In spite of the title, this is a sort of tragedy, and it makes you realize (if you are a woman) how glad you are to be living now, and not in the days when a woman practically had to marry to have a life, and had to marry well--never mind love or compatibility--to continue the life to which she was accustomed, unless she was already rich.
This book served to while away some hours waiting in a tax-preparer's office, which were thus saved from their tedium, and I really enjoyed it. I have to warn other readers, though: You will find yourself wanting to scream at the heroine, "No, you goose! Can't you see that if you do that, you'll ruin all your chances?" Lily Bart is both too conscientious for her own good, and too careless. You find yourself beginning to like her.
If you don't want to know the end from the beginning, leave the introduction until afterwards.