Author Laura Vaughan has written eleven books for children and young adults. Now, she is making the voyage into adult fiction.
Her latest novel, The Favour, follows 18-year-old Ada Howell who seizes an opportunity to bind herself to Venice’s social elite. Here, she gives us her top 5 books about social climbers.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
Thackery described his book as “a novel without a hero”, but Becky Sharp is the true (anti) heroine – scheming and seducing her way through London high-society during and after the Napoleonic Wars. We can’t help being charmed by her chutzpah.
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Jay Gatsby buys his place in high society with lavish parties funded with ill-gotten gains. But he’s a romantic as well as a criminal, and it’s this that proves his undoing. Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s vision of the American Dream: idealistic, endlessly striving, easily corrupted.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Middle-class Charles Ryder insinuates himself into the aristocratic Marchmain family, moving from a sexually-ambivalent relationship with his best friend Sebastian to an affair with Sebastian’s sister Julia (making a socially advantageous marriage in between).But his greatest love is for Brideshead, the Marchmains’ stately pile.
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Tom Ripley is the ultimate sociopath: a conman who’ll do whatever it takes to keep climbing. There’s a transgressive thrill in seeing him get away with it, but the breath of evil lingers after the book ends.