The Luxe by Anna Godberson is the first in a series of novels about young ladies living in Manhattan during the late victorian era. This book (and subsequently, the series) combines two of my favorite genres: Historical Fiction and Young Adult Novels. It has everything you want in a new YA series. The novel focuses on four teenage girls who spend their days fighting over boys, trying to out dress each other, and generally scheming to become the Queen Bee of the New York social scene. Sound familiar? I am sure it does. It gives you everything you have been missing since the end of Gossip Girl, plus the incomparable fashions of the late 19th century.
As far as the storyline goes, there are two sisters, from a very old New York family. Elizabeth is the gorgeous and perfect older sister, Diana is younger who finds herself in a bit more trouble. Penelope is Elizabeth’s best friend and biggest competitor. Lina is Elizabeth’s maid, who is insanely jealous and wants nothing more than to be a part of their world. The four girls are navigating the Victorian values of high society, trying to land husbands and have the best looking dresses for every social event of the season.
If you are looking for a book that requires some heavy thinking as we approach the tail end of summer, do not look here. This book is fun and fanciful. In truth, you can totally judge these books by their luscious covers. It is all young ladies, backstabbing one another to land the man of their dreams while wearing the most enviable clothes. It takes you back to the day where all young women had to day was shop and wait around for gentlemen to come calling to take you for a carriage ride around central park. You do get a taste of the class war, as a couple of major characters are servants to the wealthy and powerful New York socialites, and as you have seen in similar types of media, wealth and power are never safe.
I highly recommend this series of books. I read all four in about a week and a half. They are so quick and easy to read, and once you get into them, you may find the novels impossible to put down. There is plenty of intrigue and as the best of these series are written, each book leaves you in a position where you have to immediately begin the next. So don’t pick up one from the library without reserving the next, the waiting may be unbearable.
Here are the covers from the entire series, in case you are interested.