Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe Series


(Pictures of Splendor to come – I promise!)

Godbersen, A. (2007). The luxe. New York, NY: HarperCollins. 9780061345661

Godbersen, A. (2008). Rumors: A Luxe novel. New York: HarperCollins. 9780061345692

Godbersen, A. (2009). Envy: A Luxe novel. New York: Harpercollins. 9780061345722

Godbersen, A. (2010). Splendor: A Luxe novel. New York: HarperCollins. 978006162319.

The staff book club turned me onto The Luxe series. Being touted as a nineteenth century Gossip Girl, this series has been very popular. Although I haven’t read any of the Gossip Girl books, I have seen episodes of the show here and there. Ultimately, I was sold of the amazing dresses on the book covers.

The series begins in 1899 Manhattan. The old Dutch families attend the funeral of one of their own – the exquisite Elizabeth Holland. In third person, the narrator introduces us to big players of the series – the dearly departed Elizabeth Holland, her gorgeous best friend – Penelope Hayes, her handsome fiance Henry Schoonmaker, and her romantically lovely little sister , Diana Holland.

The first chapter takes us back a month or so to Elizabeth’s return from Paris. The Hollands have lost their patriarch and the family could be in ruins. That’s why Mrs. Holland desperately needs her elder daughter to marry the wealthy son of William Schoonmaker, Henry. Henry just happens to be the paramour of Elizabeth’s frenemy Penelope Hayes. The worst part is Elizabeth couldn’t care less about Henry; she longs for another. Matters aren’t helped when Henry falls for the younger Holland, Diana. To top all of it off, both Hollands better watch their backs around their spiteful maid Lina Broud.

The Luxe Series is a quartet and I’ve only revealed some from the first book. I enjoyed the first book. The descriptions of the conspicious consumption and the elaborate gowns were stellar. Godbersen’s understanding of kids playing grownups was superb. She even provides us context with ample clippings from “society pages” and quotations on etiquette of the day.

However, I wasn’t pleased with the culmination. I didn’t like the obvious subscription to Murphy’s Law, either. If I were to have this to do over again, I’m not sure I’d do it.

The series overall gets Two and a half out of Five Pearls.

Word bank: pending

Places: Manhattan, New York, Paris, California, Yukon, The Philippines, Cuba

For more on The Luxe Series, please check out the following links:



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