Mean Girls meets The Age of Innocence in this deliciously decadent debut. Just imagine Lindsey Lohan and Rachel McAdams in rustling silk dresses, batting their eyes at boys in white tails behind feathery fans in tastefully decorated drawing rooms, and you’ve got The Luxe, a Gilded Age Gossip Girl. The year: 1899. The place: upper crust NYC. Here, you’ll meet good-as-gold girl Elizabeth Holland, a frosty blond with a boiling hot secret—she’s in love with stable boy Will, and has been trysting with him late at night for some less-than-innocent rolls in the hay. But she’s being forced to marry wealthy playboy Henry Schoonmaker for his inheritance because her blue-blooded family is on the brink of financial ruin. When her best friend ( and worst enemy) Penelope Hayes discovers Elizabeth is engaged to her crush, she begins to plot her friend’s downfall in order get Henry for herself. Meanwhile, Henry has become smitten with Elizabeth’s wild younger sister, Diana, who isn’t sure she can stand by and watch her sister marry the man she knows is meant for her. And don’t forget the sly chambermaid, Lina, who knows Elizabeth’s shameful secret, and isn’t afraid to sell it to the highest bidder so she can better her position and win the heart of stable boy Will (who we started with, remember?) This high society romp is light, fluffy, and totally escapist. The scandalous ending hints at a sequel, so hopefully we will be able to continue swooning over Henry Schoonmaker for several thick books to come. And the cover, oh the cover! Talk about swooning–do they carry that dress at Macy’s? If you enjoy The Luxe and want to read more about the Gilded Age, look up the classics by Edith Wharton and Henry James that clearly inspired this teen tale of manners (or just rent the very fine movie adaptations of The Age of Innocence and Portrait of a Lady).
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen