This brilliant satire of the women's rights movement in America is the story of the ravishing inspirational speaker Verena Tarrant and the bitter struggle between two distant cousins who seek to control her. Will the privileged Boston feminist Olive Chancellor succeed in turning her beloved ward into a celebrated activist and lifetime companion? Or will Basil Ransom, a conservative southern lawyer, steal Verena's heart and remove her from the limelight?
'The Bostonians has a vigor and blithe wit found nowhere else in James,’ writes A. S. Byatt in her Introduction. 'It is about idealism in a democracy that is still recovering from a civil war bitterly fought for social ideals... [written] with a ferocious, precise, detailed– and wildly comic– realism.’