De-Luxe, or Why I Am In The Best Mood Ever!
So, I’ve begun digging into my mountain of books. Some have been better than others. But, one has triumphed above them all. I just finished it and I must say, “Fantastic!”
Title: The Luxe
Author: Anna Godbersen
The Story As It Is: The book opens with the obituary of one Miss Elizabeth Holland, the princess of Manhattan society in 1899. On what was to be the day of her wedding to Mr. Henry Schoonmaker, only son of one of Manhattan’s oldest families, everyone instead gathers at her funeral. Jumping back, Godbersen then recounts the weeks leading up to this tragic event. The reader begins to see that Miss Holland and many around her were keeping quite a lot of secrets. This novel gives the reader an inside look at the treacherous world of Manhattan’s high society, where rules matter and appearances can be deceiving. Shifting focus between chapters,we are privvy to the lives of Miss Elizabeth (who is the picture of a perfect lady, totally practical), Diana (her younger sister, who isthe exact opposite and quite the romantic), Penelope Hayes (society upstart and the realization of the word ‘frenemy’), Henry Schoonmaker (a turn of the century Chuck Bass, being all play and no work), and Lina Broud (Elizabeth’s maid and one-time friend). Each has their own rules to follow and, in turn, secrets to hide.
The Story As I See It: The privileged young ladies of this novel live in a world I’ve been known to dream about. They are outfitted in only the best fashions and attend lavish balls. Young men trip over themselves to court Miss Elizabeth. With its obsession with luxury, turn of the century Manhattan appears to me like a fairytale world. Combine this lavish, wealthy society with all the drama and scandal of today’s Gossip Girl and you have The Luxe. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. Each little detail fits together like a giant puzzle as you draw ever closer to the moment of Elizabeth’s death. Was it an accident or was she murdered? Along the way, you have a little bit of everything–romance, mystery, plotting, back-stabbing, and even a little passive aggressive cat-fighting. I don’t want to spoil the book by giving away too many details. I think that this novel’s quality of unfolding its mystery ever so slowly is what makes it truly special.
The Verdict: If you are a fan of Gossip Girl and the sort, you will love this–end of story. If you are very much NOT a fan of Gossip Girl, I urge you to pick this up anyway. While this novel plays out with all the drama of today’s modern equivalent, it does so without the crassness critics of Gossip Girl cite in their dislike of the series. It is, hands-down, a novel that sweep you up into its luxurious, dangerous world and have you feeling like you never want to leave. I have the sequel on request at the library and I am dying waiting.