<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d16149408\x26blogName\x3dThe+Blogulator\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://chrisandqualler.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://chrisandqualler.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d7090024357285529333', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

« Home | Next » | Next » | Next » | Next » | Next » | Next » | Next » | Next » | Next » | Next »

The Luxe by Anna Godberson

I don't like to think of myself as a book snob, but, like most of the things I don't like to think of myself as but often do, I am one. I try really, really hard not to be, because for many years it has been my position that there's no such thing as a "guilty pleasure", or at the very least there shouldn't be, and that I'm proud of everything I read/watch/listen to (hello, I'm probably the only person on God's green goodness who is very open about loving Hanson, don't get me started). I just believe in sincere and earnest enjoyment of things and have no interest in ironic entertainment--it sounds like a lot of work.

But I have prejudices. I can't pretend I don't. And ever since I even heard of The Luxe I've been like, absolutely not. It's a packaged book, and I'm not such a huge fan of book packaging, and the Gossip Girl meets Age of Innocence comparison makes me want to jump off the goddamn roof because GOSSIP GIRL and EDITH WHARTON in the SAME SENTENCE SHUT UP PLEASE. And then there's the highly commercial cover, which I just took offense to on principle; what, you think you're going to make a teenage girl pick this book up just by putting a pretty dress on the cover? (Answer: yes. Also: it works. In addition: What a pretty dress.)

So I was pretty surprised/horrified to discover that The Luxe is exactly that: Gossip Girl meets Age of Innocence. And also, it does what it sets out to do (be Gossip Girl meets Age of Innocence) so incredibly well that I actually found it frustrating I hadn't thought of this idea myself. Although, let's be honest, the book has a pretty nonsensical title.

The Luxe begins with a funeral, the funeral of teen socialite Elizabeth Holland, who plunged to her death from her buddy Penelope's carriage into the icy cold waters of the Hudson River (?? but just go with it). In attendance is the whole of turn of the century New York high society, because Elizabeth is the beloved eldest daughter of the Holland family, but two people are particularly conspicuous: Elizabeth's fiance, Henry Schoonmaker, and her sister, Diana. Henry, because he doesn't seem that bereaved though ostensibly Elizabeth was the love of his life, and Diana because she's smiling. Wait, what? I know. It gets good.

Then the book flashes back to months before, and as the secrets behind Elizabeth's disappearance begin to unravel (because they never did find her body) and all the young gossip guys rotate through the bedrooms of all the young gossip girls, things start to get AWESOME. Secret trysts abound, schemes are hatched, guilt trips are laid, people are laid, and then people are killed. It's GREAT. The period detail is also pretty good, all things considered, but the book is still way accessible without feeling like it was written for idiots, all the characters are fairly sympathetic in their ways, and if I hadn't cheated and read the descriptions of the rest of the books in the series on Wikipedia I would actually want to continue (let's just suffice to say I'm annoyed by what happens to some of my favorite couples and I just won't put myself through that).

Anyway, HIGHLY recommended. I wouldn't even really call it fluff, because the historical detail, the pacing, and the deftly handled multiple POVs make it good, engaging fun. It's good that I read this, and loved it, because sometimes my snobbery needs a beat down, just like everybody' else's.

Labels: ,

leave a response