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Luxe #4


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New Beginnings.
Shocking Revelations.
Unexpected Endings.

As spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new roles as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.

Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty - but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.

In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

391 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2009

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About the author

Anna Godbersen

30 books3,175 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
5,916 (29%)
4 stars
7,317 (36%)
3 stars
5,213 (25%)
2 stars
1,446 (7%)
1 star
383 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,630 reviews
Author 7 books32 followers
September 21, 2010
I'm kind of shocked that I'm giving this book one star, since I have been in love with the series thus far. Ann Godbersen's writing is as beautiful and captivating as ever in SPLENDOR and some very satisfying things do happen in it, but the ending was so disappointing that I felt as if I'd wasted my time getting attached to her characters. Here are the things about the way this book ended that bothered me.

1. The Snowden/Elizabeth plot line didn't feel completely developed. I wanted details about the Holland father's death and how, exactly things happened before with Will dying in the train station. Yes, I know it's cliché to have villains go on about themselves before they die, but in the case of Snowden, I would have appreciated such a speech, just so I could better understand where he came from. As things were, that particular plotline seemed rushed and the romance between Cutting and Elizabeth similarly seemed rushed.

2. While I liked that all of Lina's lying and bitterness finally caught up to her, I thought it very unforgiving of Ms. Godbersen to have Leland refuse to forgive her in the end. Even though Lina's bitterness and sense of entitlement made her an unlikable character, I found I somewhat understood her and didn't hate her the way I did Penelope. She seemed to have learned from her mistakes in the end and I'm kind of sad Leland didn't come back to her after a while.

3. And this is what killed it for me. The way Ms. Godbersen ended the Diana/Henry storyline. All through the third book Diana and Henry can't live without each other . . . they're unable to move on . . .they're miserable. Every time Diana thinks about Henry she feels as if someone has stabbed her in the heart and is twisting the knife. She follows him to Cuba because she loves him so, and while Henry has been a cad, and drinks a lot, and has no backbone. He's a likable cad in that he always has good intentions.

I loved how Godbersen made him change in the end so that he was responsible and came into his own. It made him even more likable that he knew what he wanted and had a backbone. Then, all of a sudden, for no apparent reason whatsoever, Godbersen gives Diana a personality transplant. At least, that's how it read to me. Now that Henry is so respectable and because Diana feels so tied down by New York society, she will go to Paris without Henry. She will break it off with him so she can pursue her own life. Because she doesn't want Henry to sacrifice his life in New York by coming to Paris with her. I suppose, us readers are supposed to see that as a loving gesture, but the long and short of it is that Henry would have rather gone to Paris not to lose Diana than stay in New York with his responsibilities. It didn't read as loving to me even one bit, because Diana made the decision for him. She wouldn't accept him making any sort of sacrifice for her because she was no longer willing to make a sacrifice for him.

Granted, I know all people are selfish, even those of us who refuse to admit it. But I found Diana's behavior at the end of the book so profoundly selfish that I screamed at my poor husband after I finished it. There goes Diana, adventurous, romantic Diana, off to Paris on a boat without Henry. She's happy and I'm supposed to be happy for her because she only has loving sentimental feelings in her heart for Henry.

But Henry is sitting at home in his mansion in New York, depressed and devistated, nursing his broken heart after proposing to a woman who said she loved him, who would gladly be his mistress, but refuses to marry him? What the #$%&! Apparently Diana can live without Henry just fine and it doesn't feel like a knife in her heart after all. Or perhaps she's just the kind of girl who only wants what she can't have and must always pursue the unpursuable without any care for how her actions affect those around her.

Worst ending ever.
Profile Image for Alicia.
58 reviews24 followers
October 23, 2010
Splendor, the fourth and final Luxe book, somehow managed to be more crammed full of melodramatic, underdeveloped, cliched plot devices than all of the first three books combined. We have unexpected heart attacks, brides being left at the altar, a playboy prince, a murderous wife who kills her husband by throwing him down the stairs (well, at least she didn't try to poison him?), a "free spirit" who leaves for an unconventional life in Paris (I'm sure she'll be having fun there in 14 years), and a handsome blonde man in uniform who comes back from service to save the day. The problem is that all these twists and turns are barely explained or explored before another one is thrown in, and it seems as if they are there simply to shock the reader, not to mention that many of them are completely out of character.

Lina's plot was probably the most believable, which isn't saying a whole lot. Sadly, I never really identified with her as a character, so I didn't find myself feeling happy for her when Leland proposed, nor did I feel sad or sympathetic when the marriage was cancelled. I often found myself hurriedly reading through Lina's sections, because her thoughts were so dull and repetitive. It was just "oh money, nice things, nice dresses, I'm soo pretty now, nice meals, my nice new house, look at my pretty features and my pretty lichen eyes, nice parties, I can't let anyone know I used to not be able to afford these nice things, and oh, I love Leland". That was the extent of her thoughts for several hundred pages, and I found it irritating to read.

A part of me really wants to empathize with Lina and convince myself that alot of her actions were out of desperation rather than malice, because I know its difficult to fully understand just how insurmountable and ingrained class differences were at that time. Unfortunately, her disgusting treatment of her sister until the very end, her materialism, her scorn for everyone she viewed as being below her and her lack of gratitude for Longhorn's inheritance (all that money and she couldn't even give a tiny bit to help her sister or others down on their luck?) made it impossible to like her. Even when someone who had done much to help her was being beaten bloody, which by the way seemed extremely odd, over-reactive and out of character for Leland who had never shown so much as an ounce of violence before, all she could think about was how she looked and how all the men wanted her.

Rather than saying that Penny "got what she deserved", I prefer to think that Penny got to where she was going. Penny never would have been happy being a perfect dutiful wife to anyone - Henry, the prince, or any other man, nor do I think she ever would have been loyal to one man alone. So for her to spend the rest of her life in a surface marriage, while going through other men on the side, would have happened no matter who or when she married. And staying single or going off to Paris like Di were never options for status-hungry Penny. Di's decision to go to Paris seemed fitting, and somewhat of a relief after two books of her moping around about a guy who never deserved her in the first place, but I do wish it had been elaborated on a bit more, since it really did seem to come out of the blue.

Elizabeth's plot trajectory was actually quite creepy and horrifying, but the effect would have been much better without all the cheesy talk about angels swooping in to save her, and without the silly trope of her being possessed by Will's spirit in order to murder Snowden. Why did she have to be possessed by Will's spirit, because women aren't capable of self-defence or being strong unless they are inhabited by a masculine force? I also felt frustrated that nothing more was done to the housekeeper, who obviously knew what was going on and was essentially helping Liz's husband to drug her. Teddy rushing to her aid, was not surprising, but for them to get engaged, kiss and profess their love all on the same day that she killed her husband and before they had even spoken to her mother seemed forced and a bit unnatural, as though it was thrown in to quickly tie up loose ends so that the book could just finish already.

In fact, there were many loose ends that were not tied up, but instead left hanging rather unattractively and obviously. Lina's issues with Tristan were never really resolved. He ran away after Leland beat him, but since Lina is not with Leland anymore, what is to stop Tristan from coming back to nag her? I wanted to hear more about the Holland's family improved status - Teddy and Elizabeth just sat in the coach and never even went in to speak to her mother. I would have been interested to see Mrs. Holland's reaction to hearing of Snowden's various crimes and I wanted to hear what happened to Aunt Edith. Did Aunt Edith and Mrs Holland continue to live in the shabby old house, or did they move in with Teddy and Liz? Whatever happened to Isabelle? Did she remarry or stay a widow? What happened to Grayson and did he ever get his chance to be with Isabelle now that Di is out of the picture? Far too many characters were just brushed aside without any resolutions. Splendor was decidedly not a clean or well-planned ending to the tedious Luxe series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sarah.
57 reviews15 followers
February 3, 2010
Stupid, stupid ending to the series. I wasn't that invested in the series and I still managed to be dumbfounded by how poorly it ended.

The only character that ends up with a remotely happy ending is Elizabeth. I actually really enjoyed her pairing with Teddy, although their story and the resolution with Cairns was a bit too... I don't know... something. Too quick? Too predictable. I'm not sure.

I can't really deny that Lina got her just desserts, and I actually liked that she was able to come fully clean about being "nouveau riche" and accept that. Also, that she reconciled with her sister. I still wasn't satisfied with her story, though... She had so many shots at redemption. Chances to recognize the horrible things she had done and then try to atone for them. I wish the author had chosen to utilize them.

The WORST part of the book, though, was the outcome of the Henry-Diana relationship-- really, the only thing that kept me invested in the books at all. I understand that maybe the author wanted to emphasize independence, and romance is not necessarily the ultimate goal of every heroine. However, the author did not succeed in convincing me that everything that Henry and Diana had gone through had a purpose and made them better people, etc. etc. Her last few pages just basically negated EVERYTHING she had written up to that point. The absolute worst part of this, though, is Henry, who hands-down wins the shortest-end-of-the-stick award. He finally starts to grow up and come into his own, accepting his responsibilities and trying to do what's right. And how is he rewarded? He gets to spend the rest of his life miserably engaged in extra-marital affairs, together with Penelope, his equally unfaithful wife. He deserved better. Just stupid.
Profile Image for PurpleBootz13.
27 reviews
February 3, 2011
This book was sort of disappointing. Not because it wasn't good (the plot line was great) but that for such a romantically-oriented book, I can't believe that the golden couple (Diana Holland and Henry Schoonmaker) did not end up together. I mean, I spent the whole series waiting for them to get married. I'm all for non-traditional endings and such, but I'm sorry. However, I guess it IS nice to occasionally find a book that is always perfectly fluffy and sparkly and hunky-dory at the end. Sort of like life. And yes. That was meant to be corny.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for liz.
101 reviews25 followers
May 6, 2010
I picked up this series of books several months ago to fill my head with nonsense after Lariann died. Reading was a good distraction from the trauma of real life.I read a lot of books the months following, but these are the only ones I have decided I want in my personal collection. The Luxe, Rumors and Envy were a joy to read.

These books follow the life path or 4 young women between 1899-1900 as young New York City Socialites: Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope, and Carolina and their trials and tribulations and the rise and fall of their stars.

I fell in love with the characters and found myself rooting for them in their times of triumph and sad for them in their times of need. I was sad to discover, after reading Envy back in June that it was not in fact the last book and I had to wait until October to read Splendor. I pre-ordered the novel several months ago and have just been waiting and waiting for it to arrive.

I received Splendor in the mail on Tuesday afternoon and finished this book at 12:38 am this morning. As a whole, it took me less the 7 hours total to get through. It has been a while since I have been so involved in a book that I haven't been able to put it down. I am horribly tired today and can hardly keep my eyes open, but I made the choice to stay up and now I'll pay for it. Was staying up that late to read worth it? Probably not, but I enjoyed myself.

All of the Luxe books have been incredibly addicting and I found myself truly caring about Elizabeth, Diana, Henry, Teddy and the rest of the cast again. I found myself cheering out-loud at one point and nearly heart-breakingly sad at another. Most of the time I was reading this I had a cheesy grin upon my face because I was so immersed in the lives of the characters.

I loved Loved LOVED the fact that not everyone got their happy endings. Books like that really get on my nerves sometimes, but this one wrapped up nicely. This book was a good ending to the series - everyone pretty much got what they deserved.

Now I find myself wanting more. I want to learn about the lives that were changed by the choices and decisions that were made, I want to know more about Teddy and oddly enough, I want to know more about Aunt Edith. I want the back story to how Elizabeth's father knew. I want more of these characters.

This is a book that would probably transition well into movie format, and I'm sure that they would be so much better then the Twilight movies, heck, you could probably cover all 4 books in a 2 hour movie. How about someone makes Luxe instead of wasting time turning The Host in to a movie.
Profile Image for Maren.
124 reviews7 followers
August 31, 2010
A total guilty pleasure book series - 1900 Gossip Girl, basically. I liked it, but I was kind of bummed out with the ending. I can see where the author was trying to go, with the Edith Wharton comparisons, but it was sad that Henry, specifically, didn't get to be happy.
Profile Image for Anne Osterlund.
Author 5 books5,517 followers
April 16, 2011
Everyone in Splendor is searching.

Diana in Cuba. Henry in the military. Elizabeth in the marriage she chose over abortion. Carolina who has bought her own mansion-next-door to the man she hopes will fulfill her wildest dreams. And Penelope. In the entirely foreign position of New York’s DISAPPROVAL.

The ultimate lesson in the ultimate epic of Ana Godbersen’s Luxe series is this. There is one person you can never escape from.


As EVERYONE has to learn. Eventually.

I think this was my favorite novel of the series. Not because of any character in particular. (I still find myself completely baffled by how many of them I despise). And yet, in another typically ironic twist, what I liked the most about Splendor was how all the characters stayed true to themselves. LOL!
Profile Image for Madeleine Knutsson.
743 reviews109 followers
August 12, 2021
Vad var det här för skit slut?
Sämsta slutet jag någonsin har läst om.

Profile Image for Virginia Mae.
240 reviews3 followers
November 24, 2009

To explain my rating, I would give this book five stars right up until the last ten pages or so, which were horrendous.

"The Luxe" has been a beautifully crafted series, replete with gorgeous historical details and a sparkling world full of fascinating characters. At the center of this world, there were Diana and Henry, the core romance of the saga. After everything these two went through to be together, it is not just downright stupid that they would not end up together. It is also completely unrealistic and deeply uncharacteristic of both.

In some sort of sactimonious, absurdly abrupt attempt at a feminist statement, Gobersten trashes the fate of these characters. If the reader is supposed to be happy that Diana is striking out on her own, it is an undeniable fact that by and large this will not be the case. A quick look at Amazon reveals a number of similarly shocked and disappointed reviews.

The ending, for Diana and Henry, is a total betrayal of two compelling and delightful characters, and flies in the face of ALL that either of them have done before (ie Diana cutting her hair, trying to enlist in the army, and then following Henry all over the world because she loves him that much). It is truly, profoundly terrible, and most surprisingly, an example of problematic, inconsistent, borderline bad writing on the part of an author I admire.

As for the other characters: Elizabeth is the only character who receives a completely satisfying ending. In fact, Elizabeth also has the most exciting and fun to read plotline in the book. While she has always been likable, in "Splendor" Elizabeth ceases to be merely good and kind and becomes downright badass.

Carolina receives 50% of a happy ending, which is, predictably, 50% satisfying. It's highly unlikely that Leland truly would not have forgiven her, and rather heartbreaking. On the other hand, Lina obviously did need an ego wake-up call regarding her treatment of her sister, and I am glad she and Claire ended up living together.

It would be easy to be enraged that Penelope does not receive some awful ending, but blaming Penelope for the downfall of others is fruitless. She simply is who she is, and this has allowed her to be a sympathetic villain. Where she ends up feels about right, but it was not necessary to force Henry into the same fate.

While I am still a fan of this author and will doubtless read and enjoy her next series, the ending of this book is an enormous mistake.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
986 reviews
October 29, 2009
For six months I have waited in anxious anticipation for the conclusion of the Luxe series. Now after reading I feel that a small part of me is broken. I will never look at the series with an excitement and happiness. Instead there will alway be this bite of sadness.

I understood why Anna took the characters where she did. It made sense and I can justify it in my mind. It still was bitterly sad to me and for that I just can't say I liked the book.

Diana has been my favorite character in these novels and I loved her more in this 4th novel. To see her become the person that she dreams about in novels. No longer to sit in her room and read these novels that would fill her head with dreams. She is actually living the dreams that she has had for herself. I still want another novel with Diana where she can have a complete happily ever after that her favorite novel would contain.
679 reviews5 followers
May 27, 2011
I think I have a love/hate relationship with this series. Okay, maybe love is too strong a word. Yay (sort of) for Carolina, a character I never really liked and don't really care about. Yay for Penelope who is out of character when she pushes aside appearances, exposes herself to censure very much earned by her behavior, and learns a lesson in humility.... but not really because all these people don't really seem to have consequences to any of their actions. And Diana? She abandons the only thing she held aloft and it cheapens her. I think the author probably meant for the reader to think "yay for Diana for finally and so thoroughly casting off the smothering social pressures of her day and for truly being free for the first time", but I didn't feel that way at all. It seemed out of character and like I said it cheapens all her previous actions regarding Henry. And Henry? He is jolted out of being an irresponsible jerk and actually takes on some admirable qualities and this is portrayed as bad? Hmmm.

The only laudable storyline throughout this whole series is that of Elizabeth, who for some reason takes a back seat to Diana's storyline. Elizabeth truly does cast off her social status, does come to know she can be happy without all the wealth, does it for something that is true, does succeed in making herself happy. What follows with the death of Will and her manipulation by Mr. Cairns are trials not of her own making and she triumphs gloriously in the end by her strength and determination to overcome. Her story is genuinely great and not encumbered by inconsistencies and outlandish endings.
Profile Image for Tracy Hope.
2 reviews5 followers
November 1, 2009
*******Splendor (Luxe book 4) SPOILERS********

I just finished reading Splendor and I have to say I loved it for the majority of the book & then I felt soooooo disappointed at the end. Did anyone else feel that way? I mean, what is the point of everything Diana & Henry went through to be together for them to not be together in the end? The ending just left me saying What????
I am a sucker for happy endings & the ending just does not sit well with me. I am happy that Teddy & Elizabeth lived happily ever after & I felt Penelope got her just desserts from the Prince of Bavaria. I actually felt a little bad for Lina when everything came out right before the wedding. She had actually started to grow on me even despite her previous sins, although I do think Leland deserved to know the truth. I thought maybe he would forgive her. I am glad that Claire was able to have a better life in the end. I just wish Henry & Diana had somehow managed to marry & then relocate to Paris together at some later date. Honestly, Henry had a lot of business he needed to wrap up. I am upset that Diana couldn't give him more time. Knowing that Henry & Penelope lived their lives together in a loveless marriage for the rest of their lives makes me ill. I wouldn't care about Penelope, but Henry really became a wonderful man through the course of the books & he deserved a better ending than that!!!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,492 reviews146 followers
September 4, 2017
"A suitable ending to a pretentious tale."

This series, at its heart, is a soap opera. A tabloid-esque drama circa 1900. I believe the ending fit this series perfectly, and I really couldn't foresee it any other way.



Plot: 4.7/5 –A guilty pleasure through and through…Everything played out splendidly. I think, I always felt this is the way it should have went.
Characters: 4.5/5 –Conclusively, they all got what they deserved in the end. From the good to the bad.
The Feels: 4/5 --Not necessarily the conventional kind, more like the justification type.
Theme: 5/5 --Watch who you step on your way to the top, they just might trip you…
Flow: 4.5/5
Originality: 5/5
Book Cover: 4/5
Sex Factor: non explicit
Narration: 4.3/5 --She grew on me, I think, because I didn't have the problems with her on this book, like I have with others previous.
Ending: 5/5 –I ultimately really liked how all the stories within this series were wrapped up, and the epilogue was superbly done. Cliffhanger: No, this is the final book in the series.

Will I read more from this Author? I might

WARNING: This next paragraph is rather spoilerish…

In regards to the Henry/Diana/Penelope storyline; I know a lot of people are upset with the ending. But I feel if Henry had stepped up and been a man, when he first realized he was falling for Diana, he wouldn’t have gotten into the craptastic situation he ended up in, namely married to Penelope. He seriously got what he deserved and Diana dodged a bullet, so to speak. She just realized she didn’t want to live under that kind of gossip-laden spotlight. She wanted to make her own way on her own terms. It was so justifying to see Penelope get rejected, though.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
274 reviews722 followers
September 4, 2018
"She bent her neck and looked down on Fifth Avenue. The sun faded from the sky and the light around them grew purple and soft, and she began to feel that they might go on, just as they were, for a very long time."

While I truly appreciated the end to each of the characters' stories, I felt that most of this final installment was rather trite. I don't think a fourth book was necessary; Anna Godbersen probably could have kept the series tighter and more entertaining if she had written it as a trilogy. Splendor seemed to drag on forever and then finished quite abruptly.

I was ultimately very pleased by the way Diana and Henry's story ended. I was so bored by their relationship in this book and I think the end really did Diana's character justice. I've been saying since the very beginning that Henry was not all that he was made out to be, and I think it was very fitting that I also loved the unraveling of Penelope's tyrannical reign. I have never felt such simultaneous loathing and pity towards a character before.

Lina and Elizabeth's stories were wrapped up rather quickly with less detail than I would have liked. Elizabeth certainly slipped into the shadows in these last two books. She became the dull, sad, pregnant woman and her story got a bit lost even though it was probably the most shocking.

This installment also seemed to separate the girls and I didn't get the sense that their lives were intertwined very much anymore. I think that's where this book lost its strength.

Overall it's been a fun and well-written series that I would recommend if you like the idea of Gossip Girl taking place in 1901.
November 4, 2010
This series had been winding down since the first book ended, and this books ends where I suppose it should have. I loved The Luxe and Rumors and Envy managed to keep me hooked, but Splendor was a little too much melodramatic plot twists and forced endings. While Penny remains as evil as ever, she ends ups with what she really wanted, and Carolina, the former lowly maid Lina, who I personally was starting to forgive and beginning to root for again, lost a lot of what she was gaining. Carolina's story wasn't tragic, but it wasn't wasn't what it should have been, in my opinion. Elizabeth, who I loved from the start, may have been a redeeming part of the conclusion to the series, and I found myself smiling at how she ended up, although the overly dramatic twists early on in the book involving her father seemed false and like empty page-filling words. Diana Holland, tsk, tsk. I've loved Diana's wild and confident spirit since book one, and she even made me laugh a few times at the beginning of Splendor, but I felt Godbersen's rushed ending left her falling short of her reputation. I felt like I'd been cheated, and Henry, faltering and picking himself up again, was cheated in my opinion too, of the ending he deserved. By the end, it seemed like Godbersen was going more for the last laugh, the surprise ending, than the real ending. I know it's just a book and all, but sometimes charatcers fall into a pattern that you know the ending to. This book seemed rushed and overdone on several levels.
1 star for a good first one hundred pages, and a non-recommendation. The only way I'd suggest it is if you absolutely have to know the ending. (I feel your pain. I had to know too.)
Profile Image for Ms. Schneeman.
35 reviews
March 16, 2010
My heart is broken once again. Why do fictional characters toy with my emotions so easily?
Profile Image for Amber.
216 reviews4 followers
November 7, 2009
While I am saddened that this addiciting and pleasurable series is now over, I was pleased by the ending of this book. My initial assumptions about Elizabeth's new husband, Snowden Cairns, the former business partner of her father's, proved correct, as he was certainly not the knight in shining armor he seemed to be in the last book; however, his shocking treatment of a with-child Elizabeth was not quite as expected, and I am glad that the former Miss Keller found happiness elsewhere, as it was much deserved. Her younger sister, Diana, proved to be the adventurous one, and it was uplifting to watch her rove the world to find her love, Henry, and to see that she has a maturity beyond her 17 years, as she truly knows herself and what will make her happy in the long-run. I also enjoyed the continued ruination of Penelope, as that pretentious woman desrves everything that happens to her. As for Carolina Broud, the former Holland maid pretending to be a high society girl, it seems that she too can survive anything, even if it is loss bigger than any she could imagine. Godbersen's painstaking attention to historical detail and the florid way she crafts sentences makes me look forward to other books in the future.
Profile Image for Flor.
664 reviews143 followers
September 14, 2020
Beware, you are about to be spoiled. But you should know, it's a miracle! But I no longer want to throw Penelope off a cliff.

So the series is over and although the characters didn't get the happily ever wanted they dreamed of (and i wished for) i guess that they ended up pretty well, in a more realistic and truthful way.

Let's start with my favorite, my dear Diana Holland, i can't lie i really wanted her and Henry to live happily ever after but of course that couldn't be, let's be real, it wasn't going to work out. Sometimes no matter how hard you try nor how truly you love, if the whole world is against you, things won't work out.

A relationship that yes it was beautiful and I loved it, but still with so many flaws. She was his former fiancee's sister, they were together without being together, he was married to another woman though he didn't love her, she was argued to being his lover, they were lovers.

You could say that in the end they could have been together, but they didn't do it and that's okay (though it hurts) they wanted so very different things, different lifes and no matter how much you love someone you shouldn't let go of your dreams and your happiness just to pursue theirs. God job Diana, I'm so proud about you!

Then there's Elizabeth aka the girl who discovered her current husband was the one who planned the murder of his first love and former husband just to keep the land full of oil that her father, who knew about her and Will all along and was also murder by his daughter's current husband and old friend, left for them to live in, while carrying Will's child and almost getting herself killed too just to save herself killing him instead covered by Teddy, his to be husband and second love. So yes, pretty messed up life you got there, Lizzie, please stay out of trouble and be happy with Teddy and your kids.

Then there's Carolina, who was Elizabeth's former maid and somehow met a guy, felt in love and got proposed within a book. And actually there was nothing else there, but the single fact that she lied about pretty much everything. In the end however, she (finally) came to her senses and let her big sister shared the life of a new type of rich family with her.

And lastly Penelope, don't get me wrong I still don't like her that much, but also i don't hate her anymore. She found herself a prince, once that i hoped will mean a happy ending for Henry and Diana, that in the end was only playing with her and took off to marry someone else. Leaving her and my love Henry in a wealthy but miserable and loveless marriage for all eternity. (Poor baby someone please take him to Paris)

I can only hope that somehow, someday Henry will get tired of an unhappy life and will fly to Paris to find his one true love Diana, and they will find their path together at last. The end.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Devon.
1 review
December 29, 2009

Hey, I have to say that the first three books in this series were to die for. I mean, I read them over the course of a week- Christmas week to be exact. I mean, I went out of my way to find each book and bought the last two (rare, for me) because I couldn't wait for the library to get them to me.

But this one was good too, well- up to the last few chapters. Teddy and Diana were a couple that I very much related to, and I thought that it was downright shoddy of the author to compromise their relationship. They were both already jumping through hoops, working for their love. And after the last few pages I felt so depressed and annoyed that I wished I had never read the books at all. They deserved that reward in the end, as did the reader.

I never liked Carolina, and I knew that she had to get what was coming to her eventually. I mean, she gets rich and lets her sister continue to live in poverty! And she never gets her come uppance for destroying Di and Henry's chance at love. But by the end, the charachter had shown herself and her emotions so strongly that I broke along with her when she lost her chance at love for ommitting the truth. I mean, she's still practically a child. This reality was harsh indeed. And as for the obejct of her attraction, (his name escapes me) If he really did love her then he would get over it eventually.

Teddy and Elizabeth were a go. It was brilliant of the author to mask Snowden's evil without any foreshadowing. It definitely threw me for a heart beating, breathy loop.

Penelope got what she asked for... She really believed herself invincible. Too crafty for anything to one up her.

One thing I hated about these books though, was that the characters were constantly struggling to get to an end, and for most it was never really met. There was a lot of buildup and even empty promises to the reader from the characters. The characters would constantly do things that were against the very grain of their being because the author decided that it would be a good idea to install some morals and lessons in the book.

However, if the books were judged as one, and the last two chapters of Splendor didn't exist, then i would give this saga 93% Thats an A.
854 reviews45 followers
July 14, 2010
This was a great conclusion to a fantastic series. I am totally satisfied with the resolution of Elizabeth, Lina, Claire, Teddy, and Snowden's stories. The ending of Diana and Henry's stories, as well as Penelope's to some extent, left me so, so disappointed. It's been two days since I finished Splendor and I can't shake the sense of melancholy that settled on me after finishing it, all due to the bittersweet ending for Diana. It didn't make me not like the series, but I think I would have liked it even more had Diana's story ended differently.

Fans of romance, historical fiction, and fans of YA in general will enjoy the Luxe series. I highly recommend it!

Just One Gripe:
Godbersen uses several of the same phrases multiple times in Splendor. "Bee-stung lips," "a hat of magical significance," calling Central Park "verdant," these are the main offenders that spring to mind. This is a small gripe, but it was obvious enough for me to notice.

The Best Thing About This Book:
The poetic justice that befalls the "bad guys." I love it!

Appropriate for a younger audience:

Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Setting/Imagery: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Ending: 3/5
Total Score: 23/25; 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Sahil Javed.
258 reviews244 followers
October 17, 2021
Splendor is the fourth and final book in The Luxe quartet where everything comes to a head as the characters fight and manipulate to get what they want. Will everyone have a happily ever after?
“He believed that he wanted to be like the Schoonmakers, to own yachts and Fifth Avenue mansions and be written about in the papers, and he could not comprehend what Henry had only recently begun to understand, that all of that only meant that it was rather difficult to do what one actually wanted to do, or love the woman one was actually in love with.”

So in this final instalment, Elizabeth, newly married to her father’s old friend, begins to discover some secrets about her father’s death that will affect her life. Diana has left Manhattan to try and find Henry and meets him where he is stationed where they are reunited. But they must decide what their future is going to look like together and how it is going to come together. Penelope has given up on her marriage to Henry and has her eyes set on a prince, and a different kind of title. Carolina is in love with Leland and it looks like there are wedding bells in her future, but a stranger from her past could threaten to ruin everything.
“There had been a time when she would have hidden her shoulders—they were big and bony, and in the summer they were darkened by freckles the same way her nose was—but she had learned not a few things since inheriting the mighty fortune of her late benefactor, Mr. Carey Lewis Longhorn, and among them was that a girl, if she is clever, owns what she already has.”

This instalment was jam-packed with yet more drama, which is the signature for this series. Drama, secrets, lying, betrayal, backstabbing and treachery! There was so much of that in more in this final book and I loved every single minute of it. This whole series was so delicious! They were light books, trashy as hell at times but I didn’t take them seriously. I wasn’t going into this series expecting to be wowed but I was really entertained and enjoyed the hell out of the ride it took me on!
“For the great majority of Carolina’s life, she had felt a constant mute frustration that events would never go her way, but then, all of a sudden, her luck had changed, and now it seemed every charmed second was sure to unfold in her favor.”

Let’s talk about the characters one by one and the endings they got. So, Elizabeth. She begins to discover secrets about her father’s death and learns that her new husband basically had something to do with both her father’s and Will’s deaths and sets out to reclaim her inheritance and her life back. With the help of Teddy (who finally returns from war!), she manages to best Snowden, kill him, which leads her to finally be with Teddy! After everything she has gone through, I’m really happy that Elizabeth got a happy ending, especially with Teddy! Teddy is literally such a sweetheart and he deserves the world and I’m really happy he finally got what he wanted as well. I can’t express how much of a wholesome and loveable character he is!
“Perhaps it was the weather up high on the open ocean, or maybe the little tremors over what she had done, but Diana was experiencing a heightened sensitivity to everything at just that moment. She believed it to be born of a profound relief that this kind of marriage was not her own fate, in the way that colors appear especially bright to a person who has just cheated death.”

Penelope! Oh she is literally one of my favourite characters in this series because there is no end to her backstabbing and treachery, especially when she has a goal in mind. But I think Penelope got was coming to her in the end, because she was played by the prince just like she played some of the characters in the book. And she’s left in the end with what she wanted, to be with Henry. The ending she got felt most fitting for her character. Let’s be honest. Penelope and Henry deserve each other and although it wasn’t the happiest of endings for her, it was the one that felt like it made the most sense. I couldn’t imagine it ending any different for her.
“I’ve been walking for hours asking myself, if you had told me from the beginning that you were a maid, and not an heiress, would I have fallen in love with you in the same way?” Now he did finally bring his face up, so that the natural light of the high window could fully illuminate his features, so that his eyes were cast directly at her. “I think I would have, Carolina. I think I would have loved you anywhere.”

Carolina! So, Carlolina and Leland finally confess their feelings for one another and plan to get married. However, Tristan shows up which complicates things and leads Carolina to finally confess to Leland the truth about her past. The wedding is called off and although Tristan says he still loves her, ultimately he is unable to forgive her for her lies and so their relationship ends. I felt really sad for Carolina because I really wanted things to work out for her and Leland because they were so cute together and I’m actually shocked that Leland wasn’t able to forgive her. I genuinely though that she was going to get a happy ending with him. But the ending Carolina got was also fitting, in that she found herself back with her sister, supporting one another, and I think that’s important as well.
“The city of Diana’s birth grew miniature in the distance, like a diorama for schoolchildren. It was manageable that way; she could explain everything she had seen and done there. In time, she would: There would be intricate novels of drawing room betrayals and love that couldn’t be.”

Diana and Henry! Oh, these two had their ups and downs in the whole series and I’m not going to lie, these two bored me halfway through the series because the back and forth just got tedious. When they were reunited so early on in the last book, I had a feeling something was going to happen to keep them apart, and I was right! But it wasn’t anything bad. Henry confesses everything to his father, who then dies, and Henry is left as the sole inheritor to everything. So he proposes to Diana who has had enough of living in Manhattan and cannot stomach it anymore and wants to leave for Paris. She tells Henry to stay in Manhattan and that will never forget him and then they part ways. It was bittersweet because after all that they had been through in the series, they didn’t end up together, but it also felt really realistic as well, and I feel like Diana developed really well as a character as she feels more mature in this final book.
“Only from this place was she able to see how limited the city was, after everything, and how wide open the world could all of a sudden become.”

Overall, Splendor was a really fun and satisfying conclusion to what was a very entertaining series. It had plenty of drama and secrets and I had so much fun being along for the ride!
135 reviews2 followers
October 29, 2009
First I must say, that I believe Godbersen held true to her style...creating an unrelenting draw in the reader to devour the story as well as the unexpected twists and turns. She knows how to create a page-turner. However, I can't help but speculate how much that has to do with the fact that I grew to love these characters in the previous three books because Splendor, in and of itself, did nothing to create a lasting impression of these characters or the situations they found themselves in. I was left feeling some what disappointed after reading Splendor. It seemed that the 400 pages were just not enough to delve into ALL of the characters' stories (Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope, Henry, Teddy, Carolina). The story seemed hurried along and I felt like it barely skimmed the surface of any of these characters, especially with Elizabeth and Teddy (who was almost non-existent). I wish we would have gotten more of them specifically. I found it odd that she reverted back to that perfect society girl since it seemed clear how she had detested that life since it was what kept her and Will from being together. I also thought it was confusing that her father had put her and Will's name on the property deed together. Had I not already grown to love (or hate in Penelope's case) these characters in the previous books, Splendor would not have been the page-turner it was for me. I finished reading it and felt short-changed...I wanted more! More Details! More Elizabeth! More Teddy! More for Henry...a happy ending, one where he gets Diana! This series is not for the weak-hearted.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Adria.
5 reviews11 followers
February 24, 2011
I loved The Luxe, Envy and Rumors, but this book was a huge disappointment to me. So much of the plot just seemed overdone like Elizabeth's situation with her new husband. And it seemed like no one except Lina got what they deserved. Penny got exactly what she wanted, in guessing that she really didn't want to the prince. I think she really just used him as he used her as a way to try to tell Henry she didn't need him anyway. And Henry was so cheated from the happiness he should have had because Di had a total personality change which I really didn't understand. It made no sense! How could she chase him all the way to the Caribbean to get his love, but when they can be happy and together in New York, she decides she's too tied down in New York?! And she thought she was being so selfless too! How was that selfless? Henry wanted to marry her! Of course he wouldn't be happy! Ugh
Elizabeth and Teddy's ending was happy enough and predicted, although I thought it was rushed considering how it happened right after her escape. So, I was really disappointed with this. I wanted it to be a lot more than what it was.
Profile Image for Laura.
428 reviews22 followers
September 30, 2015
I have difficulty reviewing this objectively, as I love the Luxe series more than I care to admit. But Splendor is a bold and fitting ending to the series. Godbersen isn't afraid to make difficult choices about her characters, which I appreciate, yet I think she'll still please fans of the series. A fantastic finale.

* NOTE: I read this in manuscript format so there will most likely be changes between now and publication.
Profile Image for paige.
13 reviews
December 31, 2009
I waited several months for Envy to come out and finally at Christmas I recived it. Three days later I had finished Envy and continued on to Spelendor. I have read most of the reviews on this and I am very surprised that most liked it. I didn't because I felt that everything that Henry and Diana had to go through and they still did not end up together. It was sad for me and left me very sad. I had put myself in Diana's shoes the whole time reading the Luxe books and when she said that she could not marry him and stay in New York it left me broken hearted and very disappionted in her. I'm sad also that Henry went back to a loveless marriage with Penelope. But I also do see that in the end the people ended up with who they were suppose to all along. Henry and Penople were very much alike but he wanted to be with Diana and he liked the way he felt when he was with Diana but in the end she wanted to go off for adventures and living in New Yourk she couldn't do that. But i am glad Teddy and Elizabeth married and had several kids. I think it ended very well except for Diana and Henry. But that all got what they deserved and I think thats the reason Anna Godberson ended the way she did because they got what they deserved in life. I will have to say I will look back at these books and fill sadness and brokenheartness but I will also remember those loving moments they got to share and that will forever bring me happiness!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Roxy.
565 reviews39 followers
July 25, 2011
I love this series and this fourth installment is just as addictive as the rest but i was SO disappointed with the ending!

So much of the last 2 books has been building up the relationship between Henry and Diana. And the reader wants it all to work out for them. The obstacle of Penelope becomes easily removed and all should be simple for the young lovers to really be together which is what the reader has been waiting for. I undertand the motivation of the move to Paris but for Diana to go to such lengths to find Henry and be with him only to walk away so easily at the end is rather annoying. It is written as if they are each others true loves and they have undying passion for each other... if that is the case how could she walk away so easily? And how could he not follow regardless of the business situation? She could have stayed for a time, married and, after the business issues were sorted out, gone to Paris for an extended time.

I like the conclusion for Elizabeth and the Broud sisters but the ending for the triangle of Henry, Diana and Penelope was a let down for me.
Profile Image for Vir .
303 reviews6 followers
July 8, 2021
Fue mi libro favorito de esta tetralogía.

Me entretuvo (cosa que el segundo y tercer libro no lograron) y no podía dejar de leer. Fue un buen final.

4.5 ⭐
Profile Image for Merary.
232 reviews198 followers
June 24, 2012
Everything has to come to an end. In this conclusion of the The Luxe series, our favorite rich and spoiled socialites do drastic decisions that will define their lives forever.

It starts very slowly until it reaches the first 120 pages. All the delicious backstabbing from Envy made me hungry for more, and surprisingly, Splendor defeated that hunger. In more ways than one.

Elizabeth Holland's new husband isn't what he seems. How is he connected to her dad and Will Keller? and besides, why is he acting so nice of all sudden? Diana Holland made a plan to get Henry Schoonmaker back. Unfortunately, the plan backfired and her and Henry were returned to New York. Even if their love for each other is very strong, is Diana willing to be his mate despite him being married to Penelope Hayes? Henry is willing to get Diana with him. Will he succeed? Also, Penelope is tired of Henry's mooning over Diana. When a prince arrives on New York, she feels that Henry doesn't "schoon" (bad pun) her anymore. Will she get her fairy tale ending? Meanwhile, Carolina Broud might be in luck. She's in every newspaper and Leland wants to marry her. Unfortunately for her, Tristan, her ex-flame, isn't willing to just forgive and forget. How will he go?

I warned you. It contained a lot of spoilers. But, never mind that! This was a satisfactory ending to an historical guilty pleasure. Although the ending was really bittersweet, I was satisfy with the resolution. And besides, not everything has to have a happy ending. And that's the way I like it.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for laura (bookies & cookies).
692 reviews161 followers
September 19, 2017
YouTube Videos
AtYi52B Wrap-Up Weeks 1-4 | https://youtu.be/A8ioxVJlzJg

January 2016 Wrap Up | https://youtu.be/XRx5k8i-3EI

Included in the Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge : Week 1 A book you meant to read in 2015.

I've wanted to read this series since first seeing the sweeping gowns on the cover nearly 7 years ago at Books a Million. I wish I had read them a tad sooner, but I'm glad I didn't read them when I first saw the series. I wasn't ready or understanding enough to appreciate that happy endings are never what you expect, and that sometimes you don't get them at all. I needed to read books such as Gone with the Wind, The Portrait of a Lady, Ethan Frome, and even The Great Gatsby to understand the genre of Amerian Literature from which The Luxe series originates. I definitely plan to read more the American Lit classics in 2016, and this series is a good introduction back into that niche.
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