Title: The Luxe
Author: Anna Godbersen
Length: 433 pages
There’s the perfect society girl, Elizabeth Holland, and her less compliant sister, Diana, who longs for adventure. Then there’s Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth’s best friend and best rival, and Lina Broud, Elizabeth’s maid who wishes to rise above her social class. Throw in the dashing Henry Schoonmaker who becomes entangled with nearly all the girls, and 1899 Manhattan just got even more scandalous. Everyone’s harboring secrets, secrets that will send Elizabeth into the East River by the end of the novel.
It’s Gossip Girl of the 19th century. You’ll enjoy this book if you love the scheming, sex, and society dealings that occur on Gossip Girl. If you don’t know what Gossip Girl is, but enjoy a good historical romance, chances are you will also find this book enjoyable.
However, while I enjoyed the book, I never felt connected enough to the characters or their relationships to care very much what happened to them. The book starts with the funeral of Elizabeth Holland and then backs up several months so that we discover how it came to be. However, this book is no tricky mystery novel, and while you may second-guess yourself a few times, the ending is no real shocker.
Despite my qualms, I did enjoy the history of the book. I particularly liked that each chapter started with a letter or note (a historical text message if you will). As someone who once wrote a 14 page paper about how letters function within Jane Austen novels, I thought this was both historically timely and a great way to move the plot.
In conclusion, an enjoyable, but light, read. There are more in the series (from the other girl's viewpoints), but I'm in no hurry to read them. Maybe for lounging by the pool later this summer?