This month the chain begins with Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Goodreads describes this book as "the classic novel of despair, forbidden emotions, and sexual undercurrents set against the austere New England countryside." That is definitely not a book for me. I did read Wharton's House of Mirth. That book was not for me either as it was bleak and depressing. I have one more Edith Wharton novel on my to-be-read list: The Age of Innocence which is set in New York in the Gilded Age which is a period I find really interesting.
A novel that I did really enjoy set in New York in this period is The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. It is the story of a young lawyer in 1880s NYC who is defending George Westinghouse in a suit brought by Thomas Edison over the question of who invented the light bulb and thus owns the right to power the country. This work of historical fiction made me want to learn more about the actual case, so I have Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World by Jill Jonnes on my TBR list.
Another book on my TBR list about a nineteenth-century business battle is The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel. I find the history of businesses fascinating, especially big iconic businesses. One of the best behind-the-scenes-of-an-icon books I have read is Katharine Graham's memoir Personal History. Graham was the owner of the Washington Post during Watergate and in this book she explains how she became the woman who was strong and brave enough to take on the White House (my interpretation, not hers).