Elizabeth Holland glittered. She was rich, pure, the perfect young lady at the start of the 19th century. She was engaged to Henry Schoonmaker, the wealthiest, handsomest, most eligible bachelor in town. She came from one of the oldest and best families in New York. She was beautiful.
The book opens with her funeral.
Then we rewind to several months before, and discover the dark side of the New York social scene. Backstage at the sparkling balls, behind the expensive frothy dresses and the flirtatious youth and the fashionable dancing, everybody has a secret.
And in the world of Luxe, scandal is a fate worse than death...
I really liked Luxe, which actually surprised me because I usually don't like historical fiction at all. Although at times it was a little predictable, it was still and exciting, romantic read that made me wish I lived the lives of Elizabeth, Diana, and Penelope.
(And for the record, I am dead jealous of the dresses on all the Luxe books' covers. Seriously, they are amazing.)
The fact that the book opens with Elizabeth's funeral is both good (it builds a ton of suspense) and bad (it gives away a lot.) And the plot twists were not that twisty and a little obvious. Despite that, however, the plot was engaging and fun and very enjoyable.
Elizabeth Holland was actually really cool, although I didn't expect to identify with her at all. She had a very realistic internal struggle throughout the book. I really liked Penelope, a side character who may or may not be an antagonist (depends on your point of view.) The rest of the characters, although none really stood out to me, were all decently well-written.
Godbersen is a really stellar writer. She made old New York balls come to life, as well as the sparkling socialites who inhabited them. And I don't know much about that era, but Luxe seemed very historically accurate to me.
End Result: four stars. A good book, definitely worth your time.