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Guest Review | The Luxe | Anna Godbersen

the luxe

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.

What I have to say

To be honest, when I started reading The Luxe I was a bit disappointed. I thought I'd got tricked and lured in by a beautiful cover once again (umm because hellohuuu, have you seen that cover? Yeah. And it's even nicer in real life!). It begins with a prologue - the funeral of Elizabeth Holland, one of the main protagonists and then the story skips back couple of weeks earlier (so it's not like that was a spoiler).

Anyway, the first few chapters are pretty much about introducing the characters properly, as there are multiple third-person povs, and creating atmosphere which took a bit too long for me but in hindsight it might have been useful because I do feel like I got to know the character's personalities and motivations and even though they are kind of stereotypical, they have depth.

About the stereotypes: I think I wouldn't have noticed this as much if The Luxe hadn't been praised as the Gossip Girl of 1899, but obviously I paid more attention to parallels and stuff after noticing that reference several times. Anyone else thinks Penelope is just so Blair?

Apart from the stereotypes and lifestyle though I missed the Gossip-Girl-everything-is-twisted-and-full-of-schemes part, however, halfway through that kind of changed! Also, let me just say that I absolutely enjoyed reading the many descriptions of the beautiful dresses the girls got to wear, especially loved Elizabeth's little sister Diana's wardrobe!

Diana was my favourite character anyway, bookish and full of mischief; her scenes were never boring! Also, the little romance going on between her and a certain male was probably my favourite in the book, I'm rooting for them in the series! Oh another observation of mine: sometimes this actually reminded me even more of the British reality show Made in Chelsea than Gossip Girl, anyone else thought about that?!

The ending with it's kind-of-cliffhanger surprised me at first but I saw certain things coming, nevertheless I'm looking forward to continuing this series soon and I can really recommend this to anyone who would like to get started in the historical young adult genre without wanting to read something really difficult to understand due to old words as Anna Godbersen kept it rather glamorous yet simple.

This review was written by guest blogger Lulu (find her blog here).
Don't forget to check out our interview with Lulu here!
Photo c/o Lulu

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