Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review of Splendor

Splendor (Luxe #4) by Anna Godbersen
Pages: 391
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: November 1, 2009
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*This review contains spoilers, so if you haven't read the other Luxe books, feel free to check out my review of Luxe, Rumors, and Envy.

Goodreads says, "New beginnings. Shocking revelations. Unexpected endings. A spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes. Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle. In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?"

It's a hot summer in New York City and things start to heat up for Diana, Elizabeth, Penelope and Carolina.  In this final installment of the Luxe series, readers figure out Mr. Cairns' true intentions, which for the record, I was sceptical about him from the beginning.  Readers also learn more about Mr. Holland's untimely death as well as Elizabeth's love, Will Keller's.  Some of the secrets are shocking and I didn't see them coming at all.  Additionally, we witness how far Diana will go in order to be with Henry and also what she isn't willing to do.  Her character evolves even more than before and we realize that she isn't one that can be tamed easily.  Penelope meets a real royal, the Prince of Bavaria, and sets her eye on him; after all, she has always strived to go as high as possible on the social ladder.  Carolina gets so close to her dream of finally being accepted in society, but things are never as easy as they seem.  Lets just say Tristan, the worker from Lord & Taylor who knows her secret identity, enters her life at the most unfortunate time.   In sum, Anna Gobersen ties it all up perfectly.  Splendor is an excellent conclusion to a captivating series. 

I adore the character of Diana. If you read my other reviews, you already know how much I enjoy her.  She is truly ahead of her time. In fact, she would fit in perfectly with the girls from Sex and the City.  She wants more than to just be a socialite and live the rest of her life in New York City. She's a dreamer and like I said before, she isn't tamed easily.  Which brings me to Diana's sister, Elizabeth.  Wow! Her part of the novel was suspenseful and nail biting.  She's got some fight in her after all, which was good and surprising to see.  Elizabeth finds out the truth surrounding many family secrets as well as the mysterious Mr. Cairns, who is now her husband.   That's all I will say about that, because I don't want to give too much away, but it was definitely startling in a way that only Godbersen can do it.  Moving on to my favorite character, Penelope. I am being sarcastic; I find her to be insufferable.  However, I did feel for her a little bit in this novel; she gets burned a bit.....FINALLY. But you know what they say, what goes around comes around!  Lastly, Carolina has even more ups and downs in this novel.  She has climbed too high and what goes up must come down.  However, things work out well for her in the end and she remains positive.  

The ending of the series isn't exactly what I had been hoping for, but it was where Godbersen had to go, otherwise it would be too perfect and fake.  So with that said, the ending was satisfying and tied up all the loose pieces.  It truly showed that first loves are hard to get over, but you eventually do, and you become a stronger person when all is said and done.

I can't say enough about this series.  I love Godbersen's writing style, the historical pieces she incorporates between each chapter, the captivating situations and the compelling characters.  I was actually sad to finish the series, but thankfully, I pre-ordered Godbersen's new series, Bright Young Things, which focuses on the Jazz Age in New York City.  All in all, I am thrilled to have finally read, in full, the Luxe series and I highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction.  

*Pre-order Bright Young Things (Due out in October!)


  1. I've always stopped to stare at the gorgeous covers these books have, but I've never actually read one. After reading your review, though, it sounds like something I'd really enjoy.

  2. I've heard awesome things about this series and I find myself admiring all of the covers. Hopefully some day I will pick them up and read them for myself. Great review.

  3. I actually just read this book a couple weeks ago and I loved it. I thought it was a good ending to the series. Great review!

  4. I felt the same about the ending. I was sad about how Henry and Penelope's story ended. Everyone else's I was okay with.
    I seriously can't wait for Bright Young Things.

  5. I couldn't bear to read this in case of spoilers. I am planning on reading it over the summer. I saw a very scary comment and I'm totally not wanting to spoil the finale. Ahhh! I will have to come back and read this when I'm done.


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