Cass - Words on Paper's Reviews > Beautiful Days

Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen
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's review
Oct 25, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011-release, sequels-series, review-copy, read-2011, historical-ya, author-love, own
Read from September 03 to 29, 2011



I'd be lying if I said I was utterly blown away by BEAUTIFUL DAYS. However, with that said, this eagerly awaited sequel really brought me back to the Jazz Era - along with the lives of Cordelia Grey, Astrid Donal and 'Letty Larkspur'. There's mystery, romance, intrigue, fun, tragedy and beautiful days and roaring nights among it all.

The girls are back! Cordelia (on cover this time) is dealing with her father's recent murder, and with the confusing circumstances surrounding that elusive and cold pilotman Max Darby. Astrid is about to be wed with Charlie Grey but yearns for the constant excitement that only a night out in the town can provide. And little miss Letty is going to go after her dreams of making it big - no matter what.

Once again, in this review I'd like to say that I have not read the THE LUXE series, so I can't draw any comparisons between the two series. If you're looking for a great summer read - this will be among the top of the list. BEAUTIFUL DAYS takes place during the LAST SUMMER of the Jazz Era, which can only mean one thing for the next instalment to the series. ;) I for one can't wait for the drastic changes!

Godbersen continues to utilise the third person multiple perspectives style that she has used in all her past novels. Anyone who has read any of Godbersen's novels will know exactly what to expect, writing-wise. What Godbersen continues to do well is switch between these girls with such ease that you're barely even aware of it. I love how she does go over the appearances of each scene and notable character, so that you're actually able to visualise every scene precisely how Godbersen has imagined it.

The girls are even more glamorous in this book. I rekindled my love for both Letty and Cordelia, but I just couldn't stand Astrid most of the time. She's pretty whiney and in her naivety gets into so many stupid situations. I don't even want to talk about her that much. I applaud Charlie for his patience, no matter how slight they were. He was going through so much crap throughout this book, what with his bootlegging business, that he didn't need his silly fiance to ruin things for him. Anyway, Letty really matures during the course of this book, and it shows. I think she's always been my favourite of the three, just because she has that unmasked sincerity and girlish charm to her that never goes away. Cordelia revels in her luxury, and although she does have a few hiccups here and there, she's self-assured and confident and a glittering picture of the Jazz Era.

There is so much romance/flirting in this book! Nothing that really swept me off my feet or had me swooning, mind you, but you can't review this book without mentioning the voluptuous amount of suitors for each girl. Okay, maybe it wasn't a whole hoard or anything, but still. The pairs that matter are Cordelia x Max, Letty x Grady (he's back!) and Astrid x Charlie. My favourite is definitely the first - I just soaked up the events that follow their relationship.

One thing that did bother me (other than Astrid) was the almost lack of direction in this installment. There isn't one really undercurrent storyline running throughout the book, more like a bundle of stories that are intertwined together. I guess it is hard for that to happen in this kind of era, but I don't know. Anyone else feel that way?

What I really love is that Charlie Grey takes on such a large role during this book, compared to BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS. I didn't like how he kept secrets from his fiance - which gave her even more the reason to oppose him and go do stupid things - but...I liked his character.

For fans of a delectable read, BEAUTIFUL DAYS picks up where BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS left off. This time, the summer is hotter, and the romances and betrayals even stronger. Godbersen hits the nail on the head with maintaining a solid storyline for each girl, and intertwining these stories to form a coherent plot.



"My father has been dead barely a month." Her voice trembled a little, but her words fell with violent precision. "He wasn't a bad man, and he did all he could for himself and his family. He didn't begrudge other people their choices, and he left a life grander than the one he was born into. So you'll not say 'bootlegger' to me in that righteous tone again." She took another sip of the drink, and then thrust both the glass and the pitcher forward with sudden force, so that Max had no choice but to take them. Then, learning forward, holding his gaze, and almost hissing, she concluded: "Don't expect me to act like some ashamed nothing just because you talk so high and mighty. I know who I am."

(p. 51, Cordelia - kicking ass as always)

"I've eaten some bad meals in my time." He paused for effect, and more or less subdued the smile he'd been wearing since she'd begun to act carefree again. "This may possibly be the most inedible plate of food I have even been served in my long years of eating."
"You bastaard!" she hooted. "The worst? You're in trouble now, my friend--earlier I was going easy on you when it came to our little game, but now I shall show you no mercy."
"Ah, it's on then?" he replied with a wise smile.
"Indeed it is, mister." She sat up straight in her chair and focused on her hand.

(pp. 168-169, Astrid and Victor - Charlie's man ~ Astrid cooked dinner for Charlie, and burnt the roast and oversalted the potatoes in the process. In the end, Charlie had 'things to do' and so she was left with a babysitter. Victor. Astrid and Victor just had dinner and now they're playing gin rummy.)

Letty's feet were heavy and her chest felt like one big days-old bruise that keeps getting kicked. She wished ... Gracy had any girl but Peachy at his side. For the sight of her long legs had always made Letty seem short, as her rich dress made Letty feel poor, and the length of her neck and the way she carried her head perched on top of it could reduce Letty to nothing. The bruised sensation spread outward from her heart to the pit of her stomach and up to her temples, and she began to take in the full scope of her loss.

(p. 295, Letty on Grady)

In a black dress, with her face framed by a gold headress, Letty was a vision of a much more experienced performer. Her eyes danced across the audience and she raised her arms, slow and sure, as her voice swelled. Cordelia thought of her when they first became friends, when they were still girls and Letty blushed when anyone said even the most casual thing to her. It was incredible that this was the same girl. If Cordelia had told any of the men along the bar watching Letty, rapt, that she was just seventeen and had only arrived from Ohio in May, she knew they would have fallen off their stools in surprise.

(p. 313, Cordelia on Letty as she performs)

Sorry for the long quotes. Godbersen writes really long passages and they're only effective when they are quoted in their entirety.

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Reading Progress

09/13 page 46
11.0% "These books make me feel almost sophisticated. :P Gorgeous gorgeous cover!"
09/24 page 0
0.0% "It's been a while since I picked this up again so I'm going to read from the beginning. DERRRP."
09/26 page 160
37.0% "My copy only has 352 pages, so yeah...almost halfway! Good so far, and I didn't even need to re-read BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS to get back into the 'story'."
02/05 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Aly (Fantasy4eva) Thinking of re-reading the first again too, let me know how this one goes!

Cass -  Words on Paper It's actually okay, without re-reading. Godbersen mentions the events that happened in the first book pretty well. I pieced everything back together, even though I completely forgot everything before picking BEAUTIFUL DAYS up.

I'm almost at the half-way mark already! Heh I'm such a slow reader these days.

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