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Rumors by Anna Godbersen
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Feb 02, 12

bookshelves: favourite-books
Read in August, 2010

This is book 2 of the Luxe series by Anna Godbersen, and is just as good if not better than the first - The Luxe.

It is almost two months now since Elizabeth's death, or Elizabeth's faked death at least, and Mrs Holland - Elizabeth's mother, is now focused on Elizabeth's younger sister Diana, who although young at only 16, she is now looking to marry off to try to save the family from their increasing debt problems.

Diana, and Penelope - the girl who orchestrated Elizabeth's disappearance, are the only ones who know the truth about Elizabeth's 'death', but Diana alone is aware that her sister is now living with their old coachman Will in California. The boy that she fell in love with as a child.

Henry - Elizabeth's fiancé, is in mourning for Elizabeth, even though he did not really love her, and feels guilty that her death may not have been an accident, as he knows that she knew about the affair he was having with her younger sister Diana. Henry himself though is biding his time, until a reasonable amount has passed in which to appear proper, before he can marry Diana who he actually does love. His best friend Teddy feels that it is in poor taste to marry his dead fiancé's younger sister, and tries to convince Henry of this, while Penelope continues her scheming to be Henry's wife, getting his step-mother on side in her quest for his attention.

Diana, although happy that Elizabeth is not dead, can't help but feel a little put-out by the fact that her mother is now setting her up with countless eligible bachelors who she can't stand, when in fact she is also very much in love with Henry, and also waiting until an appropriate time for them to be together.

Unfortunately, Mrs Holland falls ill, and under Teddy's guidance, Henry tells Diana that he can't be with her, prompting Diana to send a telegram to Elizabeth explaining the awful situation she has found herself in, and the families continuing money problems.

Elizabeth is living with Will in California, under the ruse that they are a married couple, and Diana's telegram shocks her, prompting her to begin the long journey with Will back to New York so they might see her ill mother. They have good news though, Will believes he has found oil on the land that they are renting, and that the Holland's will soon see an end to their financial problems.

In a turn of events however, Penelope then reveals to Henry that Elizabeth in fact faked her own death, and is now off with her coachman somewhere, and Henry takes this as a sign that he should be with Diana. Waiting in her room for her one night, he professes his love for her, and they make love for the first time. Unfortunately however, they are caught together by the maid the next morning, and the news gets back to Penelope, who issues an ultimatum to Henry - marry her, or she will ruin Diana's reputation with the news that she and Henry are having an affair.

Several things are now on the line, who will Henry marry - will he choose Penelope and save Diana and her family from public humiliation, or will he go against what society thinks is proper and marry Diana anyway? What will Mrs Holland think of her eldest daughters deceit and her arrival - not dead, completely out of the blue?

There are a couple of other storylines running through this story, but the main question still revolves around who will eventually end up married to Henry - the scheming Penelope, the not-dead Elizabeth, or her younger sister Diana who Henry really does have feelings for.

This book continues in the same `gossip girl' style as the first, and lives up to the expectations of the first book very well. Towards the end it is totally un-put-down-able, as the race to the alter becomes more fierce, and Elizabeth returns from the dead. You really will be enthralled by Penelope's scheming, and poor Diana's struggles to both be with the one she loves, and save her family from the poverty they have found themselves in, not to mention how she explains away her dead sister's presence.

Read this book! And read the one before it too - The Luxe. Both highly recommended. 9/10.
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