From Amazon:” Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.
With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...”
Luxe starts out at the funeral of beautiful Elizabeth Holland where all of New York has turned out to lay the society darling to rest. The book then takes us from the funeral to a couple of weeks prior and the events leading up to Lizzie’s untimely demise begins to unravel. Who would want to hurt this belle of the ball? Well, everyone apparently. There is her “with friends like this who needs enemies” counterpart Penelope Hayes who comes from new money and is haughty, immoral and has quite the jealous streak. There is Lina the maid who used to be childhood friends with Elizabeth but now sees herself as Elizabeth’s rival for the affections of Will Keller, the family coachman. There is society bad boy Henry Schoonmaker who proposes marriage to Elizabeth only because his father says he must marry her to inherit. In addition to Elizabeth there is also her younger sister Diana who marches to the beat of her own drum. Henry is trying to find a way to not marry Elizabeth. Elizabeth is trying to find a way to tell her mother she won’t marry Henry as she’s in love with Will. Penelope is doing everything she can to sabotage the wedding because she wants Henry. Diana is also conflicted as she is in love with Henry also but doesn’t want to tell her sister she’s got the hots for her fiancée. Drama! Drama! Drama! Also there is the little matter of the Holland’s being out of money and their desperation to have that little tidbit kept under wraps so they aren’t cast out society.
This book was entertaining enough but I can definitely see why it was marketed towards a teen audience. I appreciated that the sexual undertones of the book were muted. You knew it was going on but the author chose not to spell it out for you. The main problem for me was that Elizabeth wasn’t very likeable to me until the end of the book. She is publicly miss morals and manners, treats Lina the maid like crap and pretends to be completely shocked at Penelope’s exploits while in reality she is sneaking to the stable loft and getting’ it on with the coachman every night. Also the way in which both Elizabeth and Penelope looked down their noses at less fortunate society girls like Agnes Jones made me recall high school in a not too favorable way. Because of her having this type of attitude half the time and being wishy washy the other half, I found it kind of difficult to care what really did happen to her (although I guessed the outcome about 2/3 of the way through the book). The saving grace was little sis Diana Holland. I really liked her and her silly romantic notions and I even liked Henry a little more when he decided to stop being a total jerk once he developed real feelings for someone.
I think I will continue this series as it is perfect for when I need a nice quick fluff read. Besides I love the gorgeous covers on these books :)
This book is from my own personal library