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Luxe #1

The Luxe

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Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups. This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone--from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud--threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future. With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear... In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

433 pages, Hardcover

First published November 20, 2007

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About the author

Anna Godbersen

31 books3,174 followers
Anna Godbersen was born in Berkeley, California, and educated at Barnard College. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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5 stars
18,918 (26%)
4 stars
22,921 (31%)
3 stars
19,082 (26%)
2 stars
7,450 (10%)
1 star
3,611 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,803 reviews
Profile Image for Merary.
232 reviews197 followers
June 15, 2012
Maybe at this moment you're checking my rating and thinking, "What the fuck?!"
I'm going to tell you something: I enjoy reading shallow, trashy books. Somehow they pull me into a world of bitchy, spoiled, backstabbing characters; name-dropping and the need to choke them all for being so damn stupid. And I fucking love it. You know why? Because they keep me interested in their stupidity. The more books I read, the less I stop searching for trashy books. A girl like me can only handle enough in their chest.

Take for example the series Gossip Girl. The main characters are so spoiled that I want to smack them around. They back-stab the people they like, treat everyone else like crap because they aren't as spoiled as they are, and the main male protagonist always cheats on his girlfriend with her best friend. So why do I read that crap? Because they keep me intrigued. All these things they do make me want to know what stupidities are they going to do next. Nothing is as delicious like some juicy drama. Also revenge, but that's another story.

So, The Luxe. . .

I don't know exactly what made me interested in these books, but one thing is for sure: That dress is beautiful! Just look at it! It's so pink and fluffy!! That being said, I read the back cover:

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.
This is Manhattan, 1899.

*re-reads* Hot damn! I am so in!!
At that time, I haven't read enough historical fiction to know what was the good quality ones and the bad quality ones. I was only interested on what this book was going to contain.

The main protagonists, Elizabeth and Diana Holland, are the major socialites of Manhattan. Everyone envies them. But what the public doesn't know is that they're broke. The only solution for this problem is that Elizabeth should marry the handsome bachelor, Henry Schoonmaker (HA! What a stupid last name!). Problem is, Penelope Hayes--Elizabeth's on and off best friend--wants Henry and she and him were supposed to be a couple. Also, Elizabeth is in love with Will Keller, her coachman. Unfortunately, Lina Broud, one of the house's servants, is in love with him as well and she's determined to win him.

See what I mean? This is exactly the type of drama I love! Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't think this book was a literary sensation. My ratings aren't just about how good a book is, it is also about entertainment value. And you better believe that this book was a heck of an entertainment! Sure, this book isn't historically accurate, but that didn't stop me from enjoying them. I thought the writing was alright, and obviously so much better than the other authors who write trashy books.
I only recommend this series if you enjoy reading catty characters.

P.S. Did you really expect these books to be exquisite historical fiction? Did you notice who reviewed the books on the back? That's right. Cecily Von Ziegesar, the creator of the Gossip Girl series, did. Coincidence? I think not.
Profile Image for Misty.
796 reviews1,230 followers
September 21, 2013
The Luxe is about turn of the century New York socialites falling in love and misbehaving. New York's darling debutant, Elizabeth Holland is poised to marry one of the most eligible (and debaucherous) bachelors in the city, but her perfect life is not what it seems.

The Luxe reads like Gossip Girl meets Edith Wharton. Sadly, it has all of the shallowness and poor writing of the former, with little of the intelligence and power of the latter.
For realsies. Read the rest of my thoughts on The Luxe HERE.
August 26, 2021

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DNF @ 9%

This book has been sitting on my Kindle for years and I own copies of books #2 and #3 for some reason (either someone gave them to me or I thrifted them, I can no longer remember). Anyway, since I owned three books in this series, plus her flapper book, I felt like I ought to finally give Anna Godbersen the old college try.

Sadly, this book is not for me. The entire prologue consisted of monstrous info-dumps and it has a very deliberately ornate style that didn't work for me. It kind of reminds me of that book, MY LADY JANE, which I hated. So I think if you liked that book, you'll probably enjoy this one. Ditto Gail Carriger. The writing styles feel very similar.

1.5 stars
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
June 18, 2015
That dress. That dress! How can this not be a fun romantic read? And so I dived into 1899 New York City high society, with its whirl of dances and social calls and hidden agendas. And came to a stuttering halt very quickly.

I can do shallow and superficial for a hundred pages or so (Exhibit A: The Bookshop on the Corner), but over 400 pages* of banal gossip and backstabbing and jostling for social position? Ugh. Even the secret romances weren't very interesting. I was ready to slit my wrists after a few chapters.

Lesson learned: Don't get sucked in by lovely cover art.

*Not to mention that you have to read the three sequels to get the whole story, which, judging from the reviews of book #4 that I've read, doesn't end particularly well and has justifiably made a lot of readers very unhappy and angry. Glad I passed.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
234 reviews121 followers
October 16, 2011
Luxe by Anna Godbersen

So I'd be lying if I said I was oozing with excitement to read this book. In fact, I put off reading it for just about a year. A really good friend of mine recommended me this book and told me I'd absolutely love it but when I bought the book, I let it gather dust in the corner of my bookshelf.

There are two reasons why I put off reading this for so long: One, because its a Historical Romance. I cannot even begin to tell people how much I HATE (okay, hate is a strong word, but seriously, I don't like them) Historical Romances. I don't know what it is about Historical books but for whatever reason, I can't get into them. I tried reading Entwined and that was a bust. I tried reading Soulless and that was a dnf. Its mainly the time period, the way of life, and the characters that puts me off and no matter how hard I try, I can't get sucked in.

The second reason is that this book is in the third person. When I read books in third person, I hardly ever give them five stars, no matter how well written because as I've said before, I want to make a connection to the characters. I understand that this is difficult to do, especially when a writer wants to incorporate more than one voice in the novel but at the same time, I feel almost shut off from everyone.

So then finally, one year later, I picked this book up because the book I wanted to buy wasn't coming out until Saturday, I didn't feel like reading anything else, and I had only a minute to choose a book before I had to leave.

And, oh my god yeek I loved this book! I don't know how to explain it but I did! I fell in love with a historical romance third person book! Who would have thunk it? I can't even begin to describe how much I loved this book.

At first, the beginning started off a little slow but then things began to pick up speed ergo the snowball effect. My heart simply burst for Elizabeth. I can completely relate to her when she thought about how trapped she felt in her life, especially since her mother was forcing her into marriage but then when she admitted she was in love with Will, her glorious sexy coachman, I think I died. Although Elizabeth would be characteristically described as fake, I applaud her. Because despite her wishes, she wanted to do what was best for her family but in the end, she decided to do what was best for herself. And she really truly loved Will. Even though we unfortunately didn't get to see much of him in this book, their love was innocent and true, something I have not seen in a long time. Elizabeth + Will = <3

Then there's Diana, Elizabeth's feisty little sister. God was she a beaut. She's the girl that most teenagers become when they try to find themselves. I really have nothing bad to say about her because she was so true and real to herself, yet completely opposite of Elizabeth. Usually when it comes to siblings, I prefer one over the other, but both girls were great to read about and I am glad that Diana did not resent her sister in the end.

Enter Henry, playboy/bachelor extraordinare. When I first read about him, god I couldn't stand him. He was arrogant, annoying, and frankly, a man slut. He was also macking it up with Penelope - who didn't seem to mind in the least - and in a way, I'm glad his father wanted him to straighten out, although his father did it for more selfish reasons instead of fatherly concern. Then there was a change in Henry, something gradual, yet sudden, small, yet monumental, and so so beautiful. Watching him fall in love with but I loved how things turned out.

And Penelope...dear sweet god. This chick has serious issues. Vindictive, self-absorbed, manipulative, obsessive, and so many more despicable characteristics. She really was a disgusting person because even if she went for what she wanted and she was confident in herself, she didn't know when to quit, when to slow down, and when to leave the battlefield. And yes, at one point in the book, I felt so bad for her but in the end, all I saw was a vulnerable girl who would step on anyone to get what she wanted.

Finally, there's Lina. Lina Broud...what to say. For the first quarter of the book, I felt bad for this girl. She thought of herself as ugly and plain compared to her mistress Elizabeth. She felt trapped in her position as servant and longed for something more which I can relate to and more than anything, she wanted to feel loved as a beautiful woman. Her heart ached for her childhood friend Will and she longed to tell him how she had felt all this time, convinced he will feel the same. At the time, I crossed my fingers, hoping she would get Will but when I found out almost immediately after that Will and Elizabeth were together and happy I did a 180. Seeing Lina witness her two childhood friends together was heartbreaking and I can understand that but the lengths she went to to get Will's heart and make Elizabeth look bad was cruel and selfish. Plus, she based everything she wanted on what she thought Will wanted just so he would love her when he really never would. I just don't like Lina for her decisions, her lack of confidence in herself, and her obsession over Will. I can honestly see her going crazy over the next few books over this.

Overall, I LOVED this book as you can see from my lengthy review. Wow, I actually think this is my longest review, officially beating out my Perfect Chemistry review length. Woo hoo! I am happy to say that I loved the story line and although the writing could have been better in some parts, I loved this book nonetheless. I am currently in the middle of Rumors and boy oh boy are things getting exciting. And even though this is a historical/third person book, I am happy to say how much I loved it all.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Profile Image for Nancy.
473 reviews10 followers
March 2, 2008
The Holland sisters, Elizabeth and Diana, are at the top of the social ladder. When their father dies, the girls move away to get educated about being a proper lady and when they come back, they find out that things don’t look too good for the Holland family. They’re broke. But if Mrs. Holland has anything to say about it, they won’t be, not for long. If Elizabeth can marry Henry Schoonmaker—a man who’s so handsome he has the hearts of all eligible females—their family name won’t be smeared. But Elizabeth already has her heart set on Will, who is just a mere stable boy, and Penelope, Liz’s supposed best friend, wants Henry. And where’s Diana all this time? Falling in love with Henry, of course. Rich girls always get what they want, but there’s just one Henry to go around.

Plenty of reviews I’ve read had it labeled as a cross between Pride & Prejudice and Gossip Girl. I think not. The concept about rich girls leading scandalous lives in Manhattan, though set in 1899 for The Luxe, and how marriage was just beneficial for status upholding, is the same. Everything else, not really.

I think this is even worse than Gossip Girl. Just like I didn’t see the point in the latter, I failed to see this book as none other than a boring read with underdeveloped characters who basically whine and never take control. Take Elizabeth, for instance. Right from the beginning she’s introduced as this beautiful and proper young lady who’s involved with a servant but is engaged to the most set-forth bachelor, Henry. The parts written about her fall bland shortly after she’s engaged. She does absolutely nothing except to look blank and regretful. I find it very hard to reach some level of sympathy for a character that’s mostly just a background face because the author failed to incorporate some kind of human being qualities to her. It’s like this: Anna Godbersen wanted to portray a perfect girl that didn’t have a perfect life after all (the most common storyline ever beside the love-hate relationships type) and rather than making Elizabeth her main character, she made her into a depressed girl. Everything that happens in the novel surrounds Elizabeth’s life and her actions, but I just don’t see her as a focus. Sure, she finally finds the strength to do something towards the end of the book, but that’s because Penelope was there to help her. Can’t she do anything by herself? She’s just a horrible protagonist and if that’s the message—get your own independence—then the author’s done a poor job of relaying that.

Take notice that this book has 433 pages. 433 pages of slow action and mindless characters that just appear and disappear so they can serve in certain parts of the story. A story isn’t supposed to be like that—everything has to connect somehow. And the most unflattering character is Diana. From the start, I never saw that kind of bond between her and Elizabeth that’s made Diana so sobby at the last minute. She’s been portrayed as this whinny, kind of unusual sister. But later, she does all sorts of things that contradict the personality she’s been given, which I find very inconsistent. If there’s character development involved, there has to be a turning point for that to happen, but I didn’t see it.

All in all, not something I would ever pick up again. I thought GG had been a reminder that I should stay away from stories about rich girls with nothing to do but have sex and steal other people’s boyfriends. I like books with some kind of message, with development, with strong-willed protagonists that makes everything better, but I found nothing of the requirements here. I’m just glad I gave up halfway but decided to read the ending chapters anyway. Two words: so predictable.

But if you actually like the endless, unrealistic love triangles (why would anyone like Henry, anyway? He’s such an arrogant ass) between Elizabeth-Will-Lina and Diana-Henry-Penelope, or the fact that the girls wear gowns and everyone rides horses, then this probably is the book for you. I mean, at least some of the history was nailed pretty accurately, thought most facts were just mentioned in passing.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,401 reviews11.7k followers
December 19, 2009
Sorry, but I can't go on reading this drivel. Maybe I am too spoiled by Edith Wharton and know too much about Gilded Age mores to enjoy this book. I know that young men and women of that time simply do not behave, talk, or live the way Godbersen portrays in her books. If you take the historical setting out of the story, what's left is a who-will-hook-up-with-who kind of trash. If I ever want to read that, I'll pick up Gossip Girls.

Beautiful cover though...
Profile Image for sarah.
392 reviews262 followers
February 15, 2020
With glitz, glamour and secrets galore, The Luxe is like Gossip Girl set in 1899 New York.

When reputations are at stake and secrets become a currency, friends turn on friends and no one is safe.

We begin the story with an end of one. The funeral of miss Elizabeth Holland, a tragic and unexpected death of one of society’s most loved. The next chapter, we see Elizabeth, before her death. I loved this element, as we knew she died- but not how, why or by who.

This intrigue was what initially gripped me. Who killed her? But I soon found out the story was less focused on the mystery and more on the drama and who will kiss who.

The book alternates perspectives through a few key players in Elizabeth’s life. Henry Schoonmaker- the fiancé, Diana Holland- the sister, Lina Broud- the maid and Penelope Hayes- the best friend.

This was very character driven, but none of the characters were likeable.

Elizabeth was so perfect, prim and proper that it was irritating. She felt fake and selfish to me, and behind the perfect manners, she didn't care about anyone other than herself.

Diana from her very first page radiated some serious not like other girls energy.
“all the other girls Diana's age were conformists at heart and seemed to have dressed up as themselves, only with more powder and artificially narrowed waists”

Lina was the household maid, but dreamed of bigger things. She felt very selfish and juvenile to me, and never thought of the consequences of her actions.

Henry was alright, but was the archetype of a rich, aloof playboy.

Penelope was who I initially hated the most, but that was because she was written was such a purposeful intent for us the hate her. She knew what she wanted, and was prepared to do whatever she must to get it. She was resourceful, cunning and ambitious. A true slitherin queen. Upon reflection, she may the character I hated the least.

When I say this felt exactly like gossip girl- I mean exactly like gossip girl. Take this with a grain of salt, because I have never read the books and only watched about half of the first season of the show but to me, these characters were scarily similar:

Elizabeth= Serena
Penelope= Blair
Will= Dan
Buck= Chuck
Henry= Nate

I was actually pleasantly surprised with the writing and worldbuilding. While I am under no illusions that it is perfectly researched and historically accurate in terms of dialogue or general conduct- it served its purpose of transporting me to the time with its descriptions of fine gowns, lavish balls and court like intrigue.

My main gripe with this book is the ending. After the intrigue and buildup from the very first page, it felt cheesy and anti climatic.

Overall, this was nothing spectacular, but enjoyable in the way CW shows, twilight, or things of that vein are enjoyable. I would recommend it if you are looking for a mindless few hours of reading with pretty girls wearing pretty dresses and backstabbing each other, but otherwise, maybe give this one a miss.
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,221 reviews2,164 followers
April 5, 2009
It's September 1899 and the Manhattan season is starting off with a bang. Elizabeth Holland, the darling of the high society set, has returned from her year in Paris in time for the first ball of the season, held at her best friend Penelope Hayes' newly finished and incredibly vulgar mansion. Penelope is all about showing herself to the best advantage, and has her sights set on young rake Henry Schoonmaker - but his father has other ideas. Intending to run for mayor the following year, he wants his only son to shape up and marry a good girl from a good family: Elizabeth.

The day after the ball, he proposes to Elizabeth and is accepted (even though her heart belongs to the young coachman, Will, whom her maid, Lina, also loves), because Henry's family has money and the Holland family now has none - which no one know about except them. You have to keep up appearances, after all. This is the day he also meets Elizabeth's younger sister, Diana, and there's something about her that captivates him like no other girl ever has. It's a tangled mess and it's about to get a whole lot messier as Penelope schemes to break up the engagement.

Okay, I'll admit that despite being rather anti-girly, I've always had a thing for dresses and period costumes, and the big poofy thing on the cover certainly fascinated me. But it also repelled me: it's just so HUGE and PINK and PUFFY!

The descriptions of this novel/series that I came across said it was like Gossip Girls and that it was about New York High Society girls at the turn of the century - well it all put me off. Until a friend recommended it, and I'm glad she did, for as ridiculous as the dress is, the book is really very good.

I don't watch Gossip Girls, so I can't speak to any similarities there - what I was reminded of, though, was Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers. Admittedly, I have read very few books set in 19th century Manhattan, so Wharton's book was the only one I could think of, mostly because it's about four girls from "new money" making their way in the world amongst the British upper class. I highly recommend it, or the TV mini-series based on it.

Anyway, I completely expected to be utterly bored by this book, but instead I was vastly entertained and gripped by the unfolding mystery and tension, and even though the prologue tells you the ending, it doesn't tell you anything, and you're never sure what's going to happen next or how it all worked out. I did suspect from the very beginning the truth about Elizabeth, though.

There was plenty to love and enjoy here, despite the somewhat clichéd characters. The setting is vividly brought to life, though I would imagine some people wouldn't care for the little asides about dress fabrics and ormulu (gilt-bronze) inlaid chairs, but to me it added some necessary and authentic detail, as well as showing (without actually telling) the disparity between classes and "breeding": the gaudy over-the-top grandeur of the Hayes' new mansion; the stately but stuffy Schoonmaker home; and the refined, old-world elegance of the Hollands' - all highlighting the still-pervasive class clash between old money and new, inherited from the British.

The period is also supported by little clippings from newspapers, journals and those books on the proper deportment of a lady at the beginnings of the chapters, which help remind you of the world outside and surrounding these preoccupied young women, and how everyone is watching them. There is some thought given to class consciousness, the social expectations, pretensions and manoeuvring of the rich, but I was pleased to see it didn't suffer from too much "presentism". It was also good to have one of the protagonists be a lady's maid who ends up on the street - you get to see the less glamorous, more hard-working "trade" side of the city.

Of the four protagonists: Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope and Lina, I liked Diana the most. Probably because she was the most honest, direct and least girly, she had spunk and flair and was the least superficial. Elizabeth was handled well: a goody-goody, demure and seemingly innocent girl in public, sharp and uncomfortable with her maid Lina in private, and relaxed and true to herself with Will - a realistic portrait of how most of us present different sides to different people, sometimes what is expected of us, or what creates armour for us, or what enables us to get along with people the best. Elizabeth wasn't all that likeable because she didn't stand up for herself as much as you'd want, but she was definitely sympathetic.

The bitch of the book is Penelope, of course - and she's marvellous at it. She's the character you "love to hate". She's the most straight-forward of all the characters, and spiteful, and duplicitous, and you have to admire her tenacity.

Godbersen's prose helps lift the novel above the usual fare - it's nothing fancy, but it is solid, capable, unpretentious, and confident. I thought it started a little slowly, but once I became interested in the characters the pacing really picked up and held me. The author doesn't have any annoying ticks or over-used favourite words, so it flows well and smoothly. For a debut novel, it is remarkably polished, free of typos and other poor editing glitches (though I doubt "gotten" is as old as 1899). There are four books in the series: The Luxe, Rumors, Envy and Splendor. I had to look up what "Luxe" means because I had no idea: it's a noun meaning "luxury" or "abundance". Fitting.
Profile Image for Kate.
265 reviews75 followers
Want to read
October 4, 2009
I hate, hate, HATE books that are suppose to be set in one time period but they have the behavor of someone in a different time period. If I didn't know better, I would have thought that this books was set in the present time. I won't ruin it for anyone who wants to read it... but I was disappointed. I thought "How could such a pretty book not be good?" I always thought that not judging a book by its cover was about ugly books being good, but now I know better.

However, if you like mindless stories, and don't care about historical accuracy, this will be a great book for you.

Disclaimer: I was almost a history major in college, so I tend to take history very seriously. I understand not everyone is this way.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,634 followers
March 14, 2008
Hmmm. This is an interesting book. It is, as the name implies, very luxe. The gown descriptions are sumptuous, and all the characters are gorgeous, with thick curling hair and full pouty lips. However, I had a hard time figuring out who to root for, as it were. You don't really get deep insights into Elizabeth, ostensibly the heroine, and her handsome lover's thoughts are never known at all. The villainess bitchy girl, the little sister, the rich cad, all get more detailed character development, but I had a hard time getting into them as well, because they weren't immediately likable. By the end, I had some definite favorites, and I am excited to read the sequel and find out what happens to everybody, but it wasn't until the last chapter that I really started to care about the characters. Nonetheless, it's a definite page-turner. From the first chapter I couldn't put it down, waiting to see if my suspicions (it starts out with a funeral and then goes back to the month leading up to the tragic death) were correct.
Profile Image for Norwyn Schäfer.
792 reviews9 followers
July 10, 2019
3/5 Sterne
Die Prinzessinnen von New York - Scandal
von Anna Godbersen
„Ihre Liebe ist ihr gefährlichstes Geheimnis
Mädchen, die in schönen Kleidern nächtelang feiern. Junge Männer mit verführerischem Lächeln und gefährlichen Absichten. Das ist die Welt, in der Elizabeth und Diana Holland leben. Eine Welt voller Luxus und Vergnügen, aber auch Intrigen und Verrat. Denn in der High Society Manhattans kann ein Skandal den Ausschluss bedeuten. Eigentlich kennen die Schwestern die Spielregeln, an die sie sich halten müssen. Doch als ihre Mutter ihnen ein Geheimnis offenbart, wird den Mädchen klar, dass sich ihr Leben bald vollkommen verändern könnte. Und nun muss Elizabeth mehr denn je fürchten, dass ihre verbotene Liebe zu dem mittellosen Will entdeckt wird, denn dann wäre nicht nur ihre Zukunft, sondern auch die ihrer Familie für immer ruiniert ...
"Romantik, Eifersucht, Verrat, Humor und ein opulentes Setting. Ich konnte Die 'Prinzessinnen von New York' nicht zur Seite legen!" CECILY VON ZIEGESAR, Autorin der "Gossip-Girl"-Reihe
1. Band der "Prinzessinnen-von-New-York"-Reihe“
Ich bedanke mich bei Netgalley und dem LYX digital Verlag für das kostenlose Rezensionsexemplar des Buches. Ich gebe hier meine unabhängige und unbezahlte Meinung zu dem Buch ab.
Zu allererst einmal ist das Cover ein Hinkucker und verführt den Leser förmlich zu diesem Buch zu greifen, aber… und hier beginnen schon die Makel. Seitenlange langweilige Beschreibungen von Einrichtungen und Kleidung, langatmige Passagen die den Leser echt verleiten weiterzublättern bis endlich mal wieder was passiert. Dann wechseln immer wieder die Personen, die das Kapitel aus ihrer Sicht erzählen, so dass man hin und her geschleudert wird im Buch. Allerdings gibt es keine Überschriften wer denn jetzt dran ist und man findet das erst beim Lesen heraus. Da haben wir Diana, Lina, Elizabeth usw. Nach dem Cover und dem Klappentext her, hatte ich ein mehr modernes Märchen erwartet und auch mehr auf die moderne Zeit bezogen. Mit einem Buch, welches im Jahr 1899 spielt hatte ich nicht gerechnet, eher mit etwas ala Gossip Girl. Die ganze Geschichte an sich ist für mich zu langatmig geschrieben, zu viele Beschreibungen und durch meine Erwartungen, welche durch das Cover und den Klappentext geprägt waren, bin ich eigentlich enttäuscht worden. Man erwartet etwas Bestimmtes und bekommt etwas vollkommen anderes. War ich enttäuscht? Ja. Hatte ich etwas anderes erwartet? Eindeutig. Hier sollte vielleicht bei den Folgeteilen gleich beim Cover oder dem Klappentext eine Änderung her um den Leser nicht in die Irre zu führen. Ich hoffe wirklich, dass die weiteren Teile nicht wieder mit diesen ermüdenden Beschreibungen einhergehen und etwas mehr Geschehen und interessantere Dialoge und Ereignisse in die Bücher eingebaut werden. Ich hatte mir wirklich sehr viel von dem Buch versprochen. Für einige Verwirrung, sorgten auch zu Beginn die Vielzahl an Namen und Personen, die man erst mal zuordnen musste und sich zurecht finden. Der Erzählstil ist auch nicht so ganz der meine gewesen. Ich habe einfach keine Bindung zu einem der Charaktere aufbauen können. Ein wenig mehr Action hätte der Geschichte auch wirklich gut getan und man kann nur hoffen, dass dies in den noch folgenden Bänden nachgeholt werden wird. Positiv war für mich, dass es keinen Cliffhanger gab und Diana, die wirklich ein kleiner Lichtblick mitten in diesen Personen war. Ich kann leider nicht mehr als 3 Sterne geben.
#liebesroman #newadult #rezension #rezensionsexemplar #roman #bookstagram #annagodbersen #lyx_verlag #lyx #bücher #bücherliebe #booklover #reading #bookadict #dieprinzessinnenvonnewyorkscandal #leseratte #bücherwurm #bookaholic #lesen #lesenmachtglücklich #instabooks #booknerd #readingtime #ilovebooks #netgalley #netgalleyde #ichliebelesen #buchnerd #ichliebebücher
Profile Image for Karin.
Author 15 books230 followers
January 7, 2008
If you didn't think the nineteenth century was full of drama then think again. Life in New York in 1899 was very eventful. At least it was for the very wealthy. Elizabeth Holland has been a perfect daughter her entire nineteen years of life. She has been groomed for years to be perfect - to talk when she was supposed to, to receive visitors on Sundays, and always appear happy no matter when she was feeling on the inside. People in New York expect her to marry well and continue the traditions of high society.

Life for Elizabeth isn't easy though, even though all she has to do is sit around and look beautiful. It turns out, since the death of her father, her family is having financial problems and aren't able to keep up the type of lifestyle they are used to living. One thousand dollar gowns, priceless works of art, and trips abroad are a thing of the past unless something can be done to secure the family's place in society before everyone learns of their trouble. Mrs. Holland thinks Elizabeth can save the family by marrying Henry Schoonmaker – New York's most eligible and most sought after bachelor.

The news of her impending engagement is a surprise to Elizabeth. She has always held out the hope that she would marry for love and in fact, has been in love for quite some time. Elizabeth has been having a secret relationship with Will Keller for many years. The relationship must be kept a secret because Will is an employee of the Holland family. He works in the stables and drives the carriages for them and carrying on a relationship with someone of lower status would be something that would ruin Elizabeth's reputation and the Holland family name. Word of her engagement puts a strain, understandably, on Elizabeth's relationship with Will.

Elizabeth's secret relationship with Will isn't the only thing that becomes more difficult after the wedding becomes public. Henry doesn't want to get married any more than Elizabeth does. He resents the fact that he is being forced to wed and give up his freedom. Penelope, her supposed best friend, is infuriated by the news of the wedding. She expected to marry Henry herself and is planning to break up the wedding by any means necessary. Elizabeth's personal maid, Lina, finds out about Elizabeth and Will's relationship and is hurt because she has grown to love Will herself. Even more problems crop up when Elizabeth's younger sister, Diana, begins to have feelings for Henry. Finally, and most devastating to Elizabeth, Will tells her he is leaving New York and heading west to California. How can a proper girl deal with all of these problems and be expected retain her poise?

THE LUXE is a fascinating look at life at the turn of the century. It is historical fiction at its best. For those of you that fall in love with the book like I have can look forward to the fact that the author is currently working on a sequel.
Profile Image for Kristi.
1,188 reviews2,892 followers
October 26, 2008
Beautiful Elizabeth Holland, lovely, prim, proper and of course a lady. Too bad she is dead. The story opens to a dreary day in late 19th century New York at the funeral of Miss Elizabeth Holland, the exact day in which she was to be wed.

Then time flashes back and we are taken through the events that ultimately lead to the death of Elizabeth.

Sisters Elizabeth and Diana couldn’t be more different. Elizabeth, the oldest, has always had the most pressure put on her to be a proper lady, to watch everything she says, does, and even wears. Diana is of course the opposite. She is the romantic, and she is wonderfully eclectic and confident in her ways.

When Elizabeth learns that her family’s welfare is in jeopardy she agrees to wed Henry Schoonmaker, a well-known playboy and heartbreaker, even though she loves another. Henry himself agrees to marry Elizabeth only so he will not be disinherited of his father’s fortune. At the night of her engagement announcement, her "best friend" Penelope Hayes reveals that she, herself is in love with Henry. This is the start of Penelope’s jealousy and betrayal to take down her biggest and only rival. Not to mention, Diana, who finds herself smitten with the elusive Henry, as well. Henry of course finds himself falling in love, finally, but not with his betrothed. Elizabeth struggles with her own happiness and the welfare of her family.
Throw in a jealous maid that knows too much and you have yourself a full-blown scandal!

I loved The Luxe. It had everything a good story should. Mystery, humor, romance, and fun! I felt for Elizabeth and her constant struggle within herself, and having nowhere to turn. I loathed Penelope and only wished she had been the one to fall in the Hudson. The Luxe was enjoyable and entertaining. If you like Gossip Girls or even A Great and Terrible Beauty, I think that you would enjoy this book. Even more good news. It seems that Anna Godbersen will be releasing a sequel to The Luxe in the summer of 2008 entitled Rumors.
Profile Image for Courtney.
57 reviews
October 14, 2010
One big love triangle between Henry Schoonmaker, Diana Holland, Will Kellar, Elizabeth Holland, Penelope Hayes, Lina Broad, and Teddy. Elizabeth is having an affair with her coachmen, Will. Naturally their forbiden love is kept a secret. The Holland family begins losing money, forcing Elizabeth into an engagment with the charming casanova, Henry Schonnmocker. There's a few problems with that however:Penelope has a delusional infatuation with Henry but Henry is having a love struck affair with Elzabeth's younger sister, Diana. Not to mention that Elizabeth and Penelope were best friends, and upon Elzabeth's engagment Penelope develops a passionate hate for her friend. Lina Broad has been the Holland family's maid for years, ever since childhood. She has also had a growing affection for Will since childhood. When Lina finds out about Will and Elizabeth's love she attempts to crush it by informing Will about Elizabeth's upcoming marriage. Diana is also crushed by having to distant herself from Henry, and all the while Henry's best friend, Teddy, comes clean about his long time love for his friend's fiance, Elizabeth. But the Holland sister aren't ready to give up there true loves just yet....

1899 New York just got a whole lot more exciting as the wealthy socialiates attempt to learn how to balance lust with duty and love with hate. As Penelope's schemes begins, sisterly love breaks, and betrayel lurks behind everyone's wants these families' lives start falling apart.

Profile Image for TheGirlFromSmallville ❀.
232 reviews109 followers
February 8, 2016
This book is like Gossip Girl set in the late 19th century. Normally that would be fun for me since books like those are my guilty pleasure, but this was not as fun.

I loved the time period this was set in as well as Godberson's description of their wardrobe and settings, but I never really got attached to the characters nor was I really invested in the story. I saw that ending a mile away along with many other things in this book. It was predictable to say the least.
Profile Image for Bine.
645 reviews95 followers
January 31, 2018
Leichter, aber sehr unterhaltsamer Lesestoff. Wer gerne über Intrigen und Skandale in der High Society liest, wird hier auf seine Kosten kommen. Das ganze gepaart mit dem Glamour vom New York Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts ergibt ein sehr angenehmes Leseerlebnis. Selten habe ich ein Buch so schnell und flüssig lesen können. Ich habe mich richtig gewundert, wo die 400 Seiten auf einmal abgeblieben sind, als ich das Buch zugeschlagen habe. Es hat sich auf jeden Fall nicht wie 400 Seiten angefühlt. Der Schreibstil ist wirklich extrem flüssig und schafft es trotzdem, den historischen Flair des Settings rüberzubringen. Die Geschichte steigt prompt interessant ein mit dem Begräbnis der Protagonistin und man fragt sich, wie es dazu kommen konnte. Die Auflösung ist extrem schnell sehr naheliegend, aber es geht hier ja auch nicht um eine Detektivgeschichte. Ich fühlte mich geradezu befriedigend bestätigt, als alles so ausging, wie ich mir das gedacht hatte.
Das Buch ist auf jeden Fall für alle diejenigen was, die eine Geschichte à la Gossip Girl 100 Jahre zuvor erleben wollen und für eine gewisse Zeit ihrem Leben so entkommen wollen... und dabei keinen Wert auf historische Genauigkeit legen.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,235 reviews464 followers
June 19, 2017
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

It's 1899 and Elizabeth and Diana Holland are head of the social scene in New York. Unfortunately for the Holland family, their money is dwindling and their mother is beginning to have to sell their belongings. That's when William Shoonmaker comes to their mother with a proposition. Elizabeth is to marry his son Henry, the biggest bachelor known to Manhattan. Elizabeth agrees, even though she is in love with another man whom her maid, Lina, is also in love with. To make matters worse, her best friend, Penelope Hayes, is in love with Henry Shoonmaker. Now, feeling back stabbed, Penelope and Lina will stop at nothing to get rid of Elizabeth once and for all.

This book was basically just Gossip Girl set in the 1800's... I found the book to be quite boring and was originally going to only give it 2 stars. The plot seemed to move very slowly for me. I ended up giving it 3 stars due to the ending and cliff hanger I didn't see coming. None of the characters were very likeable, but I still enjoyed reading about their pettiness. Penelope especially, she is so cruel and I loved every second of it. This book is a very quick read and I can see it being a guilty pleasure read for many.
Profile Image for Sasha.
151 reviews15 followers
March 19, 2023
It’s like Gossip Girl set in 1899 with a bit of a mystery. It’s a fun story, but rather predictable. And as an audiobook, it’s something fun to listen to throughout the day that doesn’t require heavy listening while you work or clean.

I won’t listen to the rest of the books in the series, because as fun as the story is it’s a bit too young for me.
Profile Image for Dawn (& Ron).
155 reviews29 followers
May 16, 2012
3-1/2 stars

Set during the closing months of the 19th century, telling the stories of the young social elite and their servants. This doesn't pretend to be more than it is, a light, fun historical romp, and just what I needed at the time. Filled with backstabbing, manipulation, betrayal and drama, but surprisingly there is more depth than I originally anticipated, there is humor, heart, romance and duty to one's family, station and heart.
"The girls of her class were slaves to rules, going about life—if you could call it that—like bloodless mannequins."

Godbersen starts off each chapter with an excerpt from the society pages, newspaper article, books on decorum and a how to guide for lady's maids. These give you a preview for that chapter and sometimes interesting historical tidbits. Each chapter alternates, its third person point of view, between a handful of characters which may be bothersome for some. I appreciated this since it gave insight into the servants, too often just props in period fiction, showing how they felt towards their employers and vice versa.
"Her instinct was to do some violence to the white-and-gold upholstery that decorated the room, but she had not so lost her head as to want to ruin good brocade. Not yet."

Some of the dialogue has a modern feel but surprisingly there is a great deal of period detail. This attention to detail centers mostly on manners, décor, settings and clothing. While most of the characters are multi-dimensional and well drawn, there seemed to be some confusion with the free spirited female character, Diana. It seemed like the author couldn't decide whether she should be naive and innocent or worldly, modern and knowledgeable, and tended to flip flop instead. Then there is the mostly forgotten Agnes, she is built up at the beginning so that you expect to learn about how she came to her circumstances, but instead she is barely heard of again. There is a big plot twist at the end that I did figure out in advance, but it still held my interest since I didn't know how it would all came about. There are still many threads left, even without the twist, which make me curious to check out the next book in the series.
"The person she was trained to be would have nodded and been thankful, but she had just been forced out of her old life. The person she would be in her next life was finding her way one second at a time."

I also wanted to note that even though I have a hardback version of this book, I read the Kindle version and very much enjoyed the x-ray function, which gave a little synopsis of a character or place, and previous pages to help remind readers who a character is or previous events. I hope to see more publishers/authors utilizing this fun, interactive feature.

Give this a try if you are in the mood for a light, fun historical social melodrama that goes behind the glittering, glamorous façade of the wealthy upper class to show the joy and sadness, bite and snark, love and loss, and plenty of drama.
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews997 followers
January 9, 2009
Another Christmas gift, and one I wanted to read very much when it first came out, but shied away from somewhat after reading several reviews comparing it to the Gossip Girl series and stating that the writing left rather a lot to be desired. Oh, I thought sadly. That's too bad. It looked better than that. So I just admired the cover from afar, and that of the sequel Rumors. I probably would have just gone on ignoring the series if my mom hadn't given me a copy of The Luxe. I'm glad she did.

The prologue begins with Elizabeth Holland's funeral. The darling of upper crust Manhattan society, her sudden and inexplicable drowning in the Hudson shocks everyone from her frozen fiance Henry Schoonmaker to her scornful maid Lina Broud. The story then immediately jumps back several weeks to show us how events came to such a strange state. You think Elizabeth is going to be the main character, but she's not. She's not even very likable. Quiet, passive, perfect. Perfectly boring. That's Elizabeth. And that's why her best friend Penelope Hayes hates her. Everyone assumes Henry and Elizabeth would be perfect together, while Penelope is determined to have him for herself. And if you're wondering right now if the whole thing is as Peyton Place as it sounds thus far, the answer is yes. Yes it is. It's a roiling sea of love, despair, social climbing, and backstabbing. In perfectly lovely period costumes. It's hypnotic.

The story spends time going back and forth between five Victorian teens: Elizabeth, Henry, Penelope, Lina, and Diana (Elizabeth's younger, much more likable sister). And for awhile I kept thinking, Why am I reading this? These characters are perfectly awful. But then Diana became cool. Or rather I could tell she was going to become someone who was going to be cool. So I was reading it for Diana. The others I could take or leave. But then Henry started showing some good sense and just the slightest hint of a backbone, despite his apalling sense of entitlement. So I was reading it for Diana and Henry. And the dresses. Oh, the dresses. And because I enjoyed seeing Penelope swallow her own tongue when she finds out a certain couple are engaged. And, in the end, it was like watching a train wreck. A beautiful, awful train wreck. And I couldn't tear my eyes away from it. I had to run to the library to get a copy of Rumors to see What Happens. That review to follow shortly.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
March 27, 2016
Scandal and intrigue on the upper east side in Manhattan, New York! This is literally just like Gossip Girl but set in a different time period, girls with ball gowns and arranged marriages are all the rage. Not to mention backstabbers, liars and cheaters. I pretty much disliked everyone except the two Holland sisters and in guess that's what Anna was trying to do.

A main character who you want to be happy for. I kind of wished the romance between said main character and her certain lover was developed. Instead it was already known and I grew tired of all the politics and intrigue. The ending made it more worthwhile though. I also did like the author's narrative style, I learned a few new words for my vocabulary :) If it weren't for the huge reveal in the beginning I would have ultimately put this book down, but now that I read it to the end, I'm still invested in reading the next book because of that little cliffhanger.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews656 followers
October 21, 2014
Gossip Girl meets The Age of Innocence. Except that there's not really any Age of Innocence here.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Daphne.
991 reviews47 followers
March 13, 2016
I saw a lot of mixed reviews for this book, and I understand why, but I personally really enjoyed reading it. It's not a very deep story, but it doesn't pretend to be either. It's a little shallow but very entertaining, which is why I didn't even realize how quickly I was going through the story.

If you enjoy reading about gossip, drama, backstabbing, period settings and pretty dresses without too much substance every once in a while, I'd recommend this book. It's a lot of fun.
Profile Image for Denise Smith.
225 reviews
January 4, 2009
First, I can't believe that this is considered Youth Fiction! It definitely read like it was written for a teenage audience, but there was way too much sex, even if it was only ever implied. It was incredibly predictable and the characters were extremely unlikable. Beware, moms of teenage girls, this book was recommended to me as the "next big thing".
Profile Image for Meli  .
1,055 reviews188 followers
December 13, 2021
Ein Buch, das in New York um die Jahrhundertwende spielt, hatte ich bisher noch nicht gelesen, aber ich denke, das man die Stimmung und Etikette sehr gut eingefangen hat. Vom Gefühl her würde ich sagen, es ist eine Mischung aus Gossip Girl und Downton Abbey.

Die Kulisse ist meiner Meinung nach gut gelungen, die Handlung konnte mich aber nicht ganz überzeugen. Nach dem Prolog konnte ich schon einiges erahnen und die Geschichte konnte nur wenige Überraschungen bieten. Es geht hier um kleine Intrigen zwischen den Familien und um verbotene Liebe, denn niemand kann denjenigen haben, den er begehrt und alle sind ja sooo unglücklich uns unzufrieden in ihrem Reichtum. Auch wenn betont wird, wie vielschichtig die Charaktere doch seien, sind sie es eigentlich nicht wirklich. Zwar haben sie eine öffentliche Persönlichkeit und manchmal einen ganz anderen Charakter, aber trotzdem sind sie leicht durchschaubar.

Elizabeth wird geradezu als Vorbild für die jungen Damen angesehen und ist eigentlich auch die vornehme, luxuriöse Dame, wäre da nicht ihre geheime Liebe für den Kutscher. Ihre Lage und ihr lieber Charakter machen sie noch zur sympathischsten und ehrlichsten Figur in diesem Roman. Ihre Schwester Diana hingegen ist eine Rebellin, die den Gedanken an Armut aufregend findet und gern hübsche Männer küsst. Sie sieht sich selbst als modern, aber ich sah in ihr eher einen aufmüpfigen Teenager, der sich nach Aufregung sehnt und dabei Chaos stiftet.

"Die Prinzessinnen von New York - Scandal" gefiel mir vor allem durch die Kulisse, doch die vorhersehbare Handlung um die jungen Erwachsenen und ihre dramatischen Liebesgeschichten konnte mich nicht ganz überzeugen.
Profile Image for Sita.
108 reviews58 followers
November 8, 2011
Right. How the f$#% do I review this book? I couldn't even bring myself to finish it. I mean I liked it, okay I didn't really like it. Maybe I would have...if I had started the book at the begining and not 60 pages into it...oh well. I didn't and that is why this is less a review and more a rant about why I couldn't bring myslef to even finish the book.

1. Annyoing characters. Although I did like the quiz at the end (My friend Leesa and I were bored in ceramics and I had the book in my bad, so we took the quiz on what character we were most like...the results were interesting...). Back to the annoying characters, they were really annyoing. A basic conversation between two characters:
So, did you here about...?
What? Who? Oh yes. I did.
And how are they going?
...she's broke.
WHAT?!?!! No!

See! Annoying!

2. The plot. Imagine Gossip Girl set in the 1900's, that's basically the book. B-O-R-I-N-G! Maybe it's just me. But I didn't like Gossip Girl and I really couldn't bring myself to even finish this one. And I normally like historical romances.

3. The writing. Don't get me started on the writing. It was okay but it wasn't okay at the same time. Do you get what I'm saying?

4. Overall. BAD BOOOK! DON'T BOTHER! I recommend it to no one. It was really bad. And does not live up to the great cover! Will I continue with the series (I own the second). No!

Profile Image for Marissa.
212 reviews177 followers
July 1, 2019
DNF at 20% - just couldn't do it. The plot was boring, the characters were annoying and they just whined all the time. I'm sorry but I just couldn't finish it.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,619 reviews
December 19, 2022
I saw this described as a historical Gossip Girl and I think that's a fantastic description. There's a lot of drama and backstabbing, secret romances and schemes, and it's easy to jump into this. I wonder who will end up with who and which characters will get burned?
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