- Sir Walter Scott
Our favorite cast from New York circa 1899 is back - and this time the tangled web of lies has grown. As you may recall from the first book (SPOILER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ LUXE) Elizabeth Holland faked her own death and went out west to be with Will, her true love.
Diana has now been placed in the social spotlight and is her family's only hope to stay afloat in the dog eat dog world of high society. However, Diana was never as polished as her sister Elizabeth was, and so finds the role she now must play rather irritating. Her role becomes harder when Henry Schoonmaker, Elizabeth's former fiance, can't take his eyes off her and declares his true feelings for her and she him. However, society won't accept them as a match because of the situation relating to Elizabeth.
Penelope Hayes, never one to be out-shined, is glad that her 'friend' Elizabeth has left the social scene. With Elizabeth gone, Penelope can now focus of Henry and make sure that he notices her - and that society will notice how they make a wonderful pair. Also, the disappearance of Elizabeth, allows Penelope to become the Queen of Society - a title that was once Elizabeth's. However, when her attempts to catch Henry's eyes goes unnoticed she begins to get agitated. Nothing will stand in her way - well except for Diana Holland who seems to have Henry's undivided attention.
Lina the Holland's former maid has made quite the splash in society. After selling some juicy gossip about the Holland's to Penelope for a price of $500 Lina can now afford to live in some style. She checks herself into the Netherland hotel and begins to formulate a plan that will allow her to be seen as belonging to the rank of the social elite women. Her luck quickly runs out though when the money she was using to buy her way into the society is stolen. She has no hope now of becoming polished and chasing after William. Her luck turns though, when she befriends Tristen - a con artist like herself. When Lina learns of more juicy gossip she decide to go to Penelope again. This time Lina is out for blood, she's quickly learning the rules of the social charades.
Hmm, I'm trying to gather my thoughts on this book. The ending is still with me and I can't give it away and I fear that if I write about my feelings on the subject I will have given the ending away. Can I just say that if FRUSTRATED ME! Does that give it away? I don't think so. I can see how it leads to the third book, but WHY? WHY? WHY? Ok. That's off my chest.
This book is still set in 1899, and I assume the third will be set in 1900 since the second book concludes in the last hours of 1899. I would have loved to have lived back then - but only as the wealthy. The clothes they all wore! To think today if we were to dress like that it would only be to go out somewhere nice - a ball, an opera, the Grammies. They however, dressed like that all the time. I might've liked being in those dresses at first but then I would've missed being in shorts or pants.
I loved the character development. Elizabeth was the focus in the first book, but in the second you see more of Lina and Diana. Oh Lina, Lina, Lina. Tisk tisk. It was fun getting to know them more. Penelope is still the trickster amongst them all - I hate her so.
I early am awaiting the 3rd book.
Books in this series:
1. The Luxe
Rumors by Anna Godbersen. New York (c) 2008