Read The Luxe by Anna Godbersen Online


Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups. This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure,Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups. This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone--from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud--threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future. With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear... In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent....

Title : The Luxe
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061345661
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 433 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Luxe Reviews

  • Merary
    2019-01-19 18:48

    Maybe at this moment you're checking my rating and thinking, "What the fuck?!"I'm going to tell you something: I enjoy reading shallow, trashy books. Somehow they pull me into a world of bitchy, spoiled, backstabbing characters; name-dropping and the need to choke them all for being so damn stupid. And I fucking love it. You know why? Because they keep me interested in their stupidity. The more books I read, the less I stop searching for trashy books. A girl like me can only handle enough in their chest. Take for example the series Gossip Girl. The main characters are so spoiled that I want to smack them around. They back-stab the people they like, treat everyone else like crap because they aren't as spoiled as they are, and the main male protagonist always cheats on his girlfriend with her best friend. So why do I read that crap? Because they keep me intrigued. All these things they do make me want to know what stupidities are they going to do next. Nothing is as delicious like some juicy drama. Also revenge, but that's another story.So, The Luxe. . .I don't know exactly what made me interested in these books, but one thing is for sure: That dress is beautiful! Just look at it! It's so pink and fluffy!! That being said, I read the back cover:Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.This is Manhattan, 1899.*re-reads* Hot damn! I am so in!!At that time, I haven't read enough historical fiction to know what was the good quality ones and the bad quality ones. I was only interested on what this book was going to contain.The main protagonists, Elizabeth and Diana Holland, are the major socialites of Manhattan. Everyone envies them. But what the public doesn't know is that they're broke. The only solution for this problem is that Elizabeth should marry the handsome bachelor, Henry Schoonmaker (HA! What a stupid last name!). Problem is, Penelope Hayes--Elizabeth's on and off best friend--wants Henry and she and him were supposed to be a couple. Also, Elizabeth is in love with Will Keller, her coachman. Unfortunately, Lina Broud, one of the house's servants, is in love with him as well and she's determined to win him. See what I mean? This is exactly the type of drama I love! Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't think this book was a literary sensation. My ratings aren't just about how good a book is, it is also about entertainment value. And you better believe that this book was a heck of an entertainment! Sure, this book isn't historically accurate, but that didn't stop me from enjoying them. I thought the writing was alright, and obviously so much better than the other authors who write trashy books. I only recommend this series if you enjoy reading catty characters.P.S. Did you really expect these books to be exquisite historical fiction? Did you notice who reviewed the books on the back? That's right. Cecily Von Ziegesar, the creator of the Gossip Girl series, did. Coincidence? I think not.

  • Misty
    2018-12-21 21:52

    The Luxe is about turn of the century New York socialites falling in love and misbehaving. New York's darling debutant, Elizabeth Holland is poised to marry one of the most eligible (and debaucherous) bachelors in the city, but her perfect life is not what it seems.The Luxe reads like Gossip Girl meets Edith Wharton. Sadly, it has all of the shallowness and poor writing of the former, with little of the intelligence and power of the latter. For realsies. Read the rest of my thoughts on The Luxe HERE.

  • Nancy
    2018-12-22 18:13

    The Holland sisters, Elizabeth and Diana, are at the top of the social ladder. When their father dies, the girls move away to get educated about being a proper lady and when they come back, they find out that things don’t look too good for the Holland family. They’re broke. But if Mrs. Holland has anything to say about it, they won’t be, not for long. If Elizabeth can marry Henry Schoonmaker—a man who’s so handsome he has the hearts of all eligible females—their family name won’t be smeared. But Elizabeth already has her heart set on Will, who is just a mere stable boy, and Penelope, Liz’s supposed best friend, wants Henry. And where’s Diana all this time? Falling in love with Henry, of course. Rich girls always get what they want, but there’s just one Henry to go around. Plenty of reviews I’ve read had it labeled as a cross between Pride & Prejudice and Gossip Girl. I think not. The concept about rich girls leading scandalous lives in Manhattan, though set in 1899 for The Luxe, and how marriage was just beneficial for status upholding, is the same. Everything else, not really. I think this is even worse than Gossip Girl. Just like I didn’t see the point in the latter, I failed to see this book as none other than a boring read with underdeveloped characters who basically whine and never take control. Take Elizabeth, for instance. Right from the beginning she’s introduced as this beautiful and proper young lady who’s involved with a servant but is engaged to the most set-forth bachelor, Henry. The parts written about her fall bland shortly after she’s engaged. She does absolutely nothing except to look blank and regretful. I find it very hard to reach some level of sympathy for a character that’s mostly just a background face because the author failed to incorporate some kind of human being qualities to her. It’s like this: Anna Godbersen wanted to portray a perfect girl that didn’t have a perfect life after all (the most common storyline ever beside the love-hate relationships type) and rather than making Elizabeth her main character, she made her into a depressed girl. Everything that happens in the novel surrounds Elizabeth’s life and her actions, but I just don’t see her as a focus. Sure, she finally finds the strength to do something towards the end of the book, but that’s because Penelope was there to help her. Can’t she do anything by herself? She’s just a horrible protagonist and if that’s the message—get your own independence—then the author’s done a poor job of relaying that. Take notice that this book has 433 pages. 433 pages of slow action and mindless characters that just appear and disappear so they can serve in certain parts of the story. A story isn’t supposed to be like that—everything has to connect somehow. And the most unflattering character is Diana. From the start, I never saw that kind of bond between her and Elizabeth that’s made Diana so sobby at the last minute. She’s been portrayed as this whinny, kind of unusual sister. But later, she does all sorts of things that contradict the personality she’s been given, which I find very inconsistent. If there’s character development involved, there has to be a turning point for that to happen, but I didn’t see it. All in all, not something I would ever pick up again. I thought GG had been a reminder that I should stay away from stories about rich girls with nothing to do but have sex and steal other people’s boyfriends. I like books with some kind of message, with development, with strong-willed protagonists that makes everything better, but I found nothing of the requirements here. I’m just glad I gave up halfway but decided to read the ending chapters anyway. Two words: so predictable. But if you actually like the endless, unrealistic love triangles (why would anyone like Henry, anyway? He’s such an arrogant ass) between Elizabeth-Will-Lina and Diana-Henry-Penelope, or the fact that the girls wear gowns and everyone rides horses, then this probably is the book for you. I mean, at least some of the history was nailed pretty accurately, thought most facts were just mentioned in passing.

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-01-09 14:43

    That dress. That dress! How can this not be a fun romantic read? And so I dived into 1899 New York City high society, with its whirl of dances and social calls and hidden agendas. And came to a stuttering halt very quickly.I can do shallow and superficial for a hundred pages or so (Exhibit A: The Bookshop on the Corner), but over 400 pages* of banal gossip and backstabbing and jostling for social position? Ugh. Even the secret romances weren't very interesting. I was ready to slit my wrists after a few chapters.Lesson learned: Don't get sucked in by lovely cover art.*Not to mention that you have to read the three sequels to get the whole story, which, judging from the reviews of book #4 that I've read, doesn't end particularly well and has justifiably made a lot of readers very unhappy and angry. Glad I passed.

  • Tatiana
    2018-12-28 15:06

    Sorry, but I can't go on reading this drivel. Maybe I am too spoiled by Edith Wharton and know too much about Gilded Age mores to enjoy this book. I know that young men and women of that time simply do not behave, talk, or live the way Godbersen portrays in her books. If you take the historical setting out of the story, what's left is a who-will-hook-up-with-who kind of trash. If I ever want to read that, I'll pick up Gossip Girls. Beautiful cover though...

  • Lindsay
    2019-01-18 18:06

    So I'd be lying if I said I was oozing with excitement to read this book. In fact, I put off reading it for just about a year. A really good friend of mine recommended me this book and told me I'd absolutely love it but when I bought the book, I let it gather dust in the corner of my bookshelf. There are two reasons why I put off reading this for so long: One, because its a Historical Romance. I cannot even begin to tell people how much I HATE (okay, hate is a strong word, but seriously, I don't like them) Historical Romances. I don't know what it is about Historical books but for whatever reason, I can't get into them. I tried reading Entwined and that was a bust. I tried reading Soulless and that was a dnf. Its mainly the time period, the way of life, and the characters that puts me off and no matter how hard I try, I can't get sucked in. The second reason is that this book is in the third person. When I read books in third person, I hardly ever give them five stars, no matter how well written because as I've said before, I want to make a connection to the characters. I understand that this is difficult to do, especially when a writer wants to incorporate more than one voice in the novel but at the same time, I feel almost shut off from everyone.So then finally, one year later, I picked this book up because the book I wanted to buy wasn't coming out until Saturday, I didn't feel like reading anything else, and I had only a minute to choose a book before I had to leave.And, oh my god yeek I loved this book! I don't know how to explain it but I did! I fell in love with a historical romance third person book! Who would have thunk it? I can't even begin to describe how much I loved this book.At first, the beginning started off a little slow but then things began to pick up speed ergo the snowball effect. My heart simply burst for Elizabeth. I can completely relate to her when she thought about how trapped she felt in her life, especially since her mother was forcing her into marriage but then when she admitted she was in love with Will, her glorious sexy coachman, I think I died. Although Elizabeth would be characteristically described as fake, I applaud her. Because despite her wishes, she wanted to do what was best for her family but in the end, she decided to do what was best for herself. And she really truly loved Will. Even though we unfortunately didn't get to see much of him in this book, their love was innocent and true, something I have not seen in a long time. Elizabeth + Will = <3Then there's Diana, Elizabeth's feisty little sister. God was she a beaut. She's the girl that most teenagers become when they try to find themselves. I really have nothing bad to say about her because she was so true and real to herself, yet completely opposite of Elizabeth. Usually when it comes to siblings, I prefer one over the other, but both girls were great to read about and I am glad that Diana did not resent her sister in the end. Enter Henry, playboy/bachelor extraordinare. When I first read about him, god I couldn't stand him. He was arrogant, annoying, and frankly, a man slut. He was also macking it up with Penelope - who didn't seem to mind in the least - and in a way, I'm glad his father wanted him to straighten out, although his father did it for more selfish reasons instead of fatherly concern. Then there was a change in Henry, something gradual, yet sudden, small, yet monumental, and so so beautiful. Watching him fall in love with (view spoiler)[ Diana was the greatest thing. And I loved how she made him feel like crap at first. She really showed him how much of an ass he was but he still loved her and she loved him. Their circumstances however were completely unfair(hide spoiler)] but I loved how things turned out.And Penelope...dear sweet god. This chick has serious issues. Vindictive, self-absorbed, manipulative, obsessive, and so many more despicable characteristics. She really was a disgusting person because even if she went for what she wanted and she was confident in herself, she didn't know when to quit, when to slow down, and when to leave the battlefield. And yes, at one point in the book, I felt so bad for her but in the end, all I saw was a vulnerable girl who would step on anyone to get what she wanted.Finally, there's Lina. Lina Broud...what to say. For the first quarter of the book, I felt bad for this girl. She thought of herself as ugly and plain compared to her mistress Elizabeth. She felt trapped in her position as servant and longed for something more which I can relate to and more than anything, she wanted to feel loved as a beautiful woman. Her heart ached for her childhood friend Will and she longed to tell him how she had felt all this time, convinced he will feel the same. At the time, I crossed my fingers, hoping she would get Will but when I found out almost immediately after that Will and Elizabeth were together and happy I did a 180. Seeing Lina witness her two childhood friends together was heartbreaking and I can understand that but the lengths she went to to get Will's heart and make Elizabeth look bad was cruel and selfish. Plus, she based everything she wanted on what she thought Will wanted just so he would love her when he really never would. I just don't like Lina for her decisions, her lack of confidence in herself, and her obsession over Will. I can honestly see her going crazy over the next few books over this.Overall, I LOVED this book as you can see from my lengthy review. Wow, I actually think this is my longest review, officially beating out my Perfect Chemistry review length. Woo hoo! I am happy to say that I loved the story line and although the writing could have been better in some parts, I loved this book nonetheless. I am currently in the middle of Rumors and boy oh boy are things getting exciting. And even though this is a historical/third person book, I am happy to say how much I loved it all.Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    2018-12-23 14:52

    It's September 1899 and the Manhattan season is starting off with a bang. Elizabeth Holland, the darling of the high society set, has returned from her year in Paris in time for the first ball of the season, held at her best friend Penelope Hayes' newly finished and incredibly vulgar mansion. Penelope is all about showing herself to the best advantage, and has her sights set on young rake Henry Schoonmaker - but his father has other ideas. Intending to run for mayor the following year, he wants his only son to shape up and marry a good girl from a good family: Elizabeth. The day after the ball, he proposes to Elizabeth and is accepted (even though her heart belongs to the young coachman, Will, whom her maid, Lina, also loves), because Henry's family has money and the Holland family now has none - which no one know about except them. You have to keep up appearances, after all. This is the day he also meets Elizabeth's younger sister, Diana, and there's something about her that captivates him like no other girl ever has. It's a tangled mess and it's about to get a whole lot messier as Penelope schemes to break up the engagement.Okay, I'll admit that despite being rather anti-girly, I've always had a thing for dresses and period costumes, and the big poofy thing on the cover certainly fascinated me. But it also repelled me: it's just so HUGE and PINK and PUFFY! The descriptions of this novel/series that I came across said it was like Gossip Girls and that it was about New York High Society girls at the turn of the century - well it all put me off. Until a friend recommended it, and I'm glad she did, for as ridiculous as the dress is, the book is really very good.I don't watch Gossip Girls, so I can't speak to any similarities there - what I was reminded of, though, was Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers. Admittedly, I have read very few books set in 19th century Manhattan, so Wharton's book was the only one I could think of, mostly because it's about four girls from "new money" making their way in the world amongst the British upper class. I highly recommend it, or the TV mini-series based on it.Anyway, I completely expected to be utterly bored by this book, but instead I was vastly entertained and gripped by the unfolding mystery and tension, and even though the prologue tells you the ending, it doesn't tell you anything, and you're never sure what's going to happen next or how it all worked out. I did suspect from the very beginning the truth about Elizabeth, though.There was plenty to love and enjoy here, despite the somewhat clichéd characters. The setting is vividly brought to life, though I would imagine some people wouldn't care for the little asides about dress fabrics and ormulu (gilt-bronze) inlaid chairs, but to me it added some necessary and authentic detail, as well as showing (without actually telling) the disparity between classes and "breeding": the gaudy over-the-top grandeur of the Hayes' new mansion; the stately but stuffy Schoonmaker home; and the refined, old-world elegance of the Hollands' - all highlighting the still-pervasive class clash between old money and new, inherited from the British. The period is also supported by little clippings from newspapers, journals and those books on the proper deportment of a lady at the beginnings of the chapters, which help remind you of the world outside and surrounding these preoccupied young women, and how everyone is watching them. There is some thought given to class consciousness, the social expectations, pretensions and manoeuvring of the rich, but I was pleased to see it didn't suffer from too much "presentism". It was also good to have one of the protagonists be a lady's maid who ends up on the street - you get to see the less glamorous, more hard-working "trade" side of the city.Of the four protagonists: Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope and Lina, I liked Diana the most. Probably because she was the most honest, direct and least girly, she had spunk and flair and was the least superficial. Elizabeth was handled well: a goody-goody, demure and seemingly innocent girl in public, sharp and uncomfortable with her maid Lina in private, and relaxed and true to herself with Will - a realistic portrait of how most of us present different sides to different people, sometimes what is expected of us, or what creates armour for us, or what enables us to get along with people the best. Elizabeth wasn't all that likeable because she didn't stand up for herself as much as you'd want, but she was definitely sympathetic.The bitch of the book is Penelope, of course - and she's marvellous at it. She's the character you "love to hate". She's the most straight-forward of all the characters, and spiteful, and duplicitous, and you have to admire her tenacity.Godbersen's prose helps lift the novel above the usual fare - it's nothing fancy, but it is solid, capable, unpretentious, and confident. I thought it started a little slowly, but once I became interested in the characters the pacing really picked up and held me. The author doesn't have any annoying ticks or over-used favourite words, so it flows well and smoothly. For a debut novel, it is remarkably polished, free of typos and other poor editing glitches (though I doubt "gotten" is as old as 1899). There are four books in the series: The Luxe, Rumors, Envy and Splendor. I had to look up what "Luxe" means because I had no idea: it's a noun meaning "luxury" or "abundance". Fitting.

  • Kathryn CA
    2019-01-05 21:48

    I hate, hate, HATE books that are suppose to be set in one time period but they have the behavor of someone in a different time period. If I didn't know better, I would have thought that this books was set in the present time. I won't ruin it for anyone who wants to read it... but I was disappointed. I thought "How could such a pretty book not be good?" I always thought that not judging a book by its cover was about ugly books being good, but now I know better. However, if you like mindless stories, and don't care about historical accuracy, this will be a great book for you. Disclaimer: I was almost a history major in college, so I tend to take history very seriously. I understand not everyone is this way.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-04 16:53

    Hmmm. This is an interesting book. It is, as the name implies, very luxe. The gown descriptions are sumptuous, and all the characters are gorgeous, with thick curling hair and full pouty lips. However, I had a hard time figuring out who to root for, as it were. You don't really get deep insights into Elizabeth, ostensibly the heroine, and her handsome lover's thoughts are never known at all. The villainess bitchy girl, the little sister, the rich cad, all get more detailed character development, but I had a hard time getting into them as well, because they weren't immediately likable. By the end, I had some definite favorites, and I am excited to read the sequel and find out what happens to everybody, but it wasn't until the last chapter that I really started to care about the characters. Nonetheless, it's a definite page-turner. From the first chapter I couldn't put it down, waiting to see if my suspicions (it starts out with a funeral and then goes back to the month leading up to the tragic death) were correct.

  • Bine
    2019-01-15 18:59

    Leichter, aber sehr unterhaltsamer Lesestoff. Wer gerne über Intrigen und Skandale in der High Society liest, wird hier auf seine Kosten kommen. Das ganze gepaart mit dem Glamour vom New York Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts ergibt ein sehr angenehmes Leseerlebnis. Selten habe ich ein Buch so schnell und flüssig lesen können. Ich habe mich richtig gewundert, wo die 400 Seiten auf einmal abgeblieben sind, als ich das Buch zugeschlagen habe. Es hat sich auf jeden Fall nicht wie 400 Seiten angefühlt. Der Schreibstil ist wirklich extrem flüssig und schafft es trotzdem, den historischen Flair des Settings rüberzubringen. Die Geschichte steigt prompt interessant ein mit dem Begräbnis der Protagonistin und man fragt sich, wie es dazu kommen konnte. Die Auflösung ist extrem schnell sehr naheliegend, aber es geht hier ja auch nicht um eine Detektivgeschichte. Ich fühlte mich geradezu befriedigend bestätigt, als alles so ausging, wie ich mir das gedacht hatte.Das Buch ist auf jeden Fall für alle diejenigen was, die eine Geschichte à la Gossip Girl 100 Jahre zuvor erleben wollen und für eine gewisse Zeit ihrem Leben so entkommen wollen... und dabei keinen Wert auf historische Genauigkeit legen.

  • Courtney
    2018-12-27 14:09

    One big love triangle between Henry Schoonmaker, Diana Holland, Will Kellar, Elizabeth Holland, Penelope Hayes, Lina Broad, and Teddy. Elizabeth is having an affair with her coachmen, Will. Naturally their forbiden love is kept a secret. The Holland family begins losing money, forcing Elizabeth into an engagment with the charming casanova, Henry Schonnmocker. There's a few problems with that however:Penelope has a delusional infatuation with Henry but Henry is having a love struck affair with Elzabeth's younger sister, Diana. Not to mention that Elizabeth and Penelope were best friends, and upon Elzabeth's engagment Penelope develops a passionate hate for her friend. Lina Broad has been the Holland family's maid for years, ever since childhood. She has also had a growing affection for Will since childhood. When Lina finds out about Will and Elizabeth's love she attempts to crush it by informing Will about Elizabeth's upcoming marriage. Diana is also crushed by having to distant herself from Henry, and all the while Henry's best friend, Teddy, comes clean about his long time love for his friend's fiance, Elizabeth. But the Holland sister aren't ready to give up there true loves just yet.... 1899 New York just got a whole lot more exciting as the wealthy socialiates attempt to learn how to balance lust with duty and love with hate. As Penelope's schemes begins, sisterly love breaks, and betrayel lurks behind everyone's wants these families' lives start falling apart.

  •  ⚯͛ Andi △⃒⃘
    2018-12-30 19:08

    This book is like Gossip Girl set in the late 19th century. Normally that would be fun for me since books like those are my guilty pleasure, but this was not as fun. I loved the time period this was set in as well as Godberson's description of their wardrobe and settings, but I never really got attached to the characters nor was I really invested in the story. I saw that ending a mile away along with many other things in this book. It was predictable to say the least.

  • Kristi
    2019-01-15 16:55

    Beautiful Elizabeth Holland, lovely, prim, proper and of course a lady. Too bad she is dead. The story opens to a dreary day in late 19th century New York at the funeral of Miss Elizabeth Holland, the exact day in which she was to be wed.Then time flashes back and we are taken through the events that ultimately lead to the death of Elizabeth.Sisters Elizabeth and Diana couldn’t be more different. Elizabeth, the oldest, has always had the most pressure put on her to be a proper lady, to watch everything she says, does, and even wears. Diana is of course the opposite. She is the romantic, and she is wonderfully eclectic and confident in her ways. When Elizabeth learns that her family’s welfare is in jeopardy she agrees to wed Henry Schoonmaker, a well-known playboy and heartbreaker, even though she loves another. Henry himself agrees to marry Elizabeth only so he will not be disinherited of his father’s fortune. At the night of her engagement announcement, her "best friend" Penelope Hayes reveals that she, herself is in love with Henry. This is the start of Penelope’s jealousy and betrayal to take down her biggest and only rival. Not to mention, Diana, who finds herself smitten with the elusive Henry, as well. Henry of course finds himself falling in love, finally, but not with his betrothed. Elizabeth struggles with her own happiness and the welfare of her family.Throw in a jealous maid that knows too much and you have yourself a full-blown scandal!I loved The Luxe. It had everything a good story should. Mystery, humor, romance, and fun! I felt for Elizabeth and her constant struggle within herself, and having nowhere to turn. I loathed Penelope and only wished she had been the one to fall in the Hudson. The Luxe was enjoyable and entertaining. If you like Gossip Girls or even A Great and Terrible Beauty, I think that you would enjoy this book. Even more good news. It seems that Anna Godbersen will be releasing a sequel to The Luxe in the summer of 2008 entitled Rumors.

  • Jay G
    2019-01-13 15:43

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:'s 1899 and Elizabeth and Diana Holland are head of the social scene in New York. Unfortunately for the Holland family, their money is dwindling and their mother is beginning to have to sell their belongings. That's when William Shoonmaker comes to their mother with a proposition. Elizabeth is to marry his son Henry, the biggest bachelor known to Manhattan. Elizabeth agrees, even though she is in love with another man whom her maid, Lina, is also in love with. To make matters worse, her best friend, Penelope Hayes, is in love with Henry Shoonmaker. Now, feeling back stabbed, Penelope and Lina will stop at nothing to get rid of Elizabeth once and for all. This book was basically just Gossip Girl set in the 1800's... I found the book to be quite boring and was originally going to only give it 2 stars. The plot seemed to move very slowly for me. I ended up giving it 3 stars due to the ending and cliff hanger I didn't see coming. None of the characters were very likeable, but I still enjoyed reading about their pettiness. Penelope especially, she is so cruel and I loved every second of it. This book is a very quick read and I can see it being a guilty pleasure read for many.

  • Dawn (& Ron)
    2019-01-09 15:05

    3-1/2 starsSet during the closing months of the 19th century, telling the stories of the young social elite and their servants. This doesn't pretend to be more than it is, a light, fun historical romp, and just what I needed at the time. Filled with backstabbing, manipulation, betrayal and drama, but surprisingly there is more depth than I originally anticipated, there is humor, heart, romance and duty to one's family, station and heart."The girls of her class were slaves to rules, going about life—if you could call it that—like bloodless mannequins."Godbersen starts off each chapter with an excerpt from the society pages, newspaper article, books on decorum and a how to guide for lady's maids. These give you a preview for that chapter and sometimes interesting historical tidbits. Each chapter alternates, its third person point of view, between a handful of characters which may be bothersome for some. I appreciated this since it gave insight into the servants, too often just props in period fiction, showing how they felt towards their employers and vice versa."Her instinct was to do some violence to the white-and-gold upholstery that decorated the room, but she had not so lost her head as to want to ruin good brocade. Not yet."Some of the dialogue has a modern feel but surprisingly there is a great deal of period detail. This attention to detail centers mostly on manners, décor, settings and clothing. While most of the characters are multi-dimensional and well drawn, there seemed to be some confusion with the free spirited female character, Diana. It seemed like the author couldn't decide whether she should be naive and innocent or worldly, modern and knowledgeable, and tended to flip flop instead. Then there is the mostly forgotten Agnes, she is built up at the beginning so that you expect to learn about how she came to her circumstances, but instead she is barely heard of again. There is a big plot twist at the end that I did figure out in advance, but it still held my interest since I didn't know how it would all came about. There are still many threads left, even without the twist, which make me curious to check out the next book in the series. "The person she was trained to be would have nodded and been thankful, but she had just been forced out of her old life. The person she would be in her next life was finding her way one second at a time."I also wanted to note that even though I have a hardback version of this book, I read the Kindle version and very much enjoyed the x-ray function, which gave a little synopsis of a character or place, and previous pages to help remind readers who a character is or previous events. I hope to see more publishers/authors utilizing this fun, interactive feature.Give this a try if you are in the mood for a light, fun historical social melodrama that goes behind the glittering, glamorous façade of the wealthy upper class to show the joy and sadness, bite and snark, love and loss, and plenty of drama.

  • Karin
    2018-12-25 14:09

    If you didn't think the nineteenth century was full of drama then think again. Life in New York in 1899 was very eventful. At least it was for the very wealthy. Elizabeth Holland has been a perfect daughter her entire nineteen years of life. She has been groomed for years to be perfect - to talk when she was supposed to, to receive visitors on Sundays, and always appear happy no matter when she was feeling on the inside. People in New York expect her to marry well and continue the traditions of high society.Life for Elizabeth isn't easy though, even though all she has to do is sit around and look beautiful. It turns out, since the death of her father, her family is having financial problems and aren't able to keep up the type of lifestyle they are used to living. One thousand dollar gowns, priceless works of art, and trips abroad are a thing of the past unless something can be done to secure the family's place in society before everyone learns of their trouble. Mrs. Holland thinks Elizabeth can save the family by marrying Henry Schoonmaker – New York's most eligible and most sought after bachelor.The news of her impending engagement is a surprise to Elizabeth. She has always held out the hope that she would marry for love and in fact, has been in love for quite some time. Elizabeth has been having a secret relationship with Will Keller for many years. The relationship must be kept a secret because Will is an employee of the Holland family. He works in the stables and drives the carriages for them and carrying on a relationship with someone of lower status would be something that would ruin Elizabeth's reputation and the Holland family name. Word of her engagement puts a strain, understandably, on Elizabeth's relationship with Will. Elizabeth's secret relationship with Will isn't the only thing that becomes more difficult after the wedding becomes public. Henry doesn't want to get married any more than Elizabeth does. He resents the fact that he is being forced to wed and give up his freedom. Penelope, her supposed best friend, is infuriated by the news of the wedding. She expected to marry Henry herself and is planning to break up the wedding by any means necessary. Elizabeth's personal maid, Lina, finds out about Elizabeth and Will's relationship and is hurt because she has grown to love Will herself. Even more problems crop up when Elizabeth's younger sister, Diana, begins to have feelings for Henry. Finally, and most devastating to Elizabeth, Will tells her he is leaving New York and heading west to California. How can a proper girl deal with all of these problems and be expected retain her poise?THE LUXE is a fascinating look at life at the turn of the century. It is historical fiction at its best. For those of you that fall in love with the book like I have can look forward to the fact that the author is currently working on a sequel.

  • Angie
    2019-01-12 20:59

    Another Christmas gift, and one I wanted to read very much when it first came out, but shied away from somewhat after reading several reviews comparing it to the Gossip Girl series and stating that the writing left rather a lot to be desired. Oh, I thought sadly. That's too bad. It looked better than that. So I just admired the cover from afar, and that of the sequel Rumors. I probably would have just gone on ignoring the series if my mom hadn't given me a copy of The Luxe. I'm glad she did.The prologue begins with Elizabeth Holland's funeral. The darling of upper crust Manhattan society, her sudden and inexplicable drowning in the Hudson shocks everyone from her frozen fiance Henry Schoonmaker to her scornful maid Lina Broud. The story then immediately jumps back several weeks to show us how events came to such a strange state. You think Elizabeth is going to be the main character, but she's not. She's not even very likable. Quiet, passive, perfect. Perfectly boring. That's Elizabeth. And that's why her best friend Penelope Hayes hates her. Everyone assumes Henry and Elizabeth would be perfect together, while Penelope is determined to have him for herself. And if you're wondering right now if the whole thing is as Peyton Place as it sounds thus far, the answer is yes. Yes it is. It's a roiling sea of love, despair, social climbing, and backstabbing. In perfectly lovely period costumes. It's hypnotic.The story spends time going back and forth between five Victorian teens: Elizabeth, Henry, Penelope, Lina, and Diana (Elizabeth's younger, much more likable sister). And for awhile I kept thinking, Why am I reading this? These characters are perfectly awful. But then Diana became cool. Or rather I could tell she was going to become someone who was going to be cool. So I was reading it for Diana. The others I could take or leave. But then Henry started showing some good sense and just the slightest hint of a backbone, despite his apalling sense of entitlement. So I was reading it for Diana and Henry. And the dresses. Oh, the dresses. And because I enjoyed seeing Penelope swallow her own tongue when she finds out a certain couple are engaged. And, in the end, it was like watching a train wreck. A beautiful, awful train wreck. And I couldn't tear my eyes away from it. I had to run to the library to get a copy of Rumors to see What Happens. That review to follow shortly.

  • Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
    2018-12-25 15:55

    Scandal and intrigue on the upper east side in Manhattan, New York! This is literally just like Gossip Girl but set in a different time period, girls with ball gowns and arranged marriages are all the rage. Not to mention backstabbers, liars and cheaters. I pretty much disliked everyone except the two Holland sisters and in guess that's what Anna was trying to do. A main character who you want to be happy for. I kind of wished the romance between said main character and her certain lover was developed. Instead it was already known and I grew tired of all the politics and intrigue. The ending made it more worthwhile though. I also did like the author's narrative style, I learned a few new words for my vocabulary :) If it weren't for the huge reveal in the beginning I would have ultimately put this book down, but now that I read it to the end, I'm still invested in reading the next book because of that little cliffhanger.

  • Megan Baxter
    2018-12-22 16:59

    Gossip Girl meets The Age of Innocence. Except that there's not really any Age of Innocence here. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Denise Smith
    2018-12-21 19:57

    First, I can't believe that this is considered Youth Fiction! It definitely read like it was written for a teenage audience, but there was way too much sex, even if it was only ever implied. It was incredibly predictable and the characters were extremely unlikable. Beware, moms of teenage girls, this book was recommended to me as the "next big thing".

  • Sita
    2019-01-15 15:44

    Right. How the f$#% do I review this book? I couldn't even bring myself to finish it. I mean I liked it, okay I didn't really like it. Maybe I would have...if I had started the book at the begining and not 60 pages into it...oh well. I didn't and that is why this is less a review and more a rant about why I couldn't bring myslef to even finish the book. Reasons:1. Annyoing characters. Although I did like the quiz at the end (My friend Leesa and I were bored in ceramics and I had the book in my bad, so we took the quiz on what character we were most like...the results were interesting...). Back to the annoying characters, they were really annyoing. A basic conversation between two characters:So, did you here about...?What? Who? Oh yes. I did.And how are they going?...she's broke.WHAT?!?!! No! Yes!See! Annoying!2. The plot. Imagine Gossip Girl set in the 1900's, that's basically the book. B-O-R-I-N-G! Maybe it's just me. But I didn't like Gossip Girl and I really couldn't bring myself to even finish this one. And I normally like historical romances.3. The writing. Don't get me started on the writing. It was okay but it wasn't okay at the same time. Do you get what I'm saying?4. Overall. BAD BOOOK! DON'T BOTHER! I recommend it to no one. It was really bad. And does not live up to the great cover! Will I continue with the series (I own the second). No!

  • Stacia (the 2010 club)
    2019-01-11 15:57

    I can't believe that I'm about to rate a book based on the characters over the story itself.The Luxe as a read felt like historical fiction meets Gossip Girls. The historical part was great - the Gossip Girls part - not as much.However, I really warmed up to flow of the story as it moved along past my initial first reaction. Sure, this book is about high society in the late 19th century. It's absolutely girly and gossipy and filled with mock scandal. Unashamedly, I found myself starting to love the book about midway through, to my complete surprise.Each chapter rotated viewpoints between one of several girls featured in The Luxe. Every sub-story branched off from the main character Elizabeth's larger story. I found myself bored with Elizabeth, and almost put off by her. What really redeemed this book for me were the adventures of her younger sister Diana and her (((***mini-spoiler ahead***))) forbidden love with Elizabeth's bethrothed. I loved how much of a little rebel Diana was, and that she was able to retain much of her real-ness, which in turn caught the eye of her older sis' fiancee. I can't wait to see more of Diana in future books.I give the first half of The Luxe a 2 star rating because it took me a few chapters to warm up to the author's writing style. Thankfully, Diana and Henry made the book for me.

  • Daphne
    2018-12-29 13:56

    I saw a lot of mixed reviews for this book, and I understand why, but I personally really enjoyed reading it. It's not a very deep story, but it doesn't pretend to be either. It's a little shallow but very entertaining, which is why I didn't even realize how quickly I was going through the story. If you enjoy reading about gossip, drama, backstabbing, period settings and pretty dresses without too much substance every once in a while, I'd recommend this book. It's a lot of fun.

  • Marissa
    2019-01-19 19:02

    DNF at 20% - just couldn't do it. The plot was boring, the characters were annoying and they just whined all the time. I'm sorry but I just couldn't finish it.

  • Christina Kneidel
    2019-01-08 13:50

    UGH I was looking forward to this series, and it was a major let down for me.Before I get started I will say, that I could see how some people really liked this series, it just wasn't my cup of tea. The writing and world building were good, I will say that. However, I just LOATHEDDDD all the characters, which I guess is part of the intrigue. I just didn't like the main character Elizabeth, she sucked the worst in my opinion. She was literally the most selfish bitch, but acted like she wasn't. I got the impression that the author wanted us to relate and root for her, but I just found her to be the most fake and insufferable. Her sister was also extremely immature and selfish. Henry the main love interest/bachelor was a FUCK BOI, and Will was an asshole for leading Lena on. Now onto my personal favorite character; Penelope. She was fantastic, charming and VILE AND I LOVED IT. She was cunning and manipulative and knew EXACTLY what she wanted... and you know what? I respected it because she admitted to herself that SHE WAS all of those things, and that she would do anything necessary to get what she wanted. All the other characters in the book looked down at her because her family was "new" money and she was going to play them at their own game and WIN! However she didn't win, and was constantly judged and looked down on by the other equally selfish and doubly fake characters. Which was fucking bullshit.This series is a no go for me.

  • Carla
    2018-12-23 14:59

    I will admit to be a super Gossip Girl fan. It's like crack, emphasis on the word "like". I just can't get enough. And I like me some pretty covers. So when I decided to buy The Luxe, it was purely based on the fact that this sounded like such a scandalous tale of debauchery and ruined repuatations and that it would look nice on my bookshelf. The story goes a little something like this - Elizabeth is this amazing beauty, she's prim and proper and considered a true lady (I wonder sometimes what i'd be classed as if I lived in this era and then fall about laughing). She comes from a super rich and respected family, a family who since her fathers death, has fallen to pieces that may well me able to be put together by Elizabeth accepting a worthy suitor with a hefty dowdry. This worthy suitor is the simply rakish Henry Schoonmaker, who is also being pushed into an advantageous marriage by his father, who is planning to run for major and is ashamaed of his son's remarkably scandalous behaviour. Then there's Diana, Elizabeths younger sister. She doesn't give a drat about being considered a lady. In fact she finds it quite boorish (yay Diana, your my favourite, lets go have tea in the park and pull up our dresses to show off our legs! to males no less, imagine! the scandal). She would much rather do what she wants to do than that which she is told. If her reputation is blown to smitherines then so be it, alteast she'd be living and not quietly sipping tea and acting like a robot with impeccable manners and a fetish for beautiful dresses and pleasent conversation. Also, there's Will, the hot stable boy who is after a lady who is way far above his station that he would need to time travel to the 21st century, win the lottery and then go back in time a mega rich guy, to ever, and I mean ever be accepted by said girls family and society. Then theres the boring maid Lina? I forget. Anyway she is the maid and harbours a hate for the family she works for because they're surely to be her ruin. And no not her reputation, surely you know by know that maids are quite a smexy kind of gal. Okay, so I must admit this book was so easy to get sucked into. I kind of love historical novels because they make me think about a time and place that is so exponentially different than the one we live in. And the dresses, I admit the dresses did make me wish I could just go to a ball way back when and be waltzed around the dance floor by a rake. Gentleman are boring!! They call you "lady" and even giving you a kiss is something highly inappropriate. Imagine! Imagine going on a date with a boy who wouldn't even touch you or call you your first name, only "lady". Imagine having to take your sister or your aunt on a date. A date where you would sit in the park with a picnic and talk about the weather. How very dull. And thats why this book failed to hit the spot for me. Because even though I was promised scandal, I found the whole story to be quite dull and more than a little predictable. I wanted scandal so immense that it shocked even me, and i'm quite hard to shock. I wanted ruined reputations left right and centre. I wanted rakish boys spilling from the pages with wicked smiles and snarky conversation that zings from character to character. What I got is a story that is sure to make an impact to some, but failed to impact me in the slightest. I never really found myself invested in any of the characters. Elizabeth was jusy dingy even if she was beautiful. I sometimes even skipped Lina's? chapters because her voice drove me insane. The only scenes I enjoyed were those of Diana (a girl with backbone and too much life to ever be contained in a ballroom or a fancy dancy dress) and those of Henry (who I will admit was a complete and utter asshat, though he was dashing which moved him up in my estimations)Ultimately, this book made me feel like I was waiting. Waiting for something to happen that I can't quite put my finger on, but something that didn't quite turn up. I don't think I will be reading the other books in the series. But, if you love drama that isn't too in your face, you enjoy clandestine meetings of the tamer kind and enjoy extravagent dresses and all the implications of being a lady in a notorious society, then I think this is the book for you.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-12-30 13:56

    I've seen this book compared to Gossip Girl, and I don't think that's an entirely fair analogy. I can see where it came from; the main characters are well-to-do New Yorkers, and there is an emphasis on beauty and backstabbing. However, it was much better written than GG.I admit I've only read one GG, inspired to do so because I like the show. I've marveled, in fact, at how the writers of the show managed to get such a well done show out of the source material, because the one that I read was BAD. The Luxe manages to keep the perspective consistent within chapters, and to have an actual, realized plot (building action, climax, denoument). It also had characters that were more than just caricatures. GG had none of that- the perspective jumped around within a single scene, and seemed more focused on titillating its audience with sex, drinking, drugs, and high end clothing that with telling any sort of story or developing characters in any way beyond what they were wearing and who they were screwing. I suppose it could be said the The Luxe resembles the show, if it were set at the end of the nineteenth century, but I have to give credit where credit is due, and The Luxe surpasses GG, the novels.That said, while the story is complete and decently written, it's hugely predictable. I had the end figured out pretty much by the time all the main characters were introduced. The prologue, while serving to add a sense of suspense to lure the reader into the story, also makes it painfully obvious where things are headed once the reader is given all the puzzle pieces. I've seen the same sort of plot laid out in countless historical romances- the good girl who has more beneath the surface; the wild, independant young lady; the rake who is ready to be reformed by the right woman; the jealous, villainous spurned mistress. That's not to say the book isn't worth reading; I have the benefit of being nearly 30, and having been exposed to all the romance novel plot devices under the sun. For its intendend audience, teen girls, The Luxe would be a fabulous introduction to that genre of writing. It's got a dab of history, a fun plot, and a twisty love story. Moreover, it's "clean" (which is another thing that separates it from GG)- there is some sexual behavior, but it's handled with a tasteful fade to black, and there is a some drinking, but in the two instances of someone becoming drunk, there are negative consequences. I'm not a prude (I like my smut good and smutty), but I do think there is a difference between writing for 13-17 year old girls, and for adults.Overall, I'd say this book isn't one that's going to cross the generation gap well, but it's a fun, appropriate read for teens looking for something that has all the best things about GG and none of the worst.

  • Lucy
    2019-01-17 20:45

    I spent a day and a half with Anna Godbersen and The Luxe. I don't know if I'll be going back forthe other three books. The book only closes one plot and leaves all the others w-i-d-e open. I rarely feel this 'meh' about a book. I don't think it was bad. I also don't think it was historically accurate, which killed some of my enjoyment. I don't like period novels, but if you're going to do something you ought to do it right damn it. We have girls running around for secret midnight affairs, when in reality anyone discovering any of this could've ruined their prospects for the rest of their lives.The novel is richly descriptive. Clothing and setting were described in abundance. Physical descriptions were a bit lavish. I winced when one character described her eyes as sage-colored, but I'll live with it. Sometimes the description slowed down the story, but it never totally pulled me out of it.I don't really like big cliffhanging novels. Loose threads are good, I like wanting to know what's coming up next, but these were gigantic cliffhangers. It felt a bit like someone dragging me by my hair toward the next book -- just a little too much. There isn't a lot of substance to the book. I don't like many of the main characters, but they're all written with flaws and they felt like spoiled, rich entitled girls and boys. If you like the period and you like Gossip Girl, as so many reviewers before me have said, then have at it.

  • Victoria
    2019-01-02 22:13

    After reading the first two books in the "Bright Young Things" series and loving them, I was so excited to find out Anna Godbersen had another series!I actually loved The Luxe a little bit more than BYT! This was such an intriguing read and a great mystery. The way the story starts out at Elizabeth Holland's funeral, just sets you up to trying to solve the mystery the entire story. Every time I thought I had figured out who was responsible, something else would happen and completely change my mind! I didn't expect the ending at all though, such a curve ball! I felt so bad for Elizabeth throughout the entire story and the horrible situation she was put in. I was so heartbroken over how the story progressed with Will but am hoping it gets better in the next book! I loved the story lines for Diana and Henry, even though he had moments where he was so frustrating I was still rooting for him throughout the story! But I was not a fan of Penelope or Lina, they were both brats and need to be put in their place! I just felt sorry for Claire, having to always having to deal with Lina. I used to watch Gossip Girl religiously and this book reminded me how much I loved the show! I can't wait to read the next book in the series (:

  • Silvana (Por detrás das Palavras)
    2019-01-11 19:11

    Rebeldes foi um livro que trouxe da biblioteca com a expetativa de uma leitura descontraída, leve e com uma narrativa interessante. E será que foi isto que aconteceu? Não. O livro não me ofereceu nada daquilo que eu esperava dele. Lá está, não é muito bom criar expetativas.À medida que ia lendo o livro confrontei-me com uma escrita bastante aborrecida e pouco cativante da minha atenção. Tinha a sensação que a estória não avançada, que a escrita era fria e pouco próxima de mim enquanto leitora.Conjugando com este aspeto, ainda lhe consigo juntar a fraca abordagem às personagens. Há falta de caracterização e de acontecimento que nos mostrem que elas são realmente. Pareceram-me vazias, ocas... Estava frustrada porque não conseguia aceder a coisas que as movessem, para além de intrigas e romances pouco calorosos e apetecíveis.A estes ingredientes ainda lhes podemos juntar a forma bastante aborrecida com que a autora decidiu apresentar-nos os acontecimentos. Há pouca envolvência nas coisas que se vão sucedendo e eu não senti entrega da autora à escrita desta história.O final, para além do seu lado previsível (tendo em conta o prólogo que nos é apresentado que nos faz deduzir o que ali se poderá passar), não traz entusiasmo nem surpresa.Posso dizer-vos que foi uma leitura bastante penosa e que não me deixou com muita vontade de continuar a ler livros da série. É o primeiro livro da série, é um facto, o que poderá deixar espaço para que os outros apresentem-se melhor. Por isso, se um dia vier a ler mais livros desta série será pelo benefício da dúvida de ter lido o livro inaugural, aquele que nem sempre cativa os leitores (apesar de eu achar muito importante que tudo se torne interessante já no primeiro livro para conseguir agarrar o leitor).http://por-detras-das-palavras.blogsp...