Book Review: The Luxe

July 6, 2011 Whitney Review 1 Comment

Book Review: The LuxeThe Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Series: The Luxe #1
Published by HarperCollins on November 20, 2007
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Library

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups. This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone--from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud--threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future. With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear... In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

At first, the Holland sisters, Elizabeth, and Diana seem to have it all being the desired socialites and now, despite her best friend Penelope’s resentment Elizabeth is suddenly engaged to Henry Schoonmaker.  Everything appears perfect until Elizabeth is thrown from a horse and buggy and disappears into the Hudson River.

Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe is The Age of Innocence meets Gossip Girl.  Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope and the Holland’s former maid Lina all grasp for romance, fortune and grandeur in  Manhattan society at the end of the 19th century.

All represented females had their ups and down in morality, one minute I’d be rooting for the heroines and on the next page they would be uppity bitches, (well except for Penelope, she was always an uppity bitch).

Anyway, I felt Anna Godbersen did an excellent job of separating classes in tiers of ranking, but despite consequence everyone managed to slip through the cracks of these standings.  But The Luxe is not solely about catty debutantes, it is also about the men they love which is the root of all this backstabbing.  From the most eligible bachelor, Henry Schoonmaker to the coachman Will Keller New York has a three-ring circus.

As much as I loved the book I have to get uppity myself for a minute, after I began raving about this to my mom she picked the series up as soon as I would finish it and besides agreeing it was highly readable concurred on another thought, that there were several “sex scenes”  that could be a little risqué for the geared audience.  Fortunately, they were eloquently written so only a mature eye could catch the full intention.  But still, scandalizing!

The Luxe is a soap opera in the form of 400 pages and personally don’t understand why the CW hasn’t picked it up.


One response to “Book Review: The Luxe

  1. I've just read this book, too, and written a review (not posted yet, though) I agree with most of what you say). It's a little too soapy for my taste, however, and I think it must have been horrible living in those times when people weren't able to talk to their family members more sincerely. Great review!

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