A Wife of Noble Character: Excerpt and Giveaway

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A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER
by
Yvonne Georgina Puig
Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
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Date of Publication: August 2, 2016
Number of Pages: 320

Synopsis

Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt, Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s richest and most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at the social events big and small, and suffers no shortage of access to some of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood. He’s never shared their social aspirations or their status but is liked and respected for his sharp wit and intelligence. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty and grace, but isn’t sure he holds any place in such a traditional life. Intrigued by Preston’s ambitions and the extent to which he challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts Preston’s attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her predictable and antiquated priorities and values. 

Inspired by Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Yvonne Georgina Puig’s A Wife of Noble Character shares the original novel’s astute social commentary at the same time that it illuminates the trappings and rewards of coming of age that are wholly unique to the twenty-first century. Charming and shrewd at once, this Texas love story takes readers from Houston to Paris and Switzerland and back again, and will speak to both fans of Wharton and anyone who has every struggled to find their way in life.


Praise for A Wife of Noble Character

A fun take on Edith Wharton’s classic.”—Marie Claire

 A Wife of Noble Character is equal parts wry social commentary and heart-fluttering romance — an insightful journey for both the head and the heart.” —Refinery29

“This sharply drawn novel about Houston’s oil-money elite strikes a beautiful balance—rollicking at times while deeply felt at others.”—Elle.com

 “A compelling and complicated love story…The characters hearken back to Wharton’s while still not feeling like archetypes, and the interior narration matches the introspective style of Wharton’s writing.”—Book Riot

A Wife of Noble Character possesses something that is intrinsically Houstonian: a sense of humor. . . Apparently, no matter how far you move, Houston sticks with you; Puig has the local milieu down cold.”—Texas Monthly

“In this vivid, socially acute novel of manners set in oil-money Houston society, Yvonne Puig charms us with prose and braces us with insight—a masterful, sharp-eyed and eloquent debut.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black

 “A fresh, funny look at what it means to be an adult in the 21st century and a juicy Texan comedy of manners, at its heart, A Wife of Noble Character is a good old fashioned love story.” —Sarah Bird, author of Above the East China Sea

 A Wife of Noble Character is a wildly unique creation: A social novel that is simultaneously classic and utterly modern. I found it sharply insightful, lyrically written, and often laugh-out-loud funny; and could barely put it down until the last page. Puig is a talented satirist and a breathtakingly astute observer of character.”—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

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Excerpt

Chapter 1
A Wife of Noble Character
By Yvonne Georgina Puig

Preston noticed her immediately. He always did.

It was a Friday in May, a warm, windy day. Campus was busy. He was going home after a night spent at the studio preparing for his final reviews, but what was Vivienne doing here? She stood in the middle of the path, wearing a long white sundress, as dozens of students rushed past her. The wind played with her skirt, lifted her long, straight hair. She kept glancing around. There was nothing new about her—Preston had known her for years—yet he could not see her without feeling keenly curious.

He decided to approach. If she didn’t want to talk, he knew, she would pretend not to see him. If she did, she would be his best friend. He wanted to see which it would be.

“Preston Duffin!”

She smiled and gave him a fragrant half embrace, stirring his senses agreeably after twenty-four hours spent in a room rank with the body odor of future architects. He hoped she couldn’t smell him; her height met his shoulders exactly. A few underclassmen brushed by and took a second look, probably wondering who she was and why he got to touch her.

She stepped back and tucked her pale hair behind her ears. She was carrying a substantial and obviously, even to Preston, expensive white leather purse over her shoulder. It was covered in polished hardware and buckles that seemed not to buckle anything, and she slipped her small hand beneath the strap to relieve the weight of it from her shoulder. He’d seen her only a few weeks ago, but he’d never seen her so radiant, so bright and unblemished. Maybe it was the humidity filling in the grooves of so many late nights spent drinking light beer in West Houston mansions, Preston imagined, calling up his usual distillation of her character. He knew they were the same age, but she didn’t look thirty. In the broad collegiate thoroughfare full of earth-toned students and not-getting-any-younger professors, she was a fine beam of light.

“I’m so glad to see you. Thank you for coming to help me.” She stood before him at full expectant female attention, her eyes green as spring moss. “You look like you slept with your head on a desk.”

He thanked her for the observation—he’d actually been awake most of the night with his head on a desk—and said that he was always happy to appear the moment she needed help.

“I’m looking for the Rothko Chapel. I thought it was on the Rice campus.” She interrupted herself to explain that she’d just had breakfast with their mutual friend Bladimir. “I know it’s near Blad’s, but I can’t find it and my phone is dead.”

“You’re in the area,” Preston said. “But the Rothko Chapel isn’t on campus; it’s a couple miles from here.” After some questioning, he figured out where she’d parked and gave her directions.

To his surprise, she suggested they go there together. “Are you busy?”

Click here to read the full chapter!

about the author

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Yvonne Georgina Puig’s fiction and essays have appeared in Salon, Variety,   Los Angeles Magazine, and The Texas Observer, among others. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from USC. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband. 

author links

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

9/14

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9/15

Review

9/16

Author Interview 1

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Excerpt

9/18

Review

9/19

Guest Post 2

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Video Guest Post 3

9/21

Review

9/22

Author Interview 2

9/23

Review

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