Habits of the House by Fay Weldon
A love story, a happy end, a lively attack, haute-couture dresses and haute-cuisine meals: some quotable characters, some agreeable sex, some very witty lines - what else can you want from a novel? - unless perhaps a soupcon of Weldon perception and brains. Think fin de siecle and it's all here, in HABITS OF THE HOUSE.
Isobel, Countess of Dilberne, is obliged to pair off her handsome, wilful son with a rich and pretty heiress from the Chicago stockyard. He's all the new internal combustion machines: she's all art. It's a clash of cultures and principles. Gold mines fail, bankers plot, bad girls flourish, London fog descends, Royalty intervenes, and your heart's in your mouth, hoping for the best for these unlikely lovers in the first in Weldon's Love and Inheritance trilogy.