Novel: The Luxe


Bibliographical Information:

Title- The Luxe

Author- Anna Godbersen

ISBN- 0061345660

Publisher- HarperCollins


Genre(s): Historical Fiction

Interest Age: 14-17

Reader’s Annotation: Full of glamour and glitz, we meet 4 young women in 1899 and their drama filled lives.

Plot Summary:

The book opens up to a funeral for Elizabeth Holland. After that we are taken to a time before her death. The Holland family falls on tough financial times and Elizabeth Holland is engaged to be married to Henry, a wealthy eligible bachelor. But she is in love with her family valet Will. Elizabeth’s best friend, Penelope, is furious because she wants to marry Henry, and have the life the Elizabeth will receive with him. Diana, Elizabeth’s younger sister, falls in love with Henry and he falls in love with her. The family maid, Lina, is also in love with Will, and hates Elizabeth for falling in love with him. Prompting her to reveal Elizabeth’s love affair to Penelope. Elizabeth, fearing that she has no other choice, plots to fake her death and run away with Will. She gets Penelope’s help with the planning, and the novel ends with the same funeral from the beginning and Diana receiving a note informing her that Elizabeth is alive and well, and has run away to California with Will.

Critical Evaluation:

I really enjoyed this book. I think the aspect of it being set in 1899 is the best part. Anna Godbersen does an amazing job of transporting the reader to this time period. This book is filled with gossip from New York socialites, and I think it was done in a way that won’t tire the reader out from having to hear about it all. I think teens will enjoy this novel, and will appreciate the look back on the time period.

Author Bio/ Information:

“Anna grew up in Berkeley, California, in a house full of batik-covered second-hand furniture and dusty books acquired at yard sales. As a shy and dreamy child she learned to love books, especially ones that could transport her to another time and place, particularly the D’Aulaires’ collections of myths and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon.

At eighteen she moved east to attend Barnard College in Morning Side Heights, where she first encountered The House of Mirth and The Great Gatsby and so many other storied accounts of her new city. Although she completed a collection of short stories for her college thesis, she hadn’t yet found her voice as a writer and worked as a magazine assistant, a bartender, a book reviewer, and a ghostwriter for a few years before publishing her first novel in 2006. She currently lives in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, where she is working on her next novel out of an old warehouse on the East River waterfront, where the cacophony of tugboats and backhoes is strong, but the wireless signal is blessedly weak” (Anna Godbersen Bio, n.d.).

Ties to Curriculum: Historical Era

Booktalking Ideas:

Did the financial pressure on both Elizabeth and Diana influence their choices?

How do the relationships in this book create the story itself?

Challenging Issues:

There is very little that could be challenged. It talks about sex before marriage, but it is very briefly touched on and is discouraged by the characters. I decided to include this book because of the time period it is based and the intrigue of the story line.


Anna Godbersen Bio. (n.d.). Alloy Entertainment. Retrieved from



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