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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review: The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Author: Anna Godbersen
Pages: 433
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series or Standalone: 1st in series
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Reading Level: 13 yrs old +
Dominant Themes: Society, Wealth, Marriage

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with sly 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 the New York socialite elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden futures.

With the fate of the Holland’s 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 life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan’s most celebrated daughter disappear…

Anna Godbersen’s debut novel, The Luxe, was engaging and well written with descriptive prose and vivid imagery. The story revolves around five protagonists—Elizabeth & Diana Holland, Lina Broud, Henry Schoonmaker, and Penelope Hayes—who find themselves struggling to find love and a sense of self-confidence, while dealing with backstabbing friends and scandals at every turn in the high society of the late 19th century New York.

I didn’t get too emotionally involved with the characters, because I felt that they remained aloof and untouchable, but I did like them. Diana is my favorite, because she has a rebellious streak in here that is very ahead of her time. She’s impetuous and a rule-breaker, and I loved her. The only characters I absolutely could not bring myself to even tolerate were Penelope and Lina Broud. Those two just annoyed me.

I usually don’t read too much historical fiction, but after reading The Luxe, I certainly want to read not only more of this series, but more of the genre in general. The Luxe is a true diamond in a sea of jewels, and stands out among prominently among the rest.

Godbersen’s writing style was eloquent and flowed well, and was certainly not lacking in description. This is what, for me, set The Luxe out from other Victorian-set fiction that I’ve read. Even though at times the descriptions could be a little over-bearing, it didn’t detract too much from the novel as to make me dislike it. Although some paragraphs can be skimmed through without damaging your impression of the novel.

The cover is one of the most gorgeous covers I have ever seen. That dress is simply the embodiment of loveliness, and I feel that it represents the novel perfectly. Bravo do whoever designed the cover!

Overall, I enjoyed this novel very much, and am looking forward to finishing the series soon! I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars


  1. Great review! I've been thinking about reading this for a while-maybe I should give it a go

  2. Great review! Love this book!

    New Follower.

    Erin W.

  3. I actually saw this book in another review that sort of bashed it! From your description though, it sounds like a quick, fun read!

    I just finished a historical-type read myself. It's called Coronets and Steel- and although it's set in modern day- it has a distinct old-timey feel. :)

  4. I'm skeptical about this book but you make it sound fun! I may read this book after all :)


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