Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review of Luxe

Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Pages: 433
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date:  November 20, 2007
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "A big, sumptuous tale of catty girls, dark secrets and windswept romance unfurls in this compulsively readable novel of late-19th-century New York City socialites. Godbersen weaves a tenuous web of deceit, backstabbing and pretense that follows four teens: Elizabeth Holland, a prim and proper lady of old-money society, is betrothed to one man, though furtively loves another; Henry Schoonmaker, a debauched playboy who must marry Elizabeth or be disinherited; Diana Holland, Elizabeth’s younger sister who is in love with her fiancé; and Penelope Hayes, a member of the nouveau riche who will stop at nothing to win Henry’s affections. As Elizabeth and Henry’s wedding approaches, the spectacle unfolds in a wondrously grandiose scene, making for a fun, though not entirely unexpected dénouement. A delicious new twist along the Gossip Girl vein, readers will clamor for this sharp, smart drama of friends, lovers, lies and betrayal."

Do I enjoy backstabbing girls that wish to climb the social ladder? No.  Do I enjoy scandalous gossip?  No.  Do I enjoy reading about fashion and who is wearing the latest couture?  No.  Do I enjoy all of this if you transport me to the Gilded Age in Manhattan? The answer is yes!  I will admit it: I am a sucker for historical fiction.  Anna Godbersen's novel, Luxe, will transport you to a time period that is fascinating.  There are beautiful dresses, drama, scandal, gossip, but there are also strict rules and etiquette that women must follow.  I found this piece to be the most interesting.  If you want a novel that will captivate you and keep you interested, I suggest picking up this one if you haven't already. Don't expect to learn some huge life lesson; it is simply entertainment.   And entertained I was.  

Elizabeth Holland appears to be the good girl that listens to her mother and always does the right thing.  That is until we find out her family is in a predicament and has no money. She is forced to marry Henry Schoonmaker, Manhattan's most eligible bachelor (think Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl)  and notorious flirt.  Henry is forced to marry her as well otherwise his father would cut him off.  As you can see, they are both in a mess.  Elizabeth's sister, Diana, is the most compelling character.  I truly enjoyed her.  She's the nonconformist who enjoys reading over fancy dresses; plus, she prefers adventures over exquisite balls.  Who doesn't love that?  All would be well if resident evil wench and BFF of Elizabeth Holland, Penelope Hayes, wasn't in the picture.  She is everything you would hope for: scheming, full of gossip, alterer motives, truly is delicious.  She's like Blair Waldorf except crazier and sans headband.  

As I stated before, I am not sure I would have enjoyed this book if it weren't a historical fiction. I loved how Godbersen incorporated newspaper clippings and little anecdotes before each chapter that truly demonstrate the time period's moral standards. I thought that was a particularly nice touch.  Also, the varying points of view were done nicely and kept me engaged.  It's true I saw the ending coming from a million miles away, but I didn't mind it.  

I had been meaning to pick up this book many times, but never got around to it.  I needed a mindless, fun book to read this week and of course, this book came to mind.  I am extremely glad I read it; it was the perfect book to simply escape and not think about things.  With that said, if you have ever wanted a fun, girly read that keeps you entertained and transports you to a different time, this book is for you.  And it was nice to live in Elizabeth Holland's world; in fact, I plan on visiting again soon when I read the sequel Rumors.  Ultimately, this series is my guilty pleasure and you know everyone has one!

If you would like to read 65 page sample of this book, check it out here!

Buy The Book Here:

Watch the Book Trailer:

Watch an Interview with Anna Godbersen:

Anna Godbersen is publishing another book called Bright Young Things, which focuses on the Jazz Age in NYC.  It takes place the summer before the big Market crash. I also LOVE this time period and can't wait to read this book, but unfortunately we have to wait till October!  One thing is certain, they sure know how to create amazing covers for Anna Godbersen's books! Check out the cover for Bright Young Things!  

Pre-order it here:


  1. Great review and I agree, it's mind candy per excellence! I absolutely loooved this series too and I made the same GG comparison in one of my reviews, but I have to say I prefer the Luxe books because I'm quite fascinated by the time period they're set in! I cannot wait for Bright Young Things!!! :D

  2. Bright Young Things: I cannot wait. Squee!!

    I agree this is so good because it is historical. The little authentic details are what make it interesting. I love that it is interspersed with those newspaper snippets. They are genius.

    A great choice for a guilty pleasure. And another great review!

  3. Fantastic review! This series is one of my guilty pleasures too. I have never read Gossip Girl (and never will) but I also took to this story because of the historical setting. I liked book two even more and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.

  4. Thanks guys! I can't wait read to Rumors! Bookalicious- You are right- it's definitely mind candy! :)

  5. Christina, loved this review especially because you expressed all the reasons why I would not have picked up this book. However, I am having seconds thoughts, and may just have to borrow it from the library for a mindless read since you made it sound quite interesting.

    I am also very interested in the Jazz era title Bright Young Things and am putting this on my wish list. Thanks.

  6. Great review, Christina!

    I have Luxe right here in my shelf, perhaps I should pick it up soon? I lent it to my sister and she really liked it as well.


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