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Bright Young Things Kindle Edition
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The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.
Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star. . . .
Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.
The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.
Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.
Anna Godberson’s Playlist
Bright Young Things may take place during the Jazz Age, but author Anna Godberson shows us that the tunes she prefers range from Cat Power to Prince. Check out what she loves and why. (Click on the song name to listen to a sample)
"River Deep – Mountain High" by Ike & Tina Turner
I spend a lot of time in a chair in front of my computer obsessively reworking sentences. This song is ecstatic and full of life and whenever I hear it I want to get up and move.
"Lived in Bars" by Cat Power
This song sounds to me like the wise, sad, tired, wired, voice of experience, the kind of beauty that you can only see after you’ve been worn down. That’s what Bright Young Things is all about.
"You Said Something" by PJ Harvey
This one is like an exquisite New Yorker story, perfect in its simplicity and specificity but universal in what it expresses.
"California" by Joni Mitchell
That’s where I’m from, and this is the soundtrack of my homesickness. Plus, the lyrics are literary and whip-smart and impossible for a California girl to forget.
"Go West" by Liz Phair
People like to make fun of Liz Phair these days, but her voice was the voice of my young womanhood, and “Go West” was the anthem of all to-hell-with-men, bridge-burning episodes.
"Love Me Like A Man" by Bonnie Raitt
The title says it all, and it just gets better from there.
"Tell It Like It Is" by Etta James
Awesome plea for romantic decency, but in that raw, lusty, commanding voice. After at least four thousand listens, I still nod along like the first time.
"You Only Live Once" by The Strokes
Not to date myself, but around the time I graduated from college, this was the coolest band to mock. Who cares? In my opinion, this is the ultimate jogging song.
"I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" by Prince
This is also an instant dance party number for me—is anyone as weird and cool as Prince?
"God" by John Lennon
To me, this is the ultimate expression of an artist’s belief in self. There is something bleak, but also really clear-eyed and uplifting about. Plus, it’s gorgeous.
"Bring It On Home to Me" by Sam Cooke
If I could curl up in Sam Cooke’s voice and sleep forever, I’d do it. This one is just so desperate and romantic and it sounds just like what it means.
"Like A Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan
My parents were hippies, and I grew up in the Church Of Dylan. For a guaranteed good time, get on the freeway, roll the window down, step on the gas, and turn the volume up on this number. Please be prepared to sing along.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B003VIWO1G
- Publisher : HarperCollins; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
- Publication date : October 12, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 777 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 404 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #961,855 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I have to admit that I was a bit dubious when I first spied the cover. I mean, come on, a beautiful flapper girl in an ephemeral dress, wearing a Mona Lisa smile? It led me to believe that I’d find something flighty and frivolous and romantic within these pages. Imagine my surprise when, in the first two paragraphs of the book, I found this to be not only much more somber than I first surmised, but also well-researched and well-written:
“It is easy to forget now, how effervescent and free we all felt that summer. Everything fades: the shimmer of gold over White Cove; the laughter in the night air; the lavender early morning light on the faces of skyscrapers, which had suddenly become so heroically tall. Every dawn seemed to promise fresh miracles, among other joys that are in short supply these days. And so I will try to tell you, while I still remember, how it was then, before everything changed – that final season of an era that roared.
By the summer of 1929, when the weather was just getting warm enough that girls could exhibit exactly how high hemlines had risen, Prohibition had been in effect for so long it had ceased to bother anyone much. The city had a speakeasy per every fifty souls, or so the preachers liked to exclaim on Sundays, and sweet-faced girls from the hinterlands were no longer blinded by wood alcohol, for the real stuff had become plenty easy to get. The Eighteenth Amendment had converted us all to grateful outlaws.”
This book was everything I needed and more. Set in New York City during the summer of 1929, it follows the lives, loves and tragedies of three Bright Young Things: Astrid, Cordelia, and Letty. These women flocked to the city along with thousands of others during prohibition because hemlines were higher, the morals were looser, the gin flowed freely, and it was where anyone who had grown too big for their small town went to escape their drab lives in favor of something flashier.
I immediately found myself immersed within their stories. Theirs could be the cautionary tales of any countless real life flappers, heiresses or actresses that strolled the streets of New York during prohibition, and because of Godbersen’s flawless characterization, I found myself forgetting that this was fiction.
Less than a chapter in, I forgot I was even reading. Godbersen’s writing is an art form in and of itself, and sadly, it’s a dying one. In these times of short attention spans and fractured sentences, the long, beautifully descriptive passages of yesteryear are falling to the wayside. It leaves those of us who grew up with the classics and the never-ending, Dickensian style run-on sentences bereft.
So hell yes, Anna Godbersen, for penning these gorgeous, free-flowing, sometimes paragraph long sentences. Never change.
I’m going to go ahead and say something pretty controversial right now. People Who Know What They’re Talking About claim that The Great Gatsby is the quintessential roaring twenties novel. They say that it defines an era. I disagree. Because of the protagonist’s detached personality, I never really feel the frenetic energy that rages all around him. While reading Bright Young Things, I felt it. Hard.
This book perfectly captures what comes to mind when I think about the 1920s. While I was lost within its pages, something magical happened: I felt my feet tapping to the jazz that played inside my head; I heard the tinkling laughter of socialites mixing with the darker chuckles of gangsters; I found my thoughts slowed by gin; I half-turned to catch the eye of the handsome stranger who wasn’t there. I was feverish, infected by the craic of a bygone era. I forgot that I live in a cold world of computers, where people prefer to communicate through devices instead of speaking aloud.
For a few fleeting hours, I lived in a time where anything was possible. Where, for the first time in history, farm girls could find fame on stage. Where coal miners made their fortunes from contraband grain alcohol. Where oil tycoons and cab drivers rubbed elbows at underground boxing matches.
But be warned. Everything is not sunshine and roses within this book. This is not a romance novel. These girls learn hard, believable life lessons, and they’re not easy to love. These are complicated characters; sometimes flighty, sometimes wise beyond their years, sometimes tragically naïve, and sometimes frustratingly selfish. To me, their realistic portrayal was part of the genius of this novel.
Everything goes to hell for them about the 80% mark, and Godbersen builds to this moment flawlessly. By the time I climbed to the climax of the story, I was wound so tight that I was holding my breath, because I knew, I just knew, that heartbreak lay around the turn of the next page. And I was right.
And I loved every minute of it.
After leaving a small town in Ohio behind for New York City, best friends Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey separate after a disagreement and begin to search for their dreams alone. Letty seeks fame, to be the next starlet in the city, and she knows she's got the skill. But she'll soon realize that fame always comes with a price. Cordelia reunites with the father she was never given the chance to know, a bootlegger who's famous during a time of prohibition, and a brother as well. But even her dream life begins to complicate when she meets a young man whom she adores...and who happens to be exactly the type of person her new family wants her to keep away from. Astrid, the girlfriend of Cordelia's new brother, is thrilled to have a new friend in Cordelia. Yet trouble in paradise begins to stir, leaving her life to become a mess. As the champagne pours, and the city-dwellers dance and drink their worries away in a nearby speakeasy, three girls will have their lives changed completely.
Review: Just as addictive as the Luxe series, Godbersen does not disappoint with Bright Young Things.
After an intriguing and mysterious first-person prologue, the narration switches to third person and follows Cordelia, Letty, and Astrid: The girls of 1929. Letty, the sweet and slightly timid yet talented girl trying to make it in a big city. Cordelia, confidant at any cost, is attempting to fit into her new life. And then there's Astrid, sassy and a bit impulsive, who calls everyone "darling" and will have you wrapped around her finger in moments. Each girl different and unique in her own way, and I always found it easy to be interested in each of their stories. Even when one of them was about to do something foolish, I still cared about them and hoped for the best. Some the young men of Bright Young Things could use a bit more page-time, but they each manage to stand out in their own ways.
The description is wonderful and the city comes to life with every turn of the page. From lavish parties to breathtaking views of the city to sweet romantic moments, each is described perfectly to the point where it's easy to feel as if you were right beside the characters. There's mystery, romance, secrets, drama, and by the breathtaking end you'll be wishing for the second installment.
Highlights: Godbersen knows how to write in such a way that leaves the reader incapable of setting her novels aside. The pages fly by quickly and the writing flows effortlessly. I can never get enough of her books, they always manage to completely and utterly captivate me from the cover to the very last page.
Lowlights: A few times where the pace slowed (it may bother some readers, but I enjoyed it nevertheless).
Top reviews from other countries
Is it supposed to be part 1 of 2 (or more) but if so why is there no mention of this anywhere?
Sorry but for me this really good read just sort of petered out with a wimp