Fiction — print. Harper Collins, 2007. 433 pgs. Library copy.
I’m sort of an ambivalent about The Luxe. It’s not exactly a page-turner, yet it’s certain better than the common comparison more than one girl at my school shared with me.
It’s sort of a more Victorian soap opera that filled with drama, backstabbing, and forbidden romances as five teenagers — Henry, society’s best catch; Elizabeth, also known at Miss Prim and Proper; her younger sister, Diane; the jealous maid, Lina; and vindictive Penelope — all strive to marry their hearts’ desires in tangled webs of unrequited love at the turn of the twentieth century. The only character in this tangle web who’s point of view we aren’t privy to is Will Kettler’s, the stable hand who loves Elizabeth.
The real drama, though, begins after Elizabeth becomes engaged to Henry — the object of desire for both Elizabeth’s best friend, Penelope, and her younger sister. And from there The Luxe takes on it’s soap opera-y feel, the characters become even more stereotypically, and the story begins to pick-up pace. It’s only then that I started to get into the novel; at first, I struggled to get through the first fifty pages.
It’s hard not to like all the characters — except, of course, for Penelope — and root them on. The Luxe is a little predictable and while I certainly wouldn’t compare this book to The Age of Innocence, it’s definitely an entertaining read; one I probably would have enjoyed when I was twelve or eleven. And the cover, well, is absolutely beautiful.