Having read and absolutely adored Anna Godbersen's 'The Luxe' series, I was looking forward to reading her new seri...moreReviewed by Jo for Book Chick City.
Having read and absolutely adored Anna Godbersen's 'The Luxe' series, I was looking forward to reading her new series, set in 1920's New York. I was not disappointed at all.
'Bright Young Things' revolves around three young women. Cordelia and Letty are childhood friends from a small town and they both share a need to escape to New York for something bigger. Astrid lives a pampered life in Long Island, but has the same need for something more.
I really love Anna Godbersen's writing. The imagery she creates is beautiful. From one sentence she can make you feel so much, so a paragraph is a story in itself. With Cordelia and Letty I entered into New York and into my first Speakeasy, experiencing the dancing, jazz and excitement of an illicit party. With Astrid, I play croquet lazily in the sun waiting for the next party to go to.
As it's the first in a new series, there is a lot of backstory and information regarding the characters situations and expectations but instead of being boring it's fascinating. The characters are so interesting, and while I felt some of their behaviour and decisions were questionable, it's these things that make Anna's stories so delicious!
I truly loved 'The Luxe' series, and re-read it often and every time I'm drawn into the world and it is the same with 'Bright Young Things'. By the end of the book I was gasping for more, and it's Anna Godbersen's fault! Through her brilliant writing she makes you care for the characters and their fate, and I was literally biting my nails. I cannot wait for the next installment. (less)
The Other Countess is Edwards' debut novel and I am really impressed. It's such as sweet book with really likeable characters and superb dialogue. It'...moreThe Other Countess is Edwards' debut novel and I am really impressed. It's such as sweet book with really likeable characters and superb dialogue. It's never condescending to its target audience and passages of descriptive detail are done beautifully. I really got a sense of the time period and enjoyed it so much I wanted to learn more about Queen Elizabeth 1st and her reign.
I really liked Ellie, her full title being Lady Eleanor Rodrigues of San Jaime. She's soft and gentle, and yet a feisty young lady and doesn't take kindly to insults, regardless of the persons rank and is determined to stand her ground and defend herself as best she can. She's unfortunate to have an alchemist for a father, who is more interested in trying to turn metals into gold instead of being a father to Ellie. They are pretty much penniless and spend many months and years sleeping in barns or a friends spare room.
Will, the Earl of Dorset, is an interesting character but I didn't like him so much at the beginning as he's rather cruel to Ellie, aged twelve, and her father. However, deep down it is because his father has just died, which he believes to be the fault of Ellie's father and his alchemy practises, hence his hostility. He is also only fourteen and now head of his family's estate and fortune, and all the burdens that come with such a responsibility.
What I enjoyed most about Will was seeing him grow as a person, watching him work things through in his mind and coming to realise that his words and actions are spiteful and how, against his pride, he eventually apologises to Ellie when they met again in the future.
When Ellie and Will meet again four years later he doesn't recognise her, so they flirt and play and you get a real sense of their growing love for one another. Of course, things don't run smoothly and Will eventually finds out who she is. I was hoping for more passion as the writing itself seems to be aimed at the higher age bracket in the young adult market, but the romance is so sweet that the lack of passion didn't hinder me from finding this book an absolute treat.
I am very impressed with this debut. I loved Edwards writing style, and although everything happens at a fairly slow pace throughout The Other Countess, not once did I wish away the pages. The writing is beautiful and the characters are so vivid that I loved every word. I will definitely be reading the sequel, The Queen's Legacy, which is to be released sometime in Spring 2011, but until then I urge any fan of historical fiction or romance to read The Other Countess! (less)