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The Luxe Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 20, 2007
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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.Read more ›
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.
That is not to say the book was on the whole terrible. The descriptions of the lavish way of life certainly inspired me, placing me within the glittering late Victorian world. My main qualm was the characters. To me, they just didn't seem to embody the spirit of the age. I am not a prude, to be sure, as I read things that have sexual depictions, but the casualness of the depicted sex left a bad taste in my mouth. I could not care much for any of the characters because they seemed so bratty and duplicitous with their so-called friends. There wasn't even a good loathing hate that can come from an excellent depiction of a villain, just a dislike for everyone.
Perhaps I should have thought twice about wanting to read a book that talked about the bad girls acting bad and the good girls also acting bad, but I suppose I just wanted the book to be something else. So while I have been a little scathing, there is certainly an audience for this book, if you like the kind of modern melodrama with plenty of sex and betrayal along with a dose of "friendship." And there are beautiful descriptions of the luxury of the times which are quite impressive and vivid. A mixed bag for me, but sure to be a catch for those who like this sort of thing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not too bad, but the story doesn't really get going until about 70% of the way through it. Before then it's mostly a discussion of English propriety. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Beth
I enjoyed this book very much. It was much more interesting to read a novel about mean girls, unrequited love, and drama set in 1899. The writing style was beautiful.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
Historical fiction is not my favorite. It was an interesting but predictable storyline.Published 2 months ago by S. Bransley
This book was great. It was recommended to me and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.Published 6 months ago by Lauren
I didn't think I'd like this book after reading the first few chapters, but I kept reading. It gets to be a rather enjoyable, if dramatic, story. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jwb52z
I liked this book but I didn't LOVE this book. I'm definitely reading the sequel because ithis book ended so well. Read morePublished 11 months ago by KY Reader
If you like mystery, intrigue in a girlish book, you will find this book easy to get into. I can't wait to read the next in the series.Published 12 months ago by Michele
Anna Godbersen’s writing reminds me of Edith Wharton’s when she wrote The Age of Innocence. Like that older novel, The Luxe depicts New York’s high society. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer