Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: The Luxe

The Luxe

Warning: There are spoilers in this review

"Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with sly 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 - threaten 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."

Author: Anna Godbersen
Year of Release: 2007
Genre: Historical Fiction, Victorian Lit, Romance
Sequel(s): Rumors, Envy, Splendor
What motivated you to read this book?: I saw it first on Goodreads, then my sister's comment about me needing to read more genres encouraged me to read this book sooner rather than later.
Book Version: ebook
Where did you get the book?: Digital Library
Orginal?: Yes (I'm only saying this though, because I haven't read any other Victorian Literature before)
Favorite Character: Either Diana or Elizabeth
Least Favorite Character: Penelope
Thoughts on Cover: It's beautiful. Love the pink dress. I really like it. I also think it suits the theme of the story of a rich society.
Recommended to: Girls who like Victorian Lit, Historical Fiction, or books with lots of drama
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Review: At first, I had no interest in this book & was forcing myself to read it, chapter by chapter, but as it went on, it grabbed my attention. The situations in this story were rather interesting and juicy, not to mention, full of lots of drama! Here's a brief explanation of the dilemmas that occurred:
Elizabeth Holland, who is known for being a goody-goody, and is high in society is in love with Will Keller who is her family's coachman. Her father died recently within the past year and left his family in a lot of debt. She is forced to marry Henry Schoonmaker because marrying him will allow her family to get the money they need to retain their image in society. However, the two of them do not love each other at all. Henry has had a previous love affair with Elizabeth's best friend Penelope Hayes who still loves Henry and becomes extremely infuriated when she discovers his engagement to Elizabeth. Now, Henry is smitten by Elizabeth's younger sister, Diana. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's maid, Lina Broud, is angry because she discovers that Elizabeth has been secretly meeting up with Will, who she is also in love with.

The whole story is filled with drama, gossip, rude & selfish girls, forbidden love, and lots and lots of secrets that kept me interested in the story. I mainly wanted to see how it all turned out!

The prologue of the story starts out several weeks later on in the story, revealing that Elizabeth is dead. It occurs right before her funeral. Personally, I've never read a book that gave away what happens at the very beginning, but it made me keep guessing who kills/forms the plan to kill Elizabeth in the end while reading the story. My guesses kept changing until the very end when I thought she committed suicide. Then I started to think that she was still alive since they couldn't find her body. I thought that she ran away, which ended up being true. I was definitely glad that she wasn't dead after all. It is pretty interesting, though, that the only two people who know that she's really alive are Diana, her sister, and Penelope, her former best friend and current rival.

I think the main thing that brought the story to my attention though, is that this story reminded me of all the dystopian books that I read that focus on societies that force their citizens to do certain things and forbide them from doing other things as well (Matched, Delirium, Hunger Games, etc.). The society in this story in 1899 (as opposed to Dystopian books which occur in the future) is quite similar in that these people who are living in high society New York basically have to live a particular way just because that is what society wants and expects of them. Elizabeth and Henry did not want to marry each other. They want to be with other people, but society forced them to be together. Then, I realized that all societies are like this! Even our society today! We all act and behave a certain way and do things because that is what society wants us to do! It really got me thinking!

All in all, this book started out uninteresting, but once the interesting storylines started playing out it kept me wanting to know what happens and who kills Elizabeth. It was definitely a lot better than I thought it would be and I cannot wait to read the sequel, Rumors!

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