The Bostonians by Henry James
Published in 1886, The Bostonians begins with the arrival in Boston of Basil Ransom, a young Mississippi lawyer in search of a career. Through his cousin, Olive Chancellor, Ransom comes to meet Verena, the beautiful daughter of a charlatan faith-healer and showman. When they hear Verena talk, Olive hopes to win the girl over to the feminist cause, Ransom is attracted to her looks, and a battle for possession of the girl begins.
With its discussion of the situation of women and its uncompromising depiction of the city and the media, THE BOSTONIANS is a modern novel which is immediately accessible and relevant today.