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Rumors (Luxe Series #2)
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Rumors (Luxe Series #2)

4.2 379
by Anna Godbersen

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Gossip Girl meets the Gilded Age in this delicious and compelling novel, the second in the New York Times bestselling series from author Anna Godbersen.

True Love.

False Friends.

Scandalous Gossip.

This is Manhattan, 1899.

After bidding good-bye to New York’s brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her


Gossip Girl meets the Gilded Age in this delicious and compelling novel, the second in the New York Times bestselling series from author Anna Godbersen.

True Love.

False Friends.

Scandalous Gossip.

This is Manhattan, 1899.

After bidding good-bye to New York’s brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family’s only hope for redemption; New York’s most notorious cad, Henry Schoonmaker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind—including Henry; even Elizabeth’s scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency.

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan’s most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal…. or more precious than a secret.

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

– Cecily von Ziegesar, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Gossip Girl series

Editorial Reviews

Cecily von Ziegesar
Praise for The Luxe: “Mystery, romance, jealousy, betrayal, humor, and gorgeous, historically accurate details. I couldn’t put The Luxe down!”
Children's Literature - Heather Robertson Mason
Fabulous clothes. Sparkling jewelry. Expensively decorated mansions. Steamy scandals. Sexy gossip. Seems like a modern TV series, but this story takes place in 1899. As 1900 is approaching, New York is the place to see and be seen and all the rich and famous are out to play. Penelope Hayes has set her eyes on Henry Schoonmaker, her late best-friend's fiance. She is determined to make him marry her at any cost. Henry, however, is not interested. His heart belongs to Diana Holland, the little sister of his fiance. Add into the mix Lina Broud, a maid trying to lie her way into the ritzy social scene, Davis Barnard, the local gossip columnist, and Elizabeth Holland, the supposedly dead fiance, and you have a story perfect for the society pages. If you know someone who loves Gossip Girl, they will love this book. It is the second in the "Luxe" series, but other than a few references to previous events, readers can dive right in. There are a few mature scenes and concepts that are more appropriate to older teens, but if a middle school student is an advanced enough reader, these scenes are neither graphic nor disturbing. This book is a wonderful example of the "how the better half lives" genre, a genre popular with teens. Exciting, fast paced, and hard to put down, this book is a great read. Reviewer: Heather Robertson Mason
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
This sequel to Godbersen's previous YA novel, The Luxe, continues the stories of Elizabeth and Diana Holland, Henry Schoonmaker, Penelope Hayes, and Carolina Broud at the very end of 1899 in Manhattan. Elizabeth has joined her true love, Will Keller, in Carolina where he is exploring for oil. Only her sister and Penelope know she's alive, but rumors are flying among high society that she might not really be dead. Carolina has used the money she made selling Holland family secrets to set herself up as a lady at a fancy hotel. She believes that, once she finds Will, her makeover will convince him that he made a mistake in passing her over for Elizabeth. Diana and Henry are still engaged in their clandestine love for each other, while Penelope is working behind the scenes to become the next Mrs. Henry Schoonmaker. The rich descriptions of manners, mode and settings are great fun for historical fiction fans. Snippets of gossip and advice columns preface each chapter to lend an aura of authenticity. Romance readers will also find this an enjoyable if somewhat erratic ride—one can't help but feel emotionally manipulated by the author. There are no romantic happy endings here, but the stage is certainly set for the sequel. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
VOYA - Kimberly Paone
Taking up where The Luxe (HarperTeen, 2007/VOYA December 2007) left off, Godbersen's sophomore effort does not disappoint. Elizabeth has managed to fake her death so that she is free to be with Will, her true love and one of the family's servants. The two are living a rustic but happy life in California. Penelope is glad to have Liz out of the way; she believes that once the mourning period is over, Henry will be hers. Unbeknownst to Penny, however, Henry has fallen in love with Diana, Elizabeth's sister, and his misery has nothing to do with mourning and everything to do with being away from his beloved. Meanwhile Elizabeth's former maid, in an attempt to make something of herself, is selling family secrets to Penelope. Carolina gains some of this information by speaking to her sister, Claire, who serves as Diana's maid. It is Claire who spills the beans about finding Diana and Henry in a compromising position. Carolina passes that information on to Penelope, and Penelope uses it to blackmail Henry into changing his destiny. This book is another delicious read that will captivate teenaged girls. The historical elements and the author's expertise in weaving together several story lines make it a much more solid choice than some of the fluffier teen series available. The reader's only frustration will be reaching the end and realizing that the third book in the series, Envy, has yet to be published. Reviewer: Kimberly Paone

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Luxe Series , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Rumors: A Luxe Novel

Chapter One

It has been a dreary few months in New York, given the death of Miss Elizabeth Holland—who was one of society's favorites—and the blizzard that arrived in late November and left the city blanketed for days. But elegant New York has not given up hope for a fine winter season of evenings at the opera and gay cotillions. And our eye has more than once been caught by the newly ladylike comportment of Miss Penelope Hayes, who was the best friend of Miss Holland during her short life. Could Miss Hayes inherit her mantle of impeccable decorum and congeniality?

—From Cité Chatter, Friday, December 15, 1899

"Excuse me, miss, but is it really you?"

The day was clear and bracingly cold, and as Penelope Hayes turned slowly to her left, where the crowd had massed along the narrow cobblestone street, she exhaled a visible cloud of warm breath. She focused her large lake-blue eyes on the eager face of a girl who could not have been much older than fourteen. She must have emerged from one of those tenement buildings, which rose shoulder to shoulder, at imprecise angles, behind the masses of people. A jungle of black wires was strung from their rooftops, cutting ribbons out of the sky. The girl wore a black coat that had turned almost gray with wear, and her already pinkish complexion had gone patchy red in the cold. Penelope met her eyes and spread her plush lips into their warmest smile.

"Why, yes." She drew herself up, willing the full effect of her slim frame, her elegantly ovular face, her incandescent skin. There had been a time when she was knownas the pretty daughter of a nouveau riche, but she had recently taken to wearing the pastels and whites preferred by the demurest girls her age, mindful of their conjugal connotations—although today, given the state of the streets she was traversing, she had chosen a darker hue. She extended her gloved hand and said, "I am Miss Hayes."

"I work at Weingarten the furriers'," the girl went on shyly. "I've seen you once or twice from the backroom."

"Oh, then I must thank you for your service," Penelope replied graciously. She inclined her body forward in a gesture that might almost be called a bow, although the stiff Medici collar of her navy cloth coat with gold piping made it difficult to move her head in a truly humble manner. When she met the girl's eyes again, she quickly added, "Would you like a turkey?"

Already the procession was moving along ahead of her. The marching band playing noels had crossed onto the next block, and she could hear the voice of Mr. William Schoonmaker through the megaphone moving along just behind the band. He was wishing the crowds who thronged the sidewalks a joyous season, and reminding them in as subtle a manner as he was able who had paid for their holiday parade. For the parade had been his idea, and he had financed the band and the traveling nativity scene and the holiday fowl, and he had arranged for various society matrons and debutantes of his acquaintance to pass them out to the poor. They were the real attraction, Penelope couldn't stop herself from thinking, as she turned to her loyal friend Isaac Phillips Buck and reached into the large burlap sack he was carrying.

Even through her dogskin gloves and a layer of newspaper wrapping, she could feel the cold squishiness of the bird. It was heavy and awkward in her hands, and she tried not to show any signs of revulsion as she moved forward with the promised Christmas turkey. The girl looked at the package in a blank way and her smile faded.

"Here," Penelope said, trying not to rush her words. She suddenly, desperately needed the girl to take the turkey from her. "For you, for your family. For Christmas. From the Schoonmakers . . . and from me."

The moment lengthened in front of her, and then abruptly the girl's smile returned. Her whole mouth hung open with joy. "Oh, Miss Hayes, thank you! From me . . . and . . . and . . . from my family!" Then she took the weighty bird from Penelope and turned back to her friends in the crowd. "Look!" she caroled. "This turkey was given to me especially by Miss Penelope Hayes!"

Her friends gasped at the prized bird and shot shy looks at the girl in the fitted coat. Already they felt they knew her from seeing her fantastical name so often in the society pages. She stood before them as the rightful heir to the place in the public's heart once held by her best friend, Elizabeth Holland, before Elizabeth's tragic drowning a few months before. Of course, Elizabeth had not drowned, and was in fact very much alive—a fact Penelope knew quite well, since she had helped the "virginal" Miss Holland disappear so that she might more easily be with that member of her family's staff she'd apparently been enamored with. And so that, more importantly, Penelope could reclaim what was rightfully hers: the fiancé Elizabeth had left behind. Her ascension was so nearly complete that already society's most exalted matrons, as well as its newspaper chroniclers, were whispering how very much more Elizabeth-like she seemed now.

This was not something Penelope would have previously found flattering—goodness being rather overrated, in her private opinion—but she had begun to see that it had its advantages. Penelope repaid the warm embrace of the girl's adulation by lingering a moment longer, her eyes beaming and her smile as broad as it had ever been. Then she turned to Buck, who was highly visible in his gray check suit and amber-colored dress shirt and a coat of beaver fur that covered the length of his generous body.

"You've just got to get me out of here," she whispered. "I haven't seen Henry all day, and I'm cold, and if I have to touch another—"

Buck stopped her with a knowing look. "I will take care of everything."

His features were soft, muted by the fleshiness of his face, and his fair eyebrows were sculpted in a way that lent him the appearance of canniness. A few more ladies, in their wide hats and elaborately lapelled coats, passed by, followed by a marching band. Penelope looked back up the street in the direction of the elder Schoonmaker's voice and knew that his son, Henry, with his dark eyes and his troublemaker's lilt, must be crossing into new streets along with him. Her heart sank a little. Then she turned back to Buck, who had already formulated a plan.

Buck was over six feet tall and his body expanded outward imposingly, and he moved now, as he so often had before, to shield the girl who most benefited from his loyalty. He had not been born rich—though he claimed to be a relation of the famous Buck clan who these days mostly resided in grand old moldering mansions in the Hudson Valley—but was invaluable when it came time to host a party, and as such was often given fine things for free. Penelope pulled the veil of her hat down over her face and followed him into the crowd. Once they had made their way safely through the throng, Buck dropped his cumbersome bag of turkeys and helped Penelope into a waiting brougham.

Rumors: A Luxe Novel. Copyright © by Anna Godbersen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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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Rumors 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 374 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The mysterious death of Elizabeth Holland still hangs onto the hearts of those whom she was close to. Her fiancé remembers the look she gave him the last time their eyes met and it continues to haunt him. Only Diana Holland and Penelope Hayes know the truth behind Elizabeth's death. That she didn't in fact perish, but fled New York to follow her one true love, Will Keller.

Penelope has her heart set on claiming everything that Elizabeth left behind, including her fiancé, Henry Schoonmaker. Henry, however, is even more aware of his feelings for the younger Holland sister, Diana.

Lina Broud, the Holland's former maid, continues to rise into society as she had often dreamed. Box seats at the Opera and lavish parties are now her reality. She also continues to be a cause of trouble for the Holland sisters, with the help of Penelope Hayes.

When Elizabeth receives word that her mother is ill and that the family is in financial disarray, she knows that she must return to New York. Even if it means revealing the scandalous nature of her true disappearance. Elizabeth never could have imagined what events would unfold next.

RUMORS was an entertaining and captivating sequel to THE LUXE. If possible, it may be even better than its predecessor! Godbersen continues to impress me with her writing and flair for the dramatic. Although I initially started reading this book for its historical fiction aspect, I couldn't help but become engrossed in all components of the story!

Diana continues her reign as my favorite character. I admire her strength and compassion. Penelope, unfortunately, continues to be her evil, conniving self, and I only hope that she gets what she deserves in the end. I have come to know and care for these characters and I was very surprised and shocked by the ending! I have to say I was a little disappointed at first and thought that certain aspects were unnecessary, but not every book can have a happy ending.

I have faith in Godbersen's creative mind and I can't wait to see what she has devised next. I will eagerly be waiting for the release of ENVY.
SquirtAH More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put rumors down! Rumors was so much better than luxe. this whole series is petty good. it makes you keep guessing then makes a huge twist
ali_catt More than 1 year ago
Wow.I thought this book was very good. It suprised me alot near the ending, and at times it was really sad, but i love it! It had a lot of drama, which I enjoyed very much. Overall, I thought it was a great book. :]
Whisperlynn More than 1 year ago
The follow-up to The Luxe, exceeds anticipations. The world created by the writer is beautifully described and pulls the reader into all that we dreamed about as little girls. The american "royalty" depicted is extremely beleivable and fantastic at the same time...even the scandals, back-stabbing, and munipultions are as enjoyable to the reader as the daydream quality this series exudes. If you enjoyed The Luxe, you will rave about Rumors...this is one I will read over and over!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i just read the book, and overall i like the book. I don't know why i didn't pick up this book earlier and i always see this book right in front of me but idk. Penelope is such a witch, i can't think of anyone to be so evil and exhausting just reading whats going through this characters mind. I feel so sorry for Diana and Elizabeth, the way it had end in this book for them. Lina, i don't know what to think about her, i somewhat feel bad for her and i get how shes trying to fit in with the high class crowd but i also think its so wrong for her to sell out the Hollands of all their secrets, when she has one of her own. Although i like how detailed the author is to make the scenes of the book suck you in and like your right their watching every move these characters make. Oh yah i love the covers of the books its very eyes catching and gorgeous!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rumors is the sequel to The Luxe, which set the stage of the backstabbing social world of NYC at the turn of the twentieth century. All eyes are upon Diana Holland, the late Elizabeth Holland's younger sister, the family's only hope of redeeming their financial situaton. In the meanwhile, Penelope Hayes, NYC's most envied girl in society, is stirring trouble by trying to take everything Elizabeth left, including her fiance. Now, however, everyone is watching Henry Schoonmaker, NYC's most notorious bachelor, to see whom is next for his proposal after the tragic passing of Elizabeth. Then, there is Carolina Broad a newcomer, an immediate exotic beauty. But, behind the rich and glamorous heiress is a vulnerable girl, once Lina Broud, the Holland's former maid. Once again Anna Godbersen spins a phenomenal, scandalous tale, of how even the best are not quite the best.
Angieville More than 1 year ago
Well, everyone's in love with the one person they can't have and no one seems to be able to communicate their woe to anyone who could help. Must be Tuesday in Luxeland. RUMORS is the second volume in the Luxe series and, as the deep red dress and haughty gaze of the cover model suggest, things are just getting worse and worse for our crew of Manhattan debutantes/bachelors/scheming underlings. I checked this copy out from the library and the girl at the checkout desk smiled knowingly and said, "I liked this one." I smiled and said, "I just finished THE LUXE." Her grin got bigger. "I liked this one much better," she said. So. There you go. I was beginning to get the impression that lovers of THE LUXE fell into two categories: even bigger lovers or big time haters of RUMORS. I was interested to see which category I fell into (if any).

So everyone thinks Elizabeth Holland is dead. And pretty soon (oh, let's go ahead and say it) shockingly soon, everyone thinks Henry Schoonmaker should just say enough with the mourning and go ahead and marry Penelope Hayes since it is clear they were Meant To Be. What with the being rich and hot and whatnot. But then Elizabeth Holland is not actually dead, is she? And Henry is not actually in love with Penelope, is he? Meanwhile, Lina is masquerading about as a mining heiress from Utah (LOL), Penelope is advancing on Henry like a post-coital black widow, and the weight of the world rests squarely on Diana's little shoulders as she is the one who is now expected to make a most advantageous marriage to save the family name. Just not the advantageous marriage she'd like to make.

I liked this one. Liked it just as much as the first one, in fact. I continue to enjoy Diana and Henry and what's going on there. I continue to hate Penelope unreservedly and feel almost unbearably embarrassed for Lina around the clock. Although I do wonder about Tristan. As I was never a fan of the whole Elizabeth and Will thing, I was perfectly happy to have them off screen (for the most part). And I have to say, I really liked the ending. I mean it was exactly the awful thing you were expecting down to the last dewy glance. In slow motion. But then the last page was just so awesome and fierce in its way, that I'm really looking forward to reading ENVY and consuming another volume of decadent treats on display.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anna Godbersen gave readers a delicious follow up to The Luxe in this exquisitely scandalous novel. Rumours brings us back to all our favorite characters, and all the ones we love to hate. There's Elizabeth Holland, now out west and forging a new life with Will after she escaped from Manhatten's social scene by faking her own death. Her sister, Diana, is pretending to mourn for her and being presured to make a good marriage as the family fortune dwindles. And all the while she's pining away for her sister's former fiance... Penelope Hayes, who has her eyes on Henry as well, is playing the part of the demure debutante so she can impress his father. Meanwhile, Lina Broud is discovering that being a lady means more than having money. And Henry Schoonmaker himself, Manhattan's own heartthrob, who faces the possibilty of being seperated from his love forever. In her second novel, Anna Godbersen's writing has improved. The characters are more developed, and Manhatten 1899 is a fully believable setting. Cholk-full of intriuge and good use of the English language, the second installment in the series is more than just teen fluff. This time around you have sympathy for all the characters, who happen to have twice as many juicy secrets. You won't be able to put Rumours down, and it will leave you longing for more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yum, yum, yum. This book was just as delightful as the first one in the series which I am really happy about. Sometimes, you get an amazing first book and then a really bad sequel, but in the Luxe series, that is not the case. Thankfully. I completely loved hearing more about all of the scandal surrounding the families that I had come to know and love in the previous book. I think one of the things that is the best about this series is that Anna Godbersen has the perfect writing style to go along with the storyline. She knows how to write so that even the language aspect of the book draws you into a world that's far from your own. Also, the plot was really amazing. There were a ton of twists and surprises that left my mouth open, and my mind scrambling. But in a good way of course. These were nice and luscious twists that were completely plausible but at the same time unexpected. The ending especially nearly wrenched me apart. I almost cried! Yikes! It's a little wierd to confess to crying over a book that's purely fluff made for enjoyment. But it's the kind of book that gets you to relate to the characters and actually care about what happens to them. That's definitely one of the parts that keeps me coming back for more. I feel like I'm actually in the turn of the century New York, which is saying something because not only do I have no idea what New York's like, I do not in any way know what anything around that time period would be like. But the book is such that you can't help but be drawn in. And although this series is completely fluffy, I still love it to pieces and I can't wait for the next book, Envy. If you haven't read the first book, The Luxe, you had better go and pick it up soon!
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I didn't like this sequel at all, made me stop reading their series.
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This whole series is really great, I couldn't put the books down! Not only was it was entertaining but I learned a lot about the 1900s and realized how not much has changed in social gossip. Read these books, you will not regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series of books are very entertaining and are hard to put down. I read this particular book in an entire day. I love the detail the author uses that paints a picture of 19th century America. I love these novels although i must say the only characters I am hoping come out on top are Diana and Henry. Elizabeth was unconventionally mean to Lina and Lina has just taken things way too far. Penelope sucks...point, blank, period. But I must say i was so sad because of what happened to Will and I found it odd how easily Lina got over it. Hmmmmm juicy stuff! Cant wait to find out what happens next!
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