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The Luxe Hardcover – November 20, 2007


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Luxe
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (November 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061345660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061345661
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 5.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With a quote from The Age of Innocence as an epigraph and an enthusiastic blurb from the creator of Gossip Girl on 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.)

From 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 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. (Fiction. YA)

More About the Author

Anna Godbersen was born in Berkeley, California and moved to New York to attend Barnard College. After graduating she worked in the literary department of Esquire magazine, where she also wrote book reviews. Her debut novel was the first installment of the bestselling LUXE series for young adults, which she followed with the BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS series. THE BLONDE, to be published by Weinstein in May 2014, is her first book for grownups. She lives in Brooklyn.

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Customer Reviews

All of the characters are developed very well.
Victoria's Wide World
This book kept me hooked from the Prologue to the very last chapter, and the ending was perfect because it ensures a sequel, which I am already anticipating.
Chelsie Lacny
This book really wasn't like that at all; it was okay and somewhat entertaining.
K. Eckert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on November 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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. Four young women, to be exact, who are committing different forms of wrongdoing, which would certainly turn heads and cause whispers in upper class society. Things that would leave them shunned. But, as long as no one finds out, I suppose it doesn't really matter. If those secrets are revealed, however, things may 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 of the inner circle in mere moments. When she is betrothed to the most 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.

While Elizabeth is the perfect model of society; her sixteen-year-old sister, Diana, is practically anti-proper manners and living. Diana would rather spend her days reading romance novels, and kissing random boys, than acting proper. She dreams of being a heroine, who is rescued by a dashing gentleman.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Anidori-Isilee on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to love THE LUXE. I really did. And I only liked it.

The book begins at the funeral of Elizabeth Holland, 1899 Manhattan's ideal young lady of the upper class. She presumably drowned in the Hudson; her body has never been recovered. This should make for a really interesting book, exploring her death and the possible causes and how everyone reacts, right? Unfortunately, this book is not about Elizabeth's death but the lives of five teenagers living in upper class Manhattan.

Elizabeth does not want to marry Henry Schoonmaker and he doesn't want to marry her, but neither have a choice. Elizabeth's family is faced with ruin if she doesn't marry; Henry, who is quite a scoundrel, is faced with being disinherited. But Penelope Hayes, daughter of a newly wealthy family, wants Henry for herself and will do anything to get him, and servant Lina Broud, who hates her mistress Elizabeth, might prove dangerous.

The characters are all stereotypical or boring. There's absolutely no thought behind the characters of Penelope, Lina, and Henry. They are exactly what you'd expect to find, and there's nothing about them that makes them stand out. Elizabeth is just dull, and the adults too have very little personality. Only Diana Holland, Elizabeth's rebellious and slightly immature younger sister, shows any potential for developing into a memorable literary character. I will read the second book, but mainly to find out what happens to Diana.

And then the writing...Godbersen tried to make her writing stand out by using vivid words, but honestly in the end her writing just seemed stilted. She seemed to do a lot more telling than showing, and sometimes she added details in places where they disrupted the story. Overall, the writing made what should have been an exciting book hard to get into.

This wasn't a bad book. I did enjoy it, but it's not as good as I was expecting.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By *Caligirl_08* VINE VOICE on November 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to love this book, I was excited about it and added it to my wish-list before it even came out. I'm a born New Yorker and have always been interested in NYC history and am pretty well read about NYC's 'gilded age' (the Astors, Vanderbildts and all that;) and I also have a love for Gossip Girl type books so I thought the marriage of the two would turn out some wonderfully entertaining reading for me :D

When it comes to historic accuracy (especially down to small details like comments about Tammany Hall or Worth, or "Mauve is a made-up color") Godbersen shines. You can tell a lot of research went in to this book! It is always a good thing when the author respects her work and her audience enough to put an effort into making a books as authentic as possible. The other thing is, she doesn't choke us down with too much detail, she gives just enough so it's there without being annoying or distracting. She is especially good at storytelling, all her words and sentences flowed together seamlessly and I only caught one typo, which for 400+ pages, we can forgive.

Now the bad:

I really hated her characters. There are six main ones (WARNING SOME OF THE FOLLOWING MIGHT BE SPOILER-ISH!) Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope, Lina, Henry and Will. From what I can tell, Elizabeth and her mom just reminded me of that whole Consuelo & Alva Vanderbilt thing (Alva, the mom basically forced Consuelo into a loveless marriage and there was a huge drama/scandal), and then Penelope reminds me of that whole Alva Vanderbilt saga in a different way because her whole family is depicted as the noveau-riche outsiders trying to break into big society. Then you get Penelope's male bff Bucky who is basically just like Mrs.
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