The Luxe (Luxe Series #1)
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The Luxe (Luxe Series #1)

4.2 648
by Anna Godbersen
     
 

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Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with mischievous 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 New York City's elite

Overview

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

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

In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

Editorial Reviews

Cecily von Ziegesar
“Mystery, romance, jealousy, betrayal, humor, and gorgeous, historically accurate details. I couldn’t put The Luxe down!”
In the self-contained world of young Gilded Age Manhattan socialites, Elizabeth and Diana Holland reign supreme. Or so it seems. Scratch the surface, though, and you can detect festering jealousies that threaten to topple them. Elizabeth suffers a more literal fall when her carriage overturns and she is carried away by the swift East River current. That's only the beginning of the action and suspense in The Luxe, the launch volume in a teen series by Anne Godbersen's.
Publishers Weekly

With a quote from The Age of Innocenceas an epigraph and an enthusiastic blurb from the creator of Gossip Girlon its back cover, this lavishly produced debut makes no secret of its twin influences. The story opens in 1899 with the funeral of Elizabeth Holland, a well-bred beauty said to have plunged to her death in the Hudson River. The narrative then travels back several weeks, tracing the relationships and events that have led to the somber assembly. This tangled web includes not one but two sets of star-crossed lovers; an upstairs/downstairs romance; a scheming social climber; a bitter servant girl; and oodles of money, all set in a Edith Wharton via Hollywood vision of Old New York. The dialogue has its clunky moments, and the plot twist that drives the tale is telegraphed from the very start, but readers caught up in the fancy dress intrigue are unlikely to mind much: it's all part of the dishy fun. Needless to say, the ending paves the way for at least one sequel. Ages 14-up. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up
In this deliciously soapy novel, privileged teens in Manhattan conduct forbidden romances, betray their so-called friends, and generally indulge in bad behavior. The twist is that it's 1899, and they do so in corsets, silk gowns, and horse-drawn carriages rather than designer labels and sports cars. Eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Holland, daughter of a prominent but secretly impoverished family, is in love with Will, the family's young, handsome carriage driver. When wealthy Henry Schoonmaker proposes, however, her mother pushes her to accept, since Elizabeth's marriage is their only chance to maintain their luxurious lifestyle. Henry, an irresponsible playboy also forced into the loveless engagement, finds himself falling for Elizabeth's rebellious younger sister. To complicate matters further, Henry has been having an affair with Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's supposed best friend, and Penelope will do absolutely anything to get him back. It's all scandalous, steamy-though never graphic-fun, with just enough period detail to make the Gilded Age come alive. The dialogue and attitudes sometimes seem suspiciously modern, but readers will enjoy the story too much to object.
—Miranda DoyleCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
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 fiance; 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 denouement. A delicious new twist along the Gossip Girl vein, readers will clamor for this sharp, smart drama of friends, lovers, lies and betrayal. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061345685
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/23/2008
Series:
Luxe Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
136,094
Product dimensions:
7.98(w) x 10.92(h) x 1.21(d)
Lexile:
990L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Luxe


By Anna Godbersen HarperTeen Copyright © 2007 Anna Godbersen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-134566-1


Chapter One The Richmond Hayes family Requests the pleasure of your company at a Ball in honor of the architect Webster Youngham on the evening of Saturday the sixteenth of September at nine o'clock at their new residence no. 670 Fifth Avenue in the city of New York

Costumes are required

They have all been asking for you," Louisa Holland told Elizabeth, quietly but firmly.

Elizabeth had spent eighteen years being groomed as her mother's prized asset and had become, among other things, an expert interpreter of her tones. This one meant Elizabeth was to return to the main ballroom and dance with a partner of her mother's choosing at once, most likely a young man of enviable, if slightly inbred, lineage. Elizabeth smiled apologetically at the girls she had been sitting with-Annemarie D'Alembert and Eva Barbey, whom she had met that spring in France and who were both dressed as courtesans from the Louis XIV era. Elizabeth had just been telling them how very far away Paris seemed to her now, though she had only stepped off the transatlantic steamer and back onto New York soil early that morning. Her old friend Agnes Jones had been perched on the ivory-and-gold striped damask love seat as well, but Elizabeth's younger sister, Diana, was nowhere to be seen. Most likely because she suspected that her behavior was being monitored, which, of course, it was. Elizabeth's irritation at the persistent childishness of her younger sister flared up, but she quickly banished the feeling.

After all, Diana hadn't enjoyed the formal cotillion debut that Elizabeth had two years ago, just after her sixteenth birthday. For the elder Holland sister there had been a year with a finishing governess-she and Penelope Hayes had shared her, along with various tutors-and lessons in comportment, dance, and the modern languages. Diana had turned sixteen last April with no fanfare during Elizabeth's time abroad. The family had still been in mourning for their father, and a big to-do had not seemed appropriate. She had simply started attending balls with Aunt Edith in Saratoga during their summer stay there, so she could hardly be held responsible for seeming a little rough.

"I'm sure you are sorry to leave your friends," Mrs. Holland said, steering her daughter from the feminine hush of the parlor and into the main ballroom. Elizabeth, in her shepherdess's costume of white brocade, looked especially bright and especially tall next to her mother, who was still wearing her widow's black. Edward Holland had passed away at the beginning of that year, and her mother would be in formal mourning for another year at least. "But you seem to be the young lady most in demand for waltzes tonight."

Elizabeth had a heart-shaped face with delicate features and an alabaster complexion. As a boy who would not enter the Richmond Hayeses' ballroom that evening once told her, she had a mouth the size and shape of a plum. She tried to make that mouth smile appreciatively now, even though she was concerned by her mother's tone. There was a new, unsettling urgency in Mrs. Holland's famously steely presence that Elizabeth had noticed almost as soon as she'd departed from that great ship. She had been gone since her father's burial nine months ago, and had spent all of spring and summer learning wit in the salons and how to dress on the Rue de la Paix and allowing herself to be distracted from her grief.

"I've already danced so many dances tonight," Elizabeth offered her mother.

"Perhaps," she replied. "But you know how very happy it would make me if one of your partners were to propose marriage to you."

Elizabeth tried to laugh to disguise the despair that comment raised in her. "Well, you are lucky I'm still so young, and we have years before I even have to begin picking one of them."

"Oh, no." Mrs. Holland's eyes darted around the main ballroom. It was dizzying, with its frosted glass dome ceiling, frescoed walls, and gilt mirrors, situated as it was at the center of a warren of smaller but equally busy and decadent rooms. Great potted palm trees were set up in a ring close to the walls, shielding the ladies at the room's edge from the frenetic dancers gliding across the tessellated marble floor. There appeared to be four servants to every guest, which seemed ostentatious even to a girl who had spent the last two seasons learning to be a lady in the City of Light. "The one thing we do not have is time," Mrs. Holland finished.

Elizabeth felt a nerve tingle up her spine, but before she could prod her mother about what that meant, they were at the perimeter of the ballroom, close to where their friends and acquaintances waltzed, nodding hello to the lavishly outfitted couples gliding across the dance floor.

They were the Hollands' peers, only seventy or so families, only four hundred or so souls, dancing as though there would be no tomorrow. And indeed, tomorrow would probably pass them by while they slept under silken canopies, waking only to accept pitchers of ice water and shoo away the maid. There would be church, of course, but after an evening so glittering and epic, the worshipers would surely be few. They were a society whose chief vocations were to entertain and be entertained, punctuated occasionally by the reinvestment of their vast fortunes in new and ever more lucrative prospects.

"The last man to ask for you was Percival Coddington," Mrs. Holland told Elizabeth as she positioned her daughter next to a gigantic rose-colored marble column. There were several such columns in the room, and Elizabeth felt sure that they were meant to impress as much as to support. The Hayes family, in building their new home, seemed to have seized on every little architectural feature as an opportunity for grandeur. "Mr. Coddington inherited his father's entire estate this past summer," her mother went on, "as you well know ...

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Luxe by Anna Godbersen Copyright © 2007 by Anna Godbersen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

Cecily von Ziegesar
“Mystery, romance, jealousy, betrayal, humor, and gorgeous, historically accurate details. I couldn’t put The Luxe down!”

Meet the Author

Anna Godbersen was born in Berkeley, California, and educated at Barnard College. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is at work on the sequel to The Lucky Ones.

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Luxe 4.2 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 648 reviews.
Angieville More than 1 year ago
Another Christmas gift, and one I wanted to read very much when it first came out, but shied away from somewhat after reading several reviews comparing it to the GOSSIP GIRL series and stating that the writing left rather a lot to be desired. Oh, I thought sadly. That's too bad. It looked better than that. So I just admired the cover from afar, and that of the sequel RUMORS. I probably would have just gone on ignoring the series if my mom hadn't given me a copy of THE LUXE. I'm glad she did.

The prologue begins with Elizabeth Holland's funeral. The darling of upper crust Manhattan society, her sudden and inexplicable drowning in the Hudson shocks everyone from her frozen fiance Henry Schoonmaker to her scornful maid Lina Broud. The story then immediately jumps back several weeks to show us how events came to such a strange state. You think Elizabeth is going to be the main character, but she's not. She's not even very likable. Quiet, passive, perfect. Perfectly boring. That's Elizabeth. And that's why her best friend Penelope Hayes hates her. Everyone assumes Henry and Elizabeth would be perfect together, while Penelope is determined to have him for herself. And if you're wondering right now if the whole thing is as Peyton Place as it sounds thus far, the answer is yes. Yes it is. It's a roiling sea of love, despair, social climbing, and backstabbing. In perfectly lovely period costumes. It's hypnotic.

The story spends time going back and forth between five Victorian teens: Elizabeth, Henry, Penelope, Lina, and Diana (Elizabeth's younger, much more likable sister). And for awhile I kept thinking, Why am I reading this? These characters are perfectly awful. But then Diana became cool. Or rather I could tell she was going to become someone who was going to be cool. So I was reading it for Diana. The others I could take or leave. But then Henry started showing some good sense and just the slightest hint of a backbone, despite his apalling sense of entitlement. So I was reading it for Diana and Henry. And the dresses. Oh, the dresses. And because I enjoyed seeing Penelope swallow her own tongue when she finds out a certain couple are engaged. And, in the end, it was like watching a train wreck. A beautiful, awful train wreck. And I couldn't tear my eyes away from it. I had to run to the library to get a copy of RUMORS to see What Happens.
evanescenceSE More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible i could not put it down. will read more.
pagese More than 1 year ago
So, I admit, I'm a sucker for awesome book covers. And who wouldn't pick up a book that involved one of those awesome dresses from back in the day. The description intrigued me as well. So it went on my to read list. I loved it! But then again, I have found myself completely enthralled with historical fiction as of late. It reads more like young adult chick-lit with some intrigue as well. It was completely worth my time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is full of drama. Since it is set in Manhattan in 1899, it is a great historical fiction novel. This book is wonderful for anyone who is a fan of Gossip Girls, and for those who just like drama!!!!
Private_Fanatic More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book!! I have read the whole series and it was AMAZING! I would recommend it to any teenage girl! I hope that you choose to pick up this book, along with the rest of the series, and enjoy the book just like I did!
ccashion More than 1 year ago
The Luxe is an amazing book about the Manhattan social scene of the late 1800s around the turn of the century. The characters are the debutantes and socialites of their day and they are full of scandal and intrigue. The book is full of plot twists and surprises and is a great book to read. Godbersen makes the world of New York come alive and you get wrapped up in the story as a character yourself. You become a fan of either Elizabeth Holland, Penelope Hayes or a fan of Diana Holland. The book was great and it was a great read and I couldn't put it down. I would definitely recommend this book to any girl who likes to read about romance, intrigue, and the scandal of New York at the turn of the century. The rest of the series is just as good, and it keeps you on your toes at every twist and turn.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
I love the setting. In New York in the 1800's where society and placement is everything, everybody sees what you wear, how you act, who you're going out with, and who you're eventually going to get married. It's all so fun when their lives are placed under a microscope (provided it's not you of course). The book provides a lot of how people used to act during that time period, and how society plays such a large role in their lives. You are introduced to the Hollands, the Schoonmakers, and the Hayes. They're the main characters in this plot. It's good. Too many families would make this confusing and hard to follow. Naturally in high society circles. Jealousy, love, backstabbing, and a lot of secrets are rampant in this novel. The plot is good and moves at a steady pace. Elizabeth tends to be the whiny one and you do have to put up with passages with her being a moody whiny twit but there's enough gossip and backstabbing in this book that you can let Elizabeth whine and just get to the good juicy parts. Plenty of scandal and secrecy that you'll feel like one of those stuffy old ladies who do nothing but gossip. :P Character wise, I really can't stand Elizabeth. Her propriety and do gooder personality just makes you want to wretch. I know she's supposed to act this way because she's socially pressured to do so but the way she treats Lina (a servant) makes you want to smack her upside the head because it just doesn't suit her personality to be mean and harsh. Her properness just doesn't suit me well and I find her wooden and like a cookie cutter character. I love Penelope even though she's a ruthless witch but she's everything you want in a villain. I loved her tantrum featured near the end of the book it's just something you would expect someone like Penelope to do. (It was very entertaining to read). I also love Diana (Elizabeth's much cooler sister). I love the way she totally disregards social mores and does whatever she feels like doing. She has great personality and unlike Elizabeth, she is the exact opposite and doesn't act like a proper lady. She does have a sharp wit and tongue which she uses to its' full capacity towards the end of the novel and which makes her the most entertaining and strongest character in this book. Overall a good quick read about the glamour and evils of high society America in the 1800's. Plenty of intrigue and the plot does have a steady pace. If you're into high society politics, this one is for you.
jennayyyyyy More than 1 year ago
The year is 1899. While women and young ladies are supposed to be demure and proper in each and every thing they do; so is not the case for many of those living in New York City. For young women, to be exact, who are committing different forms of wrongdoing, would certainly turn heads and cause whispers in upper class society. But, as long as no one finds out, I suppose it doesnt't really matter. If those secrets are revealed, however, things my not be as...peachy keen as they are now. Eighteen-year-old, Elizabeth Adora Holland, is the girl every gentleman wants to be with, and all the girls want to be. As far as society goes, Elizabeth is the ideal up-and-comer. She's demure, polite, pure, and breathtakingly beautiful. What society doesn't know about, however, are her late-night trysts with a certain member of her staff. Trysts that seem harmless and loving to Elizabeth and her...admirer, but would turn heads and cast her out the the inner circle in mere moments. When she is betrothed to the must sought-after bachelor in New York City, the world practically stops as wedding preparations begin. Unfortunately, Elizabeth's heart isn't in it, instead, her conscience and her true love take over, causing her to question her impending marriage. But with a horrible secret haunting her family, there is little she can do to save herself from a lifetime of misery, without taking matters into her own hands and doing something drastic. When Elizabeth is the perfect model of society, her sixteen-year-old sister, Diana, has practically anti-rpopar manners and living. Diana would rather spend her days reading romance novelsm and kissing random boys, than act proper. She dreams of being a heroine, who is rescued by a dashing gentleman. When she learns of the impending trouble facing her family, she relishes it-believing it will bring her some excitement. Certainly not as much excitement as her secret affair with someone else's future husband, of course. Penelope Hayes may be viewed by society as an improper floozy-esque young lady; but what she lacks in manners, she certainly makes up for in ravishing clothes, gorgeious looks, an estate that turns heads, and a bank account that leave people drowning in their own drool. On the outside, it appears that Penelope and ELizabeth are best friends, but for those on the inside, it's quite obvious that Penelope's loath and jelousy of Elizabeth dominate their relationship. Especially when Elizabeth steals the man of her dreams away from her. Now, she plans on destroying Elizabeth's future, no matter what it takes. As they say..."keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." Lina Broud has always been an outsider looking in at the priveleged world of high society. As Elizabeth's maid, she once shared a friendship with her employer. But times have changed. Elizabeth is too busy to be friends with someone beneath her, and Lina is too proud to go on serving someone so ungrateful. Luckily, Lina has some juicy gossip about Elizabeth. Gossip that could finally permit her entry into the glamorous world of high society. The question is whether or not she's capable of betraying her childhood friend for a little cold, hard cash. Enter in a world of betrayal, gossip, affairs, and consequences.
The_Amazing_Chica More than 1 year ago
The book was good, but so predictable. I always guessed what was going to happen next, and was always right. This was the only book in the series that was pretty great. The rest bothered me and I was unhappy with how the series ended for 2 of the characters. Most of the characters were unlikable from the beginning or became unlikable as time went on. I was really expecting a lot more from this book.
Martell More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent read, it has a slow start but by the middle of the book you will be so wrapped up in it, you wont be able to step away. It's very mysterious and keeps you on edge, you'll be thinking of theories and possibilities during the whole book. It's a true cliff hanger and I'm thrilled to read the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being the history buff that I am, I loved the description immediately. I also have to admit that the cover photo was what initially caught me. Who can resist those beautiful dresses? I am so glad I chose to read it and it has now made me look deeper into NYC history. I realize I was born and raised in this beautiful city but I have so mich to learn about it! Already bought the 2nd book in the series and I cant wait to start reading it!
babyflower11 More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because of the cover. It's a good reading. A good universe of the high class society. This book is for the readers who are into reading high class society and the rumors and secrets that goes behind it.
PinkChi More than 1 year ago
First of all, Anna Godbersen sets each scene with enough description that I pictured it beautifully without being bored to sleep by endless description. Secondly, The Luxe is a book of super drama and amazing manners, in a different time, but not stuffy in the least. I just could not get enough. I am a big Jane Austen fan, and I feel that this is among the same class (I never thought that I would say that about any book). I will read all of the books in the series if they prove to be as wonderful.
LizTea More than 1 year ago
The first thing that drew me to the Luxe series was, of course, the absolutely stunning covers. What girl can resist those kinds of beautiful dresses? As much as I really loved the book, I'm actually finding it kind of hard to write a review for it. My thoughts are kind of all over the place in regards to The Luxe. One thing I really liked was the flow. I'm a big fan of alternating chapters, and I found I just could not put this book down. I devoured it in two nights before bed, staying up way later than I should on a work night. I also loved all the little notes and "newspaper" clips at the beginning of each chapter. Little details like that win big points in my book. I also found I was a little duped by the jacket blurb. I assumed that the tragic death of Elizabeth occurred maybe somewhere in the middle, but not at almost the very end. I guess the funeral prologue and the jacket had me fooled. Though, maybe even because of this, I totally predicted the end. To me, there was no mystery surrounding Elizabeth's death. I think I almost would have preferred, since this is a series after all, to have the end in the next book, rather than the first. I think it would have left a little mystery, intrigue, and emotionality to the end. Of course, the most important part was the characters - five teenagers at the height of society, whether they wanted to be there or not. While I actually did like most of the "cast", I found myself thinking how God-awful selfish all of these people were at one point or another! And what an amazingly complex love-triangle/square/whatever! Elizabeth was, of course, sweet and strong, and (to me) a picture of exactly what a lady from 1899 should behave like. However, her thoughts that she could marry Henry, but still ask Will to love her were totally self-centered and rooted in fantasy. Her love to Will, though, was entirely romantic, and I wanted nothing more than for them to be together. Henry was complex for me. He's a total manwhore, but he's charming and sad all at the same time. I feel like he almost hates himself, and I found myself just wanting him to be truly happy. Penelope was eviiiil in all the right ways. I hated her and loved her. She's exactly what a perfect antagonist should be. I can honestly say I hated Lina the entire time. She just rubbed me in all the wrong ways, and I found myself wanting to reach through the pages and ring her neck. My favorite was Diana. She was wonderfully complex, and I thought her mentality was right on the mark for a sixteen-year-old. Her head is full of romance and dreams, fabulous books and poems. She's a true bohemian romantic (if a little bit of a try hard), but she's genuine and I appreciate that. I also liked that she really did the right thing in regards to Henry. She felt guilt for what she was doing, and she made the choice to push her feelings aside for her sister. I'm really looking forward to what happens with Diana in the next book, and I'm actually really crossing my fingers her wishes come true. (originally posted @ The Tealeaf Review)
shmy More than 1 year ago
I will not lie. I am a sucker for pretty covers and historical drama. AND I've been dying to get my hands on Anna Godbersen's new book Bright Young Things. But since I can't get my hands on that book right now (lack of $$$) I decided to read this series. I was surprised of how easy it is to read it, English is not my first language and I did not struggle at all reading this first book. At the same time this makes me questions how historically accurate the dialogue is. The plot felt very Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars (though I have not read either series, yes shame on me!, I am a big fan of both TV shows). I loved, loved, loved the soap-opera-ish feeling. Forced engagements, a rich family now poor, and forbidden love, and of course unrequited love. I think to enjoy this book is better to understand that the characters have hardly a redeemable quality. Take Diana for example, she only wants to be poor so that "something" happens in her life. Even self-sacrificing Elizabeth is hard to like the way she treats Will. It is even harder to understand Henry's so-called dilemma. But once you get past these issues, if you can (personally I'm trained to enjoy good drama soap-opera style) you enjoy the book. And I can safely say I'll start the sequel immediately since I can't wait to see the inevitable Diana vs. Penelope and what will happen with Dianna and Henry.
InK_Bl0t More than 1 year ago
This book was an excellent start to a wonderful series. The Luxe has a wonderful and enticing story line, and the characters are well developed. One thing I do have to say is that Lina is annoying. I find her chapters boring because she is very selfish. Diana on the other hand is fun to read about. She is the most exciting character to me out of the whole cast (along with Henry) and she is by far my favorite. I view this book as an upbeat story with an ending that will leave you hungry for more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall, not a bad book, but didn't QUITE live up to my expectations. Would I say it's worth reading? That's a yes. Elizabeth Holland is the very goody-two-shoes sister of the spunky Diana Holland. Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's best friend, is in love with Henry Schoonmaker, Elizabeth's forced fiance, and so is Diana. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is in love with one of her family's servants, Will, as well as her personal maid, Lina Broud. Read this book for the emotions and drama the story holds. Regarding the romance, I'm eleven and I read it. I think that, while it was a tad dull at times, The Luxe has many redeeming qualities: likable characters, a setting that felt real, and interesting intracacies in the plot. I must admit I loved the dresses and the relationship between Elizabeth and Will, the traditional star-crossed lovers theme. It was a good book! I've heard a lot of people comapare it to Gossip Girl, circa 19th century, and I must agree.
zgarza01 More than 1 year ago
It starts off slow as other books seting the scene for us but don't put it down. I was yelling at the book for some of decisions the characters were making but it just made in intersting. You must continue on and read the second book.
musicismypassion75 More than 1 year ago
Reading Anna Godbersen's Luxe is almost like reading a gossip magazine in book form. One of those guilty little indulgences that you're not supposed to like, but secretly everybody does. Filled with drama, gossip, and secret passion, it is not your average teen novel. Set in Manhatten, New York in the year 1899, it vivdly depicts an era in our early American history full of big ball gowns, powdered wigs, and impeccable manners. The characters of this book are portrayed so clearly that you can very easily identify with them. From rule-following Elizabeth Holland and the pressure she feels to be perfect for her family, and Elizabeth's little sister, Diana, the rebel, who only wants to escape the ridiculous restirctions put on her by being a member of a prestigious family in a time period where everything is expected of her; to pride-filled Penelope who worked so hard to give her famly social status and knows what she wants and will do anything to get it; to poor Lina Broad, who, after being fired as a maid from the Holland's house, has lied and cheated her way into becoming a lady, and keeps praying that her lies won't catch up with her. It was not only the vivid personalities of these characters that I found so fascinating, but also their relationships with other people. After Mr. Holland, Elizabeth and Diana's father, dies, the Holland family realizes that Mr. Holland owed quite a bit of debt, and the Hollands are thrust into the throes of poverty. To save their family, Elizabeth is forced to marry wealthy Henry Schoonmaker. Henry doesn't want to get married to Elizabeth any more than she does him, but he has his own reasons, or rather his father has his reasons, for proposing marriage to Elizabeth. Not only does Elizabeth not love Henry, but she is desperately in love with Will Keller, the family's coachman- a love that is, of course, forbidden in every sense of the word. As Henry spends more time with the Holland family, trying in vain to get to know Elizabeth better so that he doesn't marry a total stranger, he finds himself falling head over heels in love with spirited Diana Holland. And Diana finds herself falling for her sister's fiance as well. And then there is Miss Penelope Hayes, Henry Schoonmaker's former, brief, love interest. She had thought that Henry was going to propose marriage to her, and then he turned around and asked for her best friend's hand in marriage. She is furious at the sudden turn of events, and will stop at nothing to get everything back where she likes it. Tempers are short, emotions are high, and with all this they are all expected to keep there manners civil and demur, until nobody can take it anymore and they are thrust into a climax with a surprising ending nobody saw coming. Although the plot of this book wasn't very original, it has a lot of twists that kept it from becoming predictable. Make sure you don't pick up this book before you have anything important to do, because putting it down takes a trememdous amount of will power. Overall, this was a very good book and I would recommend it to any teenage girl, wanting to escape the realities of her present day crisis.
Daphsmomma More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. Now I love all the romance books and everything about the ton in London. This was a different mix bc it takes place in Manhatten in 1899. Well I will say that its really not much different from today if you live in a small town! All the DRAMA, and the falling in love at such a young age is all really wonderful. And it is true even now days. It was great to read 3rd person and understand not only Elizabeth but Di's story also. My fav person is Di. Her character is wonderfully written and I am enjoying reading her book right now. Although I'm not real big on all the hoop la with Penelope. Really she is just a little bit much but all in all I do recommend this book!
LJBoldyrev More than 1 year ago
On a 1-10, I give it a 10. You fall in love with the characters right from the start. Although the book is told from the (3rd person) perspective of five different characters, you sympathize with all of them (except maybe Penelope Hayes) and by the end of the book, you feel you know them like your own friends. Even the supporting characters are great! The cover of this book is beautiful and a very nice quality. It's lengthy, the paperback being 433 pages, but you never loose interest. It is definitely a page turner, even to someone like me who has never really gotten in to historical romances. Gosbersen (I love her name by the way, don't you?) recreated Manhattan island in 1899 just as you would imagine it--girls in unspeakably gorgeous gowns dancing with handsome young men at lavish parties and engaging in forbidden romances. This book is not to be missed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Set in scandalous backdrop of Manhattan 1899, this story revolves around Elizabeth and Diana Holland, who rule the social scene of NYC. But under that gorgeus gowns, fluff, and intricate world, is a horrible financial situation, far from secure. Now, Elizabeth must make a choice between true love or saving her family's social reputaion. In the meanwhile, backstabbing socialite, Penelope Hayes is stirring up trouble. She has her eyes set on Henry Schoonmaker, Manhatten's most envied and notorious bachelor. Henry, however, has other plans, which dangerously involve both Holland sisters. In the meanwhile, Lina Broud, the Holland's scheming maid, would do anything to get her hands on a fortune, and leave the formidable world of Elizabeth Holland. In this beautiful, scandalous debut novel, nothing seems perfect- even for the best.
kayti631 More than 1 year ago
The Luxe is an exemplary version of what a good book can be. I loved how Anna showed how divious these young women could be in the late 1800's. This being my favorite time era, I appreciated being able to sit down and never take my eyes off of the book, the suspense, I feel, was continuous and I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I would recommend this to anyone who knows how to appreciate a well-written book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually liked the book! It was surprising and very interesting. I loved reading it in my bed, jumping up and getting excited whenever an thrilling scene came up.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
I happen to have liked this novel because it deals with the social climbing young people right before the turn of the century. I like the fact that Elizabeth takes a huge leap and goes after her love, even though he is not in the same social class as her. Even her younger sister Diana gets caught up in a scandal of her own in this book!!! I havent bought the other books in the series, but its a good read!