in the library with it's plain worn hard cover from about 50 years ago and never gave it a second thought.  Thank goodness for Legacy Romance giving this book a second life in e-format (and with a beautiful cover to boot) because I would have continued to pass up the ancient library book and probably never would have read this truly wonderful story!  

Georgie Amberson Minafer is not a character you will like or admire.  From childhood on he is spoiled, at times a bully, and used to always getting his way because a) he is overindulged by his well-meaning mother Isabel and b) his family is the richest in town and can do pretty much whatever they want.  The novel follows Georgie from  his insufferable boyhood to manhood and the fortunes of the Amberson clan from their lavish and excessive heyday to their all too quick downfall when the old world of important wealthy families gives way to  the new one dominated by industry.   

As the family fortunes decline you know Georgie's fortunes are going down with them and since he is such a cad throughout most of the novel,  I expected to be thrilled to see him finally get what was coming to him.  The surprising thing was I wasn't thrilled at all.  Georgie actually evolves a bit during the series of crisis' he experiences and I found myself to be rather upset at the way things were going for him in the latter half of the story.  The Ambersons really grew on me as I read along.  It is actually hard to describe exactly what this book is about-crumbling fortunes, doomed love, family relationships-it just covers so much!  Tarkington's writing is marvelously descriptive with a touch of humor throughout.  

Really the only thing I didn't care for was the romance between Georgie and Lucy, daughter of the old family friend Eugene.  Their courtship seemed quite awkward to me in that both had strange ways of showing they cared for each other (strange to me at least).  Other than that very minor thing I really did love this book.  It should be noted that this is the middle book in a trilogy but it reads perfectly fine as a stand alone novel.  I don't think I've read a book in recent memory that gives such an engaging window into turn of the century Midwestern America.  Definitely recommend to anyone who likes this time period or who loves a good family saga.

 This book was provided to me by the publisher for participation in The Magnificent Ambersons Blog Tour.  These are my honest thoughts on the book.

And now for the giveaway!  I am excited to be able to offer 1 e-book of The Magnificent Ambersons to one lucky reader!

Giveaway is open: Internationally

To enter: Leave your name and email address in the comments.  One extra entry each will be given for spreading the word via Twitter, Facebook, or on your blog :)

Giveaway Ends: Midnight April 30th.  Winner will be announced May 1st.

For more reviews and giveaway of The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington you can view the rest of the tour schedule HERE.

For more information about the publisher Legacy Romance and to view their other available titles visit these links:

Legacy Romance Blog, The Vintage Reader:

Legacy Romance Website:

Legacy Romance Bookstore:

Legacy Romance on Facebook:  (We're offering a special to our facebook fans--50% off this book in the month of April in our facebook store!)

Legacy Romance on Pinterest:

Legacy Romance on Twitter:

Legacy Romance on YouTube:

And finally, you can find The Magnficent Ambersons here:


  1. Excellent thoughts on this one, I've been struggling trying to put mine into words and failing badly compared to yours. Haven't dared look at any other reviews until I finished mine off.

  2. Please count me in for this one! thank you for sharing.


  3. I never came across this classic. It strikes me that there aren't all that many books on this period of the Midwest. How lovely of Legacy to put it back into circulation. If the author was able to evolve a character from one you hoped disaster would take down to one you wanted good for, that's quite a recommendation. Thanks!

  4. The cover of this book caught my eye and I've been waiting to hear a little about it. Once I learned it was a prize-winning classic from long ago I was sold. I've got this added to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!
    susan at susancoventry dot com

  5. This sounds like one I may enjoy, thanks for the giveaway.


    I also tweeted about the giveaway: tlukey73

  6. This looks like a ton of fun! Thank you for a lovely giveaway. kcarlson1152[at]

  7. Thanks for this great giveaway! Gale

  8. This one is new to me. I look forward to reading it.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com