Splendor by Anna Godbersen is the latest and final installment in what has been a highly addictive series in my life. I don’t consider myself a gossip fiend, although I know I have my moments, but reading about the lives of the Holland sisters, Penelope and Carolina has been exhilarating. I really enjoyed the realness of this story, because while each character experiences major ups and downs – and each had their own surprise ending in this book – they were not all happily ever afters.
The Luxe series is about so many thing – it’s about love, friendship, family, deceit, jealousy, murder, gossip, women’s rights, the sanctity of marriage, coming of age, and more. The pages are packed with suspense and new twists, but it never feels forced. Godbersen has weaved a very tantalizing web of a story that sucked me in from the first page. On the other side now, having read all four books, I’m almost disappointed that I have read them – because I don’t reread books, this means my love affair with the Luxe is basically over now. Unless they make a movie version of the books, that is…
For those new to the Luxe books, here’s a description of the first book:
A big, sumptuous tale of catty girls, dark secrets and windswept romance unfurls in this compulsively readable novel of late-19th-century New York City socialites. Godbersen weaves a tenuous web of deceit, backstabbing and pretense that follows four teens: Elizabeth Holland, a prim and proper lady of old-money society, is betrothed to one man, though furtively loves another; Henry Schoonmaker, a debauched playboy who must marry Elizabeth or be disinherited; Diana Holland, Elizabeth’s younger sister who is in love with her fiancé; and Penelope Hayes, a member of the nouveau riche who will stop at nothing to win Henry’s affections. As Elizabeth and Henry’s wedding approaches, the spectacle unfolds in a wondrously grandiose scene, making for a fun, though not entirely unexpected dénouement. A delicious new twist along the Gossip Girl vein, readers will clamor for this sharp, smart drama of friends, lovers, lies and betrayal.