The Luxe Series by Anna GodbersenThe Luxe

Genre: YA Historical Romance
Publication: November 20, 2007 by HarperCollins
Audiobook borrowed from library
Get your own: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
synopsis from Goodreads
Rating:

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.

This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan’s social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City’s elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone–from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud–threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden future.

With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city’s gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan’s most celebrated daughter disappear…

In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

The Luxe Series by Anna GodbersenRumors

Publication: June 3, 2008 by HarperCollins
Audiobook borrowed from library
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synopsis from Goodreads

After bidding good-bye to New York’s brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family’s only hope for redemption; New York’s most notorious cad, Henry Schoon-maker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind–including Henry; even Elizabeth’s scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency.

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan’s most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to “The Luxe,” nothing is more dangerous than a scandal . . . or more precious than a secret.

The Luxe Series by Anna GodbersenEnvy

Publication: January 27, 2009 by HarperCollins
Audiobook borrowed from library
Get your own: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
synopsis from Goodreads

Jealous whispers.

Old rivalries.

New betrayals.

Two months after Elizabeth Holland’s dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana’s side, however, those watching New York’s favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.

Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city’s most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope’s finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope’s social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune–and her fame–are anything but secure, especially now that one of society’s darlings is slipping tales to the eager press.

In this next thrilling installment of Anna Godbersen’s bestselling Luxe series, Manhattan’s most envied residents appear to have everything they desire: Wealth. Beauty. Happiness. But sometimes the most practiced smiles hide the most scandalous secrets. . . .

The Luxe Series by Anna GodbersenSplendor

Publication: October 27, 2009 by HarperCollins
Audiobook borrowed from library
Get your own: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
synopsis from Goodreads

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?

These girls party like it’s 1899!

A Series Made of Win

It was years ago when I first ran across this series and while it combines two of my favorite genres, Historical Romance and YA, I held off.  Mostly because I was afraid this wouldn’t be as awesome as I wanted it to be.

BIG. MISTAKE!

HUGE!!!!

Because this is one of the very best series, with the most kick-ass ladies and heart-breaking series story lines I have ever read!

Four Girls, Four Futures, Four Fantastic Books!

The series follows the Holland sisters, Elizabeth and Diana, and Elizabeth’s frienemy, Penelope and the Hollands’ maid, Carolina, through two turbulent years that change everything they know about themselves and each other.  These girls evolve over the course of these books and the tragedies and triumphs they endure into sparkling diamonds in the firmament of New York society.  And every page is a delicious treat!

Complete Series = Yay! (and also the sad…)

I have to say that I’m thrilled beyond belief that I didn’t have to wait months between the installments of these books.  The endings weren’t filled with huge cliffhangers, but they were bittersweet and touching and at the end of each book I was desperate to know what happened next!
I also loved the way Ms. Godbersen ended the series.  It was so perfect.  No huge swelling, off into the sunsets or wailing and weeping ending but really an adult flowering of understanding for the world and how it works in all it’s imperfections.  I felt truly satisfied at the end.  Which is a rare feat in these days of the ubiquitous YA trilogy.

Bewitched Rating

 

Bottom Line

If you haven’t taken a trip back to good old, fin de siecle Manhattan, do yourself a favor and do so now!

 

 

I devoured these audiobooks, as they were such a pleasure to listen to.  The only thing I would mention is that the narrator occasionally pronounced some of the words in a way that seemed off to me.  I don’t know if it was historical language or the reader’s regional dialect but some words just came out odd.  Still, it didn’t detract from the overall pleasure of listening to these amazing books.

Now go and get lost…in a book!
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Lover of words and authors; absolute fan girl of books! Give me a good story, with characters I can love (and hate) and I'll follow you anywhere. Sing me a song of worlds I can dream of, and I'll listen forever.
Natalia Belikov 12/11/2012

NO FREAKING WAY!!! how come I haven’t read this series? sniff! But Im soon diving into this author! I won THe Lucky Ones and tomrrow Im purchasing Bright YOung Things! I read awesome things about these novels so yay!!

Thank you so much Pushy for these reviews! It is awesome to see reviews on novels that came out a while ago. I SO want the boxset now! =9

I really want to know these four girls! However, do they have to be read in order? or can each one of them stand by their own? I wonder since there seems to be four girls and four different stories. Anyways! wonderful review! Adding to my list asap! yay!
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Pushy 12/11/2012

Oh, I LOVE her Bright Young Things series!!!!!! I’m so happy to hear you’re starting it!! These definitely should be read in order or you’ll get some major spoilers. :)

*hugs*
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I’ve only read the first book in this series. I’ve always meant to get back to the others.

I have an audiobook question. How long does it typically take you to listen to an audiobook? Do you listen on double speed? That’s my problem with audiobooks is that I can read faster than I listen which gets frustrating to feel like I’m waiting with audiobooks.
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Pushy 12/11/2012

I like audiobooks but my real life is so distracting right now I can’t sit down with real books much, so it’s a good fit for me.
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Like you, I’ve held off reading these — I have no idea why. It sounds like something I would love, though! I’ve always been smitten with these gorgeous covers.

LOL, I have the same problem with audiobooks as Alison,…I always feel like I could get through the book much faster if I just read it. AND I usually listen while I’m driving so sometimes my mind tends to wander a bit. I’m terrible at audiobooks!
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Pushy 12/12/2012

Becky, you should definitely check the books out! They’re fantastic!!
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Mary @ BookSwarm 12/11/2012

A fabulous series. And how can you go wrong with those gorgeous covers, too! So many pretty dresses. Not that I’d want to get all tied up in a corset to wear one but still…gorgeous! I both love and hate when a great series ends.
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Pushy 12/12/2012

I loved the ending, even though it was bittersweet. And I agree about the corsets! ;)
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Woah, did you discover these at your library? Sounds pretty fab — like Bright Young Things meets Gossip Girl. And you’re right, a perfect ending to a YA series is pretty rare.
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Pushy 12/12/2012

I did discover them at the library, but only picked them up after I read Bright Young Things. I’m so glad I did!!
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Annette 12/11/2012

So glad you liked these. One of my FAVORITE SERIES EVER! Made me want to read them again … or … maybe listen?
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Pushy 12/12/2012

Oh, it’s so good, isn’t it???? *sigh*
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Candace 12/11/2012

I have seen the books around, of course, but I never had a real strong urge to read them. But now I do! I SO want these, they sound exactly like my kind of book! I wonder if there’s a boxed set… That would pretty on my shelf! I don’t think there is since I haven’t seen it at the bookstore, but I’m off to double check and at least add the first to my wishlist!
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Pushy 12/12/2012

I believe there is a boxed set; perfect for holiday gifts!!!!
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KM 12/16/2012

Oh man, I loved these books!!! Some of my all-time favorites. You should read her other series, set in the 1920s.

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