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).

2 thoughts on “The Luxe (one year later) and Rumors

  1. Melissa (Book Nut)

    I’m toying with the idea of skipping Rumors all together (since both Leila and Becky HATED it) and just reading Envy (since they liked it reasonably well). You’re right about everything, though: cut-out characters, bodice-rippers, pretty dresses on the covers… why do we read these books?

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