I must stop buying these fancypants editions of literary classics because they are twice the price of standard paperbacks. It's the bookish equivalent of Carrie in Sex and the City when she spots another pair of Jimmy Choos!
Ethan Frome is a relentlessly tragic novel and portrays a completely different view of New England to Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs. The tortured relationship between Ethan, his wife Zeena and the young Mattie Silver plays itself out to its shocking conclusion.
Talking of toxic marriages Shadow Tag is an unflinching portrayal of the relationship between Gil, an artist and his wife Irene who is also his muse. Both are flawed. He can't control his temper and she is a loving mother but a cold-hearted wife. Irene keeps a 'false' blue diary which she leaves around for her husband to read while her real thoughts are recorded in a secret red diary. Shadow Tag could not be considered a comfort read and this marriage turns uglier than most bad marriages with alcohol playing its inevitable part, but sometimes you need to read about real life, as it is, both good and bad and Louise Erdrich excels at writing real life.
After all that tragedy I need some Austen.