Elizabeth Holland is at the top of the social scene in an 1899 New York. We all know that "all that glistens is not gold" and is certainly Elizabeth's case. With the recent passing of her father, her mother tells Elizabeth and Diana that they can no longer afford the lavish life they once knew - for their father left them in considerable debt. The family's only hope is that Elizabeth can marry into money. The only problem is her heart lies else where.
Penelope Hayes is the most beautiful exotic person in her time. Her 'best friend' Elizabeth Holland has just arrived back from France, and is dying to tell Elizabeth of her crush on Henry Schoonmaker, New York's hottest bachelor. She plans to marry him and won't take no for an answer, and when all the papers are hinting about her and Henry and how surely those two are to be engaged she can't help but feel like her plan will work. But she is a rose with thorns, and is one to be watched.
Diana Holland is a wild child. Unlike her boring family she has a fiery personality. She hates that she has to be dressed in expensive cloths, talk quietly, and be boring. She wants to travel the world and experience life - not live it so dully. When she catches the eye of Henry Schoonmaker her life begins to parallel the romance novels she often reads.
Henry Schoonmaker is New York's hottest bachelor. His family is very wealthy and his father will run for mayor. The only problem for this strapping young man, is that he is known as a heart breaker, and a wild uncontrollable man. When his father comes to him and tells him to marry a respectable woman, so his run for mayor will be better, or else be cut off from the money supply, Henry Schoonmaker find himself in a tight spot. Freedom or marriage?
Lina Broud is Elizabeth Holland's personal maid. The two grew up together and became good friends. But when Elizabeth went to France for the summer, their friendship wilted away. The two have grown even more apart, and Lina has become more and more jealous of her mistress' life style. When an event leads to her dismissal she finds a way to get back at the woman she hates so much with the help of an unlikely source.
Ah, the gossip and drama of 1899!! The book revolves around the point of view of Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope, and Lina. I love how the author details the clothes they wore and the rooms they lived in. You can clearly get a wonderful picture in your head. The book dealt with the age old question of: do you follow your heart or do you do act to help your family forsaking your heart? I enjoyed reading about Elizabeth. On the outside she portrayed her self to society as a perfect woman with impeccable manners. As you continue to read you learn though that she is everything but perfect and is actually not as shallow as she appears. I look forward to the second book!
Books in this series:
1. The Luxe
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. New York (c) 2007