The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen
Oh dear. Where oh where do we start?
Not too long ago, A Reader's Respite couldn't help but notice that inside every bookstore, prominently displayed in the Young Adult section, was a series of historical fiction aimed towards teens. There appeared to be three books in the series and because historical fiction and young adult are two of A Reader's Respite's favorite genres, well, we bought a copy of the first book in this series by author Anna Godbersen. It's titled The Luxe.
The Luxe (and we're still not sure of the exact meaning of this title), as it turns out, is basically a lurid soap opera for teen girls set in the wealthiest circles of 1899 Manhattan's Grand Society. The storyline is so preposterous that A Reader's Respite really must share. You're gonna love this:
Elizabeth Holland is the toast of Manhattan society. She is young, stunningly beautiful, and heir to one of New York's oldest families. She's also doing the horizontal hokey-pokey with the stable boy every chance she gets. Evidently this is what all young, pedigreed girls do in the year 1899.
Elizabeth's BFF, Penelope is gettin' busy with New York's most eligible bachelor, Henry Schoonmaker and wants desperately to snag poor Henry in marriage. Evidently the phrase "why buy the cow when you're getting the milk for free?" hadn't made it's way into the elite Manhattan society in 1899.
Things start to get interesting when Henry's dad forces him to ask Elizabeth to marry him. Needless to say, Elizabeth and Penelope's BFF relationship loses the FF portion at this point.
This leaves us with Diana, Elizabeth's younger (that's right, YOUNGER) sister who spends her time making out with strange men in coat closets during societal balls. One of whom, is Henry Schoonmaker. Yes, the same Henry who is schtupping Penelope and engaged to Elizabeth. But this is different because Henry and Di are in looooooove.
A Reader's Respite was left burning with questions...
- How does it all end? (Predictibly, as it turns out.)
- Who cares?
- Who in the hell marketed this lurid tale to young girls?
- Who in the hell actually believes that young girls in 1899 high society behaved/dressed/spoke this way?
- Who keeps giving this book 5 stars on Amazon?
*Sigh* While we may not ever receive the answers we so desire, we're pretty content to tell you that while the writing isn't bad in and of itself (no typos, good grammar, etc), the concept of this story as historical fiction is a sham at best. One need only look at the gown on the cover. Take note that strapless gowns were not appropriate evening attire in 1899.
The sad part is, all the author would have to do is change the time period from 1899 to 2009 and it would have been entirely believable. But then it would have been called just trash.
I know, I know, you're looking for the part where A Reader's Respite offers to give away the book, but GASP, it's not here!
We laughed so hard at this novel that we've decided to read the two sequels just to keep our sense of humor finely honed. Look for reviews in the future and when we've finished with the trilogy, we'll hold a grand giveaway of all three books. Sound like a plan?
If you've been dying to read this book, don't despair....there are respected reviewers who liked it. As a matter of fact, it seems that A Reader's Respite is the ONLY reviewer who didn't...go figure.
Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings
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Debbie's World of Books
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