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This story of the alliance between Italian aristocracy and American millionaires is "a work unique among all [James's] novels: it is [his] only novel in which things come out right for his characters ...he had finally resolved the questions, curious and passionate, that had kept him at his desk on his inquiries into the process of living. He could now make his peace with America-and he could now collect and unify the work of a lifetime." -Leon Edel in The Life of Henry James.
Maggie Verver, a young American heiress, and her widowed father Adam, lead a life of wealth and refinement in London. They are both getting married: Maggie to Prince Amerigo, an impoverished Italian aristocrat, and Adam to the beautiful but penniless Charlotte Stant, a friend of his daughter. But both father and daughter are unaware that their new conquests share a secret - one for which all concerned must pay the price.