Daily Archives: June 5, 2009

The Luxe (one year later) and Rumors


For some reason, I wrote the following review of Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe last year and I never posted it. It has been sitting in my “drafts” folder since then. I just finished listening to the sequel, Rumors, so I figured I had to either post it, or delete it. I chose post.

Geeky confession time. I have a little reading journal where I write down random words, phrases and thoughts I have about whatever I happen to be reading. It makes me think more about the books. It helps with reviews. Perhaps I should say, it helps with some reviews. Some reviews cannot be helped. I’ve been resisting writing about The Luxe because I simply wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about it. However, at the same time, I felt I should write about it fast, before I had absolutely nothing to say about it. So I thought I’d start off with offering you the little jot notes I recorded in my reading journal while working my way through The Luxe (and I quote):

– not the reason I read

– like eating petit fours for hours and washing them down with champagne

– cut out characters (Diana the only interesting one)

– Penelope: kind of amusing/entertaining as OTT bad-girl

– FULL of melodrama


All of this said, I was not approaching this book with grand expectations, so it’s shortcomings are not a great disappointment. I expected to be entertained, not educated. However, while The Luxe was amusing, it was not the deliciously absorbing naughty-book I had hoped for. The beginning had more momentum, but by the middle, it was almost yawn-worthy. (I think you have to actually care about the characters in order for a book to interest you, yes?) Will some teenage girls love it? Undoubtedly. Will it inspire them to read Wharton? Maybe but probably not.

Somewhere I read this described as “Edith Wharton lite.” I’ve read more than a few reviewers who’ve written that it reminds them of The Titanic (*shudder*). I’ve also read other reviews in which reviewers praise the historical accuracy and detail. Um… I’m not thinking that “Hey” was a typical greeting in 1900.  On the detail score, I was left with only the sketchiest portrait of Manhattan during the period (baruches, swooshy dresses, bowler hats and  calling cards). Then, of course, there’s the fact that a lot of people think that offering books like this to young women is doing nothing for feminism.

Parting thought/shot: I wonder if I should add “Bodice Ripper” to my categories list?

So… how about Rumors? Well, it’s more of the same, but with different coloured dresses.

And yet, I think I will probably keep on reading. I can’t explain it. I think it has to do with the covers. Pretty.

(It would seem I’m not the only one who just can’t look away. Leila at bookshelves of doom feels the same-ish).