Two months have passed since the dramatic homecoming of Elizabeth Holland - Manhattan society eagerly awaits her return. But Elizabeth won't rejoin her sister Diana's side. The whispers are beginning - is all as it seems behind closed doors?
Further uptown, notorious cad Henry Schoonmaker and his new bride are the city's most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond she wears, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other.
Manhattan's most envied residents appear to have everything they desire: wealth, beauty, happiness.
However, in a city where appearance is everything, sometimes the most practiced smiles hide the most scandalous secrets.
This is the third instalment in the amazing Luxe series and in case you haven't heard of it (tsk tsk!), it's a historical YA series which takes place mostly in New York City in 1899/1900 and tells the story of the scandalous lives of privileged teens. It's full of drama and so much fun to read! I've already reviewed the first two books, The Luxe and Rumours.
Some of you may already know that I absolutely LOVE this series! Someone somewhere called it 'mind candy' and that's exactly what it is - delicious & beautiful mind candy! Who could resist that? :)
So in the third book we still have Diana and Penelope "fighting" over the same man - one of them blackmailed him into commitment and the other one promised revenge. For a change a large part of story doesn't take place in Manhattan, but in Palm Beach, Florida, due to the retreat there organized by the newlywed Mr and Mrs Schoonmaker. All the important people are invited, including Elizabeth, who is still recovering from personal tragedy and just when her situation is starting to improve, she is hit by a double whammy when the person she thought she could rely on leaves her to serve the country and she receives some shocking news. She does what she feels is right and in the end also grabs a lifeline when she's offered one ...
Also in attendance is Carolina, the ex-maid turned socialite, whose holiday is cut short when she receives some surprising tragic news. She's forced to flee back home, where she first very low and then unexpectedly rises higher than ever and it'll certainly be interesting to see how she copes with everything.
Henry just can't seem to be with the girl he truly loves so he makes an abrupt decision to do what he thinks is right. The ending is rather shocking as his true love, the one he thought he lost, decides to leave everything behind and follow him across the ocean ...
Another great installment in this wonderful series, which is still full of (love) drama and scandals and deceit and blackmail and betrayal. As illustrated by the cover, the book also features beautiful dresses and, just like the others, is marked by this very flowery old-fashioned prose, which is not only a delight to read, but it also an excellent representation of all the excess and extravagance of the Gilded Age.
These books are honestly very fluffly (meant in a good way), but there is so much going on and the writing is so lovely that I just can't fault them, even if I do occassionally roll my eyes at some characters or the things they do, but in the end you just learn that it all adds to the story.
I'll be sad to see the story end in the next and last book, Splendour (my copy just arrived!), but I really can't wait to see what happens! As always, I'm expecting lots of drama and love and shocking little twists & turns, and I just hope the ending disappoint - but surely it won't, right?
overall rating: 5/5
plot: 4/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 5/5