By Anna Godbersen
Published by HarperCollins
"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 - 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...."- Goodreads
The Luxe can be compared to Gossip Girl (or so I've heard) just with very (very!) pretty dresses and the fact that its 1899. I was utterly swept up in all the scandals and found myself devouring this novel in one day.
Since there are so many characters whose stories intertwine completely, like a kitten whose stuck in a ball of yarn (bad comparison), I cannot really relate them all to you in detail. That would just make a really long review. So. Elizabeth is what I would consider the main character. I understood her and sympathized with her situation: that of choosing between keeping her family off the streets of Poor Land or following true love. I found myself completely drawn to her younger sister though: Diana. I loved her mischievousness and playfulness. The fact that she was a devoted book reader won me over and I really just love her relationship with Him (no names, for spoilers sake). There was also Will who I thought was sweet, Henry who I thought was a total hottie, Penelope who I hated, Lina who I sympathized with, and many others.
The plot was slow. I loved the intricate way that each other's lives and desires became tangled but I found the writing style hard to follow. There was a lot of description and the POV was one I wasn't used to. It was like it was being narrated yet the reader is able to know the characters thoughts (omniscient? I think that's what its called). I found it hard to become fully invested in the story, instead I was just a side person viewing it all. That was why I could fully connect with the characters; meaning I didn't really care what happened to them. Enjoyable, though, was how each chapter rotated between all five main teenage characters. I liked being able to jump into each other's story, although I always wanted to go back to Diana's and His story.
I'd recommend this to Gossip Girl lovers, that enjoy scandals, mystery, high-society, history, romance, deception, betrayal, luxury, and all those sorts of things. Clear your schedule because The Luxe will snatch you in and hold you down until you're through with it.
"Oh... I know you," Diana said, surprised at herself for thinking that he was actually delicious-looking even though everyone else thought so, too. "You're the famous Henry Schoonmaker." She bravely held his gaze. "The one who can't sit still and breaks hearts all over the place. Well, that's what they say, isn't it?
"Why do you girls always love gossip so much?" he asked in reply. "Do you think all the stories about me are true?"
"If they are true, then you are a very interesting person." She smiled, tucking her lower lip under her teeth.
"Well, I deny them all categorically." He shrugged before continuing: "Except the one about me liking pretty girls, which is more or less true. But how old are you? You can't have been out for very long at all. Look at you, you've probably never even been kissed, and you're---."
"I have too been kissed," she interrupted, the way a child would. She felt her cheeks flush, but was too thrilled to be right where she was to really mind.
"Not very well, I'd bet," Henry replied with an arch of his eyebrow.