The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. Grades 9+
Oh the intrigue!
I got completely caught up in this luscious novel of scandal and love triangles set in 1899 New York. The book opens with the funeral of Miss Elizabeth Holland, New York's darling, pure young lady. So sad for her life to have been cut short, and the funeral being held on the very day she was supposed to marry the dashing Henry Schoonmaker... well, it's tragic indeed...
But as the novel unfolds we learn the events of the fortnight leading up to the funeral... When it comes to relationships between the characters, there is more than meets the eye.
Okay, yes. The ending was predictable. I knew almost exactly what would happen by page 75 (I made note of it). However, I give Ms. Godbersen all the more credit for keeping me interested and entertained through 375 more pages even though I already had figured out the ending. That's a lot of pages! The point of view switches between many of the characters, so you see things through Elizabeth's eyes, through Henry's, even through Elizabeth's maid's. The jacket flap informed me that Ms. Godbersen is at work on a sequel and I, for one, can't wait.
The Luxe is Gossip Girls set in Victorian NYC... this will definitely please fans of the drama, and all the sex occurs off-stage (though boozing and smoking abound).
(And I wasn't even going to review this because so many awesome people have already done so, but I just couldn't stop thinking about it, so here you go.)
(Also, take a look at that gorgeous cover. I love everything about that cover and it totally and completely fits the book.)