The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

I still can’t believe I read this silly book.

Romance? I prefer mine realistic rather than genre-fied.

Historical? I prefer mine nonfiction… or at least from an POV that is interesting to me. Wealthy society girls in early 1900s NYC? Eh…

Trashy plotlines? I prefer mine adult.

Big, fat, 500+ page books? I prefer mine Harry Potter.

But I read it. And I didn’t hate it. Historical Gossip Girls is the much repeated tagline, and probably the author’s pitch as well. But it’s really the only way to describe it. Familial money scandals. Who’s doing who. Who’s doing whose sister. Who will marry below their class, who will marry above. Drama drama

What made me finish? This strange murder plot. We learn from the first chapter that the ingenue protagonist, Elizabeth Holland, will be found dead at some point. Which isn’t necessarily thrilling, since the storyline is so drama-drama anyway, it just felt way too soap-opera. However, as I continued to flip pages as I flew back and forth above the continental US, I became rather invested in HOW this girl would die. Godbersen presents multiple suspects, all with different motivations and reaasons to wish Elizabeth dead (including Elizabeth herself), and none of which are really, truly exonerated by the end of the book.

Although if any of those above qualities don’t appeal to you, I’m not sure I’d reccomend this read. Surely there are better young adult murder mysteries set in turn of the century high NYC society?

Or maybe not…

*An Aside*

When learning more about the character of Elizabeth Holland, I was reminded strongly of the protagonist of another formulaic teen series – Anna from The A List.

I mean, I don’t read the A List books. I just flipped through a few chapters once or twice. Ahem.

Anyway, Anna and Elizabeth are both filthy, stinking rich, but their respective authors paint them as sort of Wealthy Angels, possessing of higher moral and emotional capacity than their peers. Their peers, actually, are filthy stinking rich and disgusting about it. They party hardy. They sleep around. They flaunt their riches, wear gaudy clothing, and seem to have no purpose as characters other than to stir up trouble and be obnoxious.

Anna and Elizabeth float even higher than their high-society upbringings demand. They date discriminatorily, respect their parents, tend to their educations, care for their siblings. Any trouble they get into is usually the fault of their meddling friends. They are blonde. They dress more plainly than their wealthy ilk, but possess natural beauty. Oh, and if you are Elizabeth, you are dead. Martyred.

What kind of female character is THAT supposed to be, exactly?

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