The time period is 1899 in New York City. The characters are ultra upper society, the kind that was considered old money in a time when Queens has not been urbanized yet. European are immigrating to New York and Americans are finding wealth in the West, creating an assortment of new wealth in the city. This cast of characters is so removed from what is actually happening in their city that they don’t realize the newsboy strike is on or that an American Admiral had won a major naval battle in the Bay of Manila during the Spanish-American War. Entertaining and judging other upper society members is what actually concerns them.  In a time when a scandal affected those involved like a contagious disease and societal rules and decency were held above all else, including love and family, Elizabeth Holland is about to break all of the rules!

 

The novel opens with an elaborate and unexpected funeral service in Manhattan for Elizabeth Holland, considered at the time to be the most elegant and beautiful young lady of New York’s upper class. Always proper and following the rules of society, Elizabeth is the oldest of the Holland sisters. Therefore, she must bear the weight of a family secret. Her younger sister, Diana, does not follow the boring rules like her older sister does. She sees Elizabeth as prudish and conforming. But does Diana really know her sister? Has Elizabeth actually been concealing her true feelings and passions, even from her family?

 

Among the pallbearers at the funeral is her fiancé, the dreamy playboy Henry Schoonmaker. As twist of fate, Elizabeth’s funeral is taking place on the day that was supposed to be her wedding day. But not everybody attending appears to be sad. The circumstances surrounding Elizabeth’s death are mysterious and unsolved. Penelope and Isaac, Elizabeth’s friends, look decadent and impatient when they appear at the church. Diana, Elizabeth’s younger sister, appears to be smiling when she enters. Could the recently fired maid, Lina, have something to do with Elizabeth’s death?  They have all learned a valuable secret about Elizabeth. Secrets are scandalous in their world. Could one of Elizabeth’s ‘friends’ have exposed a secret?

 

The Luxe will take you into a world that we will never know. A world of luxurious and exquisite gowns, decadent parties and events, strict social etiquette and family ties, and deception and scandal that modern day gossip could never come close to. Anna Godbersen will leave you wanting more and ordering the second book in the series, Rumors, right away!

 

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