February 3, 2009

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

It's the year 1889, we are in Manhattan and trouble is brewing. Elizabeth Holland is society's darling, the girl everyone looks up to and tries to emulate, perfect in every regard from the top of her blond head to the very helm of the pastel colored dresses she wears. Elizabeth's sister Diana seems to be entirely opposite to her perfect older sister; born a dreamer and a romantic she dreams of travel and adventures even though she just spent most of the summer at Saratoga while Liz toured Europe, she wants something to happen to her and soon, meanwhile she's happy to keep going on her quest to get the perfect kiss.

There is also Lina, Liz's childhood friend and now lady's maid; they used to be close, until Liz grew up and the differences in their stations built walls between them. There is something else between them, too: Will Keller, another childhood friend and now coachman of the Holland's... but of course, no one knows about that.

Father up town there is Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's best friend, who sees Liz as her greatest rival, she wants to be the most envied and talked about girl in all New York and she can't stand Liz's being at the top of the food chain of New York's Society.

Things get a little more complicated when Henry Schoonmaker, at his father's prompting, offers marriage to Elizabeth - even though he was having a bit of an affair with Penelope just five minutes before - and, in the process, meets Diana who, to him, is ten times more lively and lovely than the perfect older sister that everyone toasts to.

Soon, scandal threatens to destroy the perfect mirages of New York's finest and, when it's all over, nothing will be the same.

I'm trying hard not to say too much about the story, so I'll stop there. But I have to say that I enjoyed this book far more than what I expected since everyone who had described it to me say it was like Gossip Girl in a Victorian Setting and I was never able to care much for Gossip Girl. The Luxe has a different feel too it, and I found myself caring quickly enough.

Also, it's takes place at an uncommon time, the dawn of the Twentieth Century, which adds certain romance to the whole story.

My favorite character is Diana, and I'm very much looking forward to reading Rumors, the sequel.



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