Friday, December 28, 2007



I know, I know. You can hardly escape from my tidal wave of reviewing. So here’s another. Winter vacation is a splendid time to be reading. Although not better than most times right?

There is a certain joy to absorbing 1 good, 1-halfly great, and 1 great book in the course of two days. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen was my halfly great endeavor. And that’s saying a bit as it is quite outside the things I usually read. But. I think the plot speaks for itself.

Elizabeth Holland is the perfect bargaining chip. She belongs to one of Manhattan’s most revered high society families and is the well mannered, elegant opposite of her younger sister Diana. Her best friend and greatest rival is the equally chic Penelope Hayes. But she is not perfect as the newspapers project her. For Elizabeth Holland has a secret that could ruin her family, already struggling in silence to make up financial losses from the girls father’s death. She has fallen for the coachman (ironically enough the fixation of her servant girl’s affections) *gasp*.

On the outside, playboy Henry Schoonmaker finally meets the end of the road as to very public shenanigans. He must marry or be cast into the street. But in 1899, good marriages are created and love is a helpful aside. Henry finds himself promised to Elizabeth, but completely fallen for 16-year-old Diana, while avoiding the infatuated and venomous Penelope. While their feelings rise, Manhattan can only see the promise of the greatest marriage of the century in Elizabeth and Henry. But beneath the surface Penelope is scheming. And the passions come to height in the cataclysmic death of New York’s most favored daughter.

This story may sound like the twenty billion or so adult romance novels, but its not. The characters are deliciously multi-layered (however much that makes them sound like cakes). Even the pristine Elizabeth has a triple face. Every note and word is carefully crafted to incite and suggest. The writing is very elegant and easily shifts from a high-money ball to the darkest slum of turn-of-the-century New York. And a wonderful extra element is the absolute brilliance of the cover. Look closer at the girl's face. She carries the very air of cunning.

The Luxe, for descending into random scenes of kissing, does not quite gain its ideal 6 rating. But in the name of deceit and ferocious backstabbing, is the recipient of 5.7 out of 7.

Dancing a foxtrot (or whatever it was they danced),

A ella Siofra

7 comments:

sassymonkey said...

Bargaining chip - that's the perfect description of what Elizabeth was. There's supposed to be a sequel coming out in 2008 called Rumors... ;)

amie crosswhite/serafina zane said...

oh! you have defeated me by resorting to high-society drama novels. i have, indeed, not read that one. sounds scandalous. nice cover though

Medeia Senka said...

Hey Aella... Any books I should read? ... It is Christmas Vacation after all... note my nonconformity to political correctness...haha

Aislinn Ai said...

I-it's like Gossip Girl set in the p-past...

... but I want to reeeeaaad iiiitt.

*shame*

Avery will never forgive me.

-- Aislinn Ai

Aella Siofra said...

But it's not like gossip girl because there's no drugs and random displays of privileged sexuality. So it all works out in the end for those opposed to *shudder* girly books.

Bri said...

Ooooooo, sounds fascinating. I'm adding it to my list :D (but it's getting really long...)

Ink Mage said...

I'm going to have to read this soon, I guess. Everyone seems to have different opinions on it and I want to see for myself....