Friday, March 20, 2009

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

“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…”

Where do I begin? I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I actually really enjoyed this book. It’s full of romance (maybe a little too much romance), mystery, a large helping of jealousy and of course, betrayal. It is defiantly a book that I couldn’t put down and when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it. I normally don’t care for stories that jump around from more than two points of view, but in this case it was rather entertaining to see all the drama going on, and all the misunderstandings. There is no way I can write this review without giving away some spoilers, so I would recommend reading the book ASAP and then read my review.

The story follows the lives of five different characters, Elizabeth, her sister Diana, Henry, Penelope and Lina (Elizabeth’s maid). They all seem to have the concept of love and lust confused, and for some reason they all seem to hate Elizabeth for really no reason other than jealousy.

Lina. The cover describes her perfectly: Spiteful. Throughout the book I just wanted to yell “HE’S NOT INTO YOU”. Lina has built up this non-existent relationship with Will (another employee of the Hollands) and when she finds out that he and Elizabeth have a relationship she of course thinks that Elizabeth has somehow tricked him. Lina drove me crazy and I think she’s a little pathetic. I hope that she turns herself around in the following books. Get over Will and find someone who actually loves you.

Penelope. What a horrible, spoiled little girl. She is completely caught up in herself and her own little world. She has a secret relationship with Henry and when Henry proposes to her best friend Elizabeth, she of course hates Elizabeth and doesn’t even get mad at him. Her character reminded me exactly of Olivia on MTV’s The City.

Henry. Oh, Henry. What is it about guys like Henry? He is completely spoiled, lazy, irresponsible, a complete womanizer and yet all the girls want him? He really drove me crazy the entire time. For me he had little redeeming quality and yet by the end of the book I kind of liked him. All along I thought he was chasing after Diana because she was something he couldn’t have, but I am starting to think that maybe he does have feelings for her. This still doesn’t make it right because he is marrying her sister! That is just gross and wrong on so many levels.

Diana. At first I didn’t like Diana. She came across as very young and irresponsible, especially when she was actually excited to find out that her family was poor. She doesn’t really have a grasp on reality. Also, she goes after her sister’s fiancé and doesn’t seem to have a conscience. I was glad toward the end when she finally started to have remorse and to start to think of her family and not just herself.

Elizabeth. She is still a total mystery to me. From her point of view she is almost two different people. She is constantly trying to please everyone around her, especially her demanding mother and is sacrificing herself for her family. On the other hand she is deeply in love with Will and shows a carefree side when she is with him. Most of the time I thought she was kind of boring.
Reading Order:
Book One: Luxe
Book Two: Rumors
Book Three: Envy
Book Four: Splendor

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