Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Luxe

The cover, the cover, the cover! The first time I saw this arc hanging out on a co worker's desk, I was just about overcome with jealousy. Nonchalantly I said, "Hmmm, this looks interesting...maybe I could borrow it when you are through?" She decided to read it, and it's been on my pile for a while now. I just started it yesterday, and finished it 5 minutes ago. I am going to buy myself a copy of the hardcover tonight.

The year is 1899, and NYC's social elite is doing what they do best. Going from fete to fete, and getting involved in scandal.

Sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland couldn't be more different. Elizabeth is just back from some finishing in Paris, and Diana still has her wild ways. Since their father died, their mother has been aging quickly and looking more distressed by the day. At the Hayes ball celebrating their new Fifth Avenue mansion, Elizabeth's mother presses her to dance with several suitors telling her daughter ominously that time is of the essence. While Elizabeth is off doing the proper thing, Diana is luring men into the coat closet in search of the perfect kiss.

Meanwhile, Penelope Hayes is waiting for handsome Henry Schoonmaker to make his entrance. She is certain that the time to make their affair public is upon them. He comes from one of the wealthiest families, and Penelope is certain that her own family's new wealth is enough for the Schoonmaker family.

What will happen when Mrs. Holland and Mr. Schoonmaker deem that a marriage between Henry and Elizabeth is a boon to both families? Will Penelope take this lying down? And what of Elizabeth's maid Lina? The one with a bit too much information about "sweet" Elizabeth and a certain stable boy.

Anna Godbersen has written a deliciously decadent story about love, betrayal, social class and friendship. Richly laden with historical detail, the characters are developed so well that readers will love and loathe each of them in measure. Sexy, but not over the top, fans of Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and just released The Sweet Far Thing will eat this title up. With an open ending, I am hoping to read more about Elizabeth, Diana, Lina, Penelope and the boys!

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