Book Reviews Young Adult Books

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

8 of 10: The Luxe was just a fun fun read; I don’t see much YA historical fiction set at the turn of the century, but I was completely sucked in to it. Romance, intrigue, class-warfare – what’s not to like?

I picked up The Luxe in MARCH from the library. I read 20 pages and then got busy with school and kept renewing it until eventually I had to return it. A few weeks later I checked it out again and renewed it without opening it.

Finally, yesterday on the flight home from Las Vegas, I picked it back up and finished the whole thing by dinner time. I don’t know what took me so long!

The book begins with the funeral of Elizabeth Holland, one of New York City’s high society girls, on the day she was supposed to have married one of the city’s most eligible bachelors. It introduces the main characters present at the funeral and then backs up about two weeks to show the events leading up to Elizabeth’s death and the roles of the various friends and family of Elizabeth.

I told Bart the whole story and he thought it sounded fascinating, so half of me is tempted to tell you about all the surprising little twists and turns, the various romances, the backstabbing, and the pressures of society to do the “right” thing. But on the other hand, I loved reading it with absolutely no idea how things were going to turn out or any expectations, and I don’t want to to ruin it for anyone who might read it.

Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the five main characters (1. Elizabeth, 2. Diana, Elizabeth’s younger sister, 3. Penelope, Elizabeth’s best friend, 4. Lina, Elizabeth’s maid, and 5. Harry, Elizabeth’s betrothed). Sometimes this multiple POV can drive me crazy, but it was perfect in this book. The character development is very strong and I, especially for some of the characters, was both repelled and delighted by them simultaneously.

The historical background is also great – there is a lot of detail about the city, the lifestyle, and the social expectations without it feeling forced.

It’s no Jane Austen, but it’s a delightful book, perfect for a plane ride or an afternoon on the couch. I loved every last page.

Frankly, the cover alone should be enough to sell you on the book; I adore that dress.

Now, of course, I’m frantically combing the library for a checked in copy of Rumors (and the one after that, Envy). Story of my life.

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  • Reply nancypearlwannabe June 17, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I love, love, love these books. I want them to be made into a movie! And I want to be in it, in period dress! Wait till you get to Envy. I think that was my fave.

  • Reply Norby Family June 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    The first one is good, the second one is great and the third is amazing! THey just get better and better. My jaw dropped at the end of the second and the third I couldn't read fast enough. I can't wait til the 4th comes out this fall!

  • Reply Peacefull Reader June 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I love the dress! Seriously what fun to wear that dress-just for a day! Oh, and great review as well! I need to put it on my list.

  • Reply Bean June 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Totally random but just thought of it….you should read Sunday at Tiffany's by James Patterson. Super fast read and really cute. 🙂

  • Reply Amy June 17, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I am so behind and have not read this series yet…
    but since you say it's good I may have to go buy it:-D I'm just worried it will be too superficial…

  • Reply emandtrev June 18, 2009 at 12:34 am

    How funny is this–I picked up a copy of this book at the library yesterday because it looked like a fun read. I then thought, "Hmm…I'll check Janssen's blog to see if she's reviewed it!" What great timing! Can't wait to read it!

  • Reply Kaitlyn June 18, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Ha. Add this to the list!!!

  • Reply Tiqa Khairi June 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I've heard rave reviews about this book! Need to go and buy it!!

    Aren't all the dress beautiful?

  • Reply Emily June 18, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I've been wanting to read this book foe ages and now I definitely will. It sounds like were in vegas at the same time. We just got back last night.

  • Reply Miriam June 18, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I'm going to read it just because of the dress 🙂

  • Reply Miriam June 18, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Just want you to know, I joined that book group a couple of years ago to get ideas of good books to read – it was always a crap shoot at the library, hoping I came home with something enjoyable! Well, have quit the book group, I have such a long list of books from your blog I'll never get through them all!!

  • Reply Trish June 19, 2009 at 2:48 am

    SIGH. I totally want a dress like this one. I'm not terribly interested in the books, but I gotta say that cover is mighty appealing. I have a 17 year old sister and have been thinking about picking these up for her (although, she's probably the only teen on the planet who got halfway through Breaking Dawn and stopped!) Seriously? Seriously!

  • Reply Alison Stewart June 19, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    As you know…I have been waiting for this post….with that said, it will be my next read. I have seen the series a million times…and wondered…"is it any good". BTW-glad you didn't give anything away.

  • Reply Lisa June 22, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Hmmm. This is one that I've been skipping reviews of because it didn't really hold my interest. The part that you *didn't* tell us is appealing to me though.

  • Reply liz July 31, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Ooh, I want to read this. That cover is really beautiful!

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