25 February 2010

Review: SPLENDOR by Anna Godbersen ****

A spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role 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?
I can't believe I've actually finished reading The Luxe series! I'm quite sad to have reached the end of the series, mostly because the books were fantastic, but partly also because I found the conclusion slightly unsatisfying ... Yes, the characters have come a long, long way since the beginning, but I was hoping that things would end on a slightly different note for some of them.

If you've read my reviews of The Luxe, Rumours and Envy (the first three installments in the series), then you remember how much I've enjoyed them. Sure, they weren't really masterpieces, but they were perfect escapism material with stories full of drama and the prose was oh so flowery and wonderful and the covers were beautiful and I couldn't be happier. I was wondering how it would all end and I have to say that I really enjoyed reading Splendour, it was gripping stuff, right until the last couple of chapters ... I suppose Lina's ending was okay, no complaints there, and I didn't see the Penelope twist coming, but I have to say I was slightly bothered by who she ended up with because while I was reading the books I grew to believe that this guy she ended up with after all had an unbreakable bond with another girl. They were meant to do absolutely everything to be together and then they just parted. Just like that. Huh? Hmmm ... As for the Holland sisters, I wasn't too keen on their ending either. I was happy for Elizabeth, but I would like to learn more about her new family, and as for Diana, she made a very brave choice and I'd like to learn more about her new life too.

As you can see above, I was hardly pleased by how it all ended. I just can't believe this is really it as there is still so much going on and so much of the story is left untold and I want more of it. Fingers crossed the author will return to these characters eventually and let us know what their lives are like a few years later, but she is apparently currently working on a new book/series called Bright Young Things (set in 1929 Long Island), which I will most definitely read as soon as it hits the shelves as I know Ms Godbersen can tell a magnificent story.

All in all, I personally may have been slightly disappointed by the conclusion of this series, but I still highly recommend these books and I do not regret reading them at all! The books were incredibly enjoyable and packed with drama and countless twists and I honestly cannot praise the beautiful writing enough! And don't even get me started on the covers - I'll discuss them below and I've already posted about the Splendour cover shoot here. Anyway, if you're thinking about reading these books, then I'd certainly suggest giving them a try, I really enjoyed this series!

overall rating:
plot: 3/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 5/5

ps: I'm sure we can all agree that the covers for this series are fantastic and absolutely beautiful - here they are in all their glory (my personal collection - click to enlarge):

I've always imagined each portays one of the four main characters and I'm guessing it could be Elizabeth, Penelope, Lina and Diana from left to right - what do you think? Lastly, feel free to vote for your favourite cover - I'm quite curious to see what everyone thinks! :)

Which cover is your favourite?


Morgan said...

I've always admired these covers on the shelves of Borders or Barnes and Noble but never picked up and bought them. I'll defiantly start now that I've seen you adore them so much. Great review!

Melissa said...

I haven't even started this series, but I can't wait to! It's always sad when you reach the end of the road with specific characters though. I cried when Harry Potter was done...literally. I'm so silly! :)

Shweta said...

I have read 2 in the series and I agree it's pure escapism . I can't help but read ! I am really looking forward to read Envy and then Splendour..

Anonymous said...

The gowns on these books are always so FABULOUS!

Becky said...

Oh it is a shame you found the end a little disppointing. I really need to get myself the final book. Great review.

Rogrady - Book Lover! said...

I couldn't decide on which cover to vote for!
There all beautiful, but in the end I opted for Splender (:
Its a shame you didn't enjoy the ending, but the set still sounds interesting!
Ria x

Adriana said...

I felt the same way about the ending at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense and thought it fit the characters perfectly.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

FAB review!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE these dresses.
So hard to choose.
But I went with red.

PS LOVE that you had us vote. Too cute and creative :)

Kirsty said...

Have actually never heard of this series but it sounds fab!
Also noticed that you have totally changed your website name. Will update now :) x

Serpentine Librarian said...

I haven't read this series, but I've heard good things. I will definitely add it to my TBR pile.

I have some awards for you at my blog:http://theserpentinelibrary.blogspot.com/2010/02/bit-of-sunshine-on-snowy-day.html

robby (once upon a book blog/fourteen years) said...

I definately need to read these books. They sound great. :]

Emidy said...

What a great sounding series! I have heard of them before but have never actually picked one of them up off the self. I'll need to read them myself!

Une Parole

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

I have this series on my wishlist thanks to your previous reviews. Such a bummer though when a series ends flat though.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Great review! I voted for Rumours. :)

NatalieSap said...

I'm not sure about the rest, but I know for certain that Lina is on the cover of Splendour because her lavender dress was described in detail in the book. :) I was satisfied with the ending of the series - I think I might miss it a little.

Nina said...

I only read the first one, but I am dying to know what will happen in the next books! Too bad that the ending is not that great! The covers are absolutley fantastic!!!

Christina/Book Addict said...

I need to add this series to my TBR pile. I have been eyeing the covers for awhile now. Great review! Also, I wanted to let you know that I gave your blog an award. I'm a big fan of your blog and just wanted you to know! :)


miss cindy :) said...

I've only read the first one in this series, but I am determined to get to the rest by the end of this year. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as well, great review :)

oodles of books.

~Mary said...

I just found your blog! LOVE IT! Totally cute.

I've been wondering about this series. They lure me because of the pretty dresses, but wondered if there is more to it. I'll have to check one out at the library first to see if I like it.

prophecygirl said...

I like the Envy cover most I think. Great review - I need to read books 3 & 4. Thanks for the reminder :)

Christina T said...

I loved this series but I was disappointed by the ending of Splendor for the same reasons. Great review!

Marlène said...

For me the portraits on the book in the order of their apparition are those of Elizabeth, Penelope, Diana and Lina.
I imagine that Diana has not a red hair but Lina has.
In France unfortunately Splendor has not been published yet but I am so in a hurry to know the end !

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