Truthfully, I found "The Real Thing" to be unintersting. I appreciated the story line and dialogue in "Roman Fever" much more. I did feel some sympathy for the Monarch's in "The Real Thing" due to their unfortunate circumstances, particularly with today's economy and having just come off of unemployment myself. It has to be difficult for anyone who falls on hard times, but particularly for the upper class who are not used to finding themselves in such situations.
"Roman Fever" was interesting and I was quite shocked yet well pleased with Mrs. Ansley's parting shot at the end. I was sorry for Mrs. Slade and how it must have felt for her to carry around these feelings for so long. It is intersting how this confrontation did not take place back home, but in rather in a foreign country in which the found themselves visiting. Maybe it was easier to speak about it when away from their own community. The setting that Wharton set up for this confrontation acts as neutral territory, as well as a vacation in which the characters are more relaxed, to bring their issues out into the open. Mrs. Slade is a very bitter woman. Mrs. Ansley's parting shot was priceless, yet at the same time left the reader waiting for more.
On a separate and somewhat unrelated note, the setting in which Wharton chose for her story - Italy - is one of my favorite places. I will be making my second journey there at the end of June, except this time I am bringing two of my children with me. The entire Vinchesi clan will be renting a villa in Tuscany and while there I am planning on extra time to take my kids to Rome for all the old history. Here's a thought, maybe there will be some deep dark family secrets that will be unveiled, similar to Wharton's "Roman Fever" while we are there.