It's official. The faceless suits that run Alloy Entertainment are geniuses. I just finished The Luxe and it was like eating an entire package of Dove bon bons all by yourself - delicious, completely decadent and totally devoid of substance. Just what the doctor ordered.
The Luxe follows the lives of the rich and famous in late19th century NYC. Masked balls, secret letters and late night trysts abound. I think it was pitched as the historical version of Gossip Girl, and that's exactly how it reads. We meet the pristine Elizabeth Holland (Serena, if you will) when she has returned from a summer abroad. Her family is well-respected, but suddenly poor and she's forced into an engagement with the rakish Henry Schoonmaker (ie Chuck Bass), in spite of the fact that she's banging the stable boy. See, it's good already, and it gets even better.
Her best friend, Penolope Hayes (definitely Georgiana. I hated that bitch) spent her summer trying to land the very eligible Mr. Schoonmaker, and is none too happy about the news of the engagement. She sets out to do everything in her power to stop her friend from marrying Henry. What she doesn't realize is that Henry has fallen in love with Elizabeth's younger sister Diana (totally Blaire. Slightly bitchy, but very fun).
This book is a fun read, but I'll admit to being a little bit bored by Elizabeth. She reminds me way too much of Serena. Too good hearted and perfect to be any fun. I loved the dynamic between Diana and Henry and found myself looking forward to the chapters written from their perspective. Penelope was a good villain, but a little too predictable and whiny for my tastes. Honestly, I think the real standout in the book was Elizabeth's maid, Lina. It was fun to read her perspective on the wealthy. She was sympathetic because obviously it would suck to be a servant, but also totally evil because she's hell-bent on destroying Elizabeth. I have a hunch that her ambition will land her on the society pages in later installments of the series and I can't wait to see what vile plans she comes up with to thwart the high society princesses she so despises.
Save the publishing industry and buy yourself a copy of The Luxe today. It's the perfect book to get you through the cold month of December.