Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review of Envy

Envy (Luxe #3) by Anna Godbersen
Pages: 405
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: January 27, 2009
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Jealous whispers.  Old rivalries.  New betrayals.  Two months after Elizabeth Holland's dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana's side, however, those watching New York's favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.  Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city's most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope's finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope's social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune—and her fame—are anything but secure, especially now that one of society's darlings is slipping tales to the eager press.  In this next thrilling installment of Anna Godbersen's bestselling Luxe series, Manhattan's most envied residents appear to have everything they desire: Wealth. Beauty. Happiness. But sometimes the most practiced smiles hide the most scandalous secrets. . . ."

Mark Twain coined the term "The Gilded Age" in order to poke fun at the many ostentatious displays of the time period.  I, having just read the second and third book in The Luxe series, feel like I've spent a lot of time there this week.   Twain is right.  The Gilded Age is entirely ostentatious and Anna Godbersen portrays it like no other.  Envy picks up right where Rumors left off and it takes the reader, once again, on a wild ride.  I didn't think it was possible to incorporate more scandal, especially after reading Rumors, but Godbersen somehow did and did it extremely well.  Envy is the third installment in this delicious series and it shouldn't be missed.

Elizabeth Holland is back from the "dead" and society is waiting with bated breath for her return.  However, they are disappointed, because her younger sister, Diana, is mostly representing this illustrious family at the many important NYC social gatherings.  Elizabeth is a much changed person after the events in Rumors, which is to be expected,  and Diana is as well.  Diana, like Elizabeth, has loved and lost, which has made her more jaded, but that much more multi-faceted.  Of course there is the ever conspiring Penelope Hayes, now Schoonmaker (*cringe*), on the scene basking in the glow of her newly acquired surname.  However, Henry Schoonmaker is dealing with his new wife by drinking heavily in order to avoid reality and passing out on the sofa in their spacious mansion.  Many are starting to question the golden couple's happiness.  It's apparent that Henry is utterly depressed as his heart still lies with Diana.  Penelope knows this and  of course Penelope is no fool.  She's already trying to find ways to destroy Diana even more in this novel.  There's also Carolina Broud who is desperately clinging at any chance she has to climb the social ladder.  She's involved in many ups and downs in this novel and I found myself pitying her even more than usual; however, with a friend like Penelope, it shouldn't be too hard to be accepted into society, but many often wonder if she is reaching too far.  

Fans of Diana, like myself, will truly feel for her during this novel.  She is heartbroken and things aren't going her way. At all.  By the end of the novel, I found myself cheering as she decides to not be a victim of fate and to take matters into her own hands.  She makes a few mistakes in this novel, but she learns from them and grows as a person, which is why Diana is my favorite character in this series.  Her sister, Elizabeth, is also trying to find her way in this novel and is often led astray by her mother's desires and what is deemed acceptable for the Holland family.  Towards the end of the novel, Elizabeth also reveals a shocker and, surprisingly, stands up for what she feels is right.   However, Elizabeth, for me, felt very one-dimensional in this novel in comparison to her in the other books.  I'm not sure if that is because of her past with Will and what has transpired or because Diana takes so much of the spotlight.

Needless to say, this series is extremely entertaining.  I have sung its praises for awhile now and even though I didn't give this novel four out of four stars, it is still extremely compelling.   The only reason I didn't give it four stars is because unlike the other novels in the series, I could see where this one was headed.  I made some accurate predictions and nothing really took me for surprise, other than the ending.  However, the fact the plot was more predictable never took away from the novel.  For me, it was still fascinating and all-consuming, which is mostly due to Godbersen's captivating writing style.  She hasn't disappointed me yet.   What I also liked about this novel is the fact that Godbersen takes us away from NYC and we visit Palm Beach, which is one of my favorite haunts as well.  I thought this was a nice touch and really added to the story.  After all, many exciting things always happens when on vacation!

I will be, without a doubt, buying Splendor as I am officially addicted to this series.  I am already wondering how Godbersen will end it; so much is up in the air right now!  All I know is that Diana better go out with her boots on (or should I say gloves?), because for me, she is in the same league as one of my favorite literary heroines, Scarlett O'Hara.  I'm still waiting for her to put Penelope in her place, preferably an uncomfortable, shoddy one, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will happen in Splendor.  

*Buy Envy here
*Buy The Luxe box set here
*Pre-order Bright Young Things (Godbersen's latest series)


  1. I actually really like Penelope, so I'm sure you'll enjoy Splendor and how Penelope's story ends. I can't wait to see what you think of Splendor. It took me a while to actually accept the way it ended.

  2. I can't wait to finish Splendor and see how Godbersen ends the story. Thanks for stopping by, Adriana!

  3. The covers for this series are exquisite! I don't know why, but for some reason I couldn't really get into this series. I read book 1 but stopped after that. I agree that Diana is a fun character, though; kind of the middle road between Elizabeth and Penelope. I didn't make the connection between her and Scarlett, but you're right--they are very similar! I love Scarlett! (:


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