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"Naïve debutante falls for handsome, wealthy bad-boy. "
Newport, R.I. 1880 - American débutante Sara Swan Whiting has been trained for one purpose: to marry well into society. Together with her friends Carrie Astor and Edith Jones (Wharton), Sara débuts into society and is introduced to the bachelors of New York’s wealthy families, hoping to find the perfect marriage. ‘Ethereally beautiful’ and ‘the spirit of the ball’, Sara garners many suitors. But none steal her heart, until she is introduced to Oliver Belmont.
Raised in the privileged style of his family’s wealth, Oliver is pressured to find a suitable vocation, but prefers a gentleman’s life of leisure. Sent to the naval academy by his parents, he begs to resign, and then shows up at his mother’s Paris suite unannounced – away without leave. Realizing marriage will offer him freedom from his father’s constant insistence on a career, Oliver sets his sights on the naïve and beautiful Miss Whiting.
While on an afternoon outing Oliver spontaneously proposes marriage, breaking protocol by not getting his parents approval first. Sara accepts the proposal – only to discover his parents disapprove of the match. In an age when royal titles and large dowries were exchanged through marriage, Oliver and Sara find themselves forced to deal with the decorum of Gilded Age society while embracing their newfound love.
Based on the true account of the Belmont-Whiting Scandal of 1883.
Previously published as "SWAN SONG - The Vocation of Marriage"