Release Date: October 12, 2010
Read it in: 1 week
The Hook: The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.
So unfortunately I have been MIA for most of this week due to some things that came up this past weekend, but I am now getting back into the swing of things!
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen was another great historical fiction novel that draws you back in time to the sparkling, rowdy life of the Roaring Twenties. The author once again delivers an energetic cast of characters whose lives are all interwoven into a story that has you completely engaged from beginning to end. This book was really fun and keeps you guessing about what will happen to the three main characters until the last few pages (well, actually it keeps you guessing even after that, because this is a series, so I am still wondering!)
The main gist of the plot centers around two girls, Letty and Cordelia, who run away from their boring, ho-hum country town in Ohio to make it big in New York City. Letty is convinced she will become a singing sensation as soon as she is discovered and Cordelia is secretly in search of her long-lost father, who just happens to be one of the richest liquor-smugglers on the East Coast. The story follows the ups and downs of living precariously in an age of danger and decadence. The third main character is Astrid, a girl born into wealth and privilege, but who finds out that even her position is not secure. Intrigue and scandal abound as one by one, each girl becomes entangled in the sins and wrecklessness of life in the fast lane.
Once again, I love Anna Godbersen's ability to create historic worlds that are both vivid and believable. If you've read The Luxe, you know how desciptive Godbersen's writing is and how the details are key to re-creating long-lost times and places. As I read this book I could actually picture what New York City would have been like in the 1920's-- where people lived, what they ate, how they dressed-- no element is left out and this made it possible to step into their world. You can see the differences in how girls would have lived back then, but you also realize that not much has changed and people then probably weren't much different from people now...
The only major thing that bothered me about this book was that some of the characters' actions didn't always make sense to me. For example, Cordelia's whole reason for leaving home and everything she has ever known is to find her father and never have to return to the small-town life she feels trapped in. But then, when she gets everything that she has dreamed of, she meets some guy and basically throws it all away. Maybe if she had been born into wealth and luxery and if she hadn't been dreaming about meeting her father her whole life, I could see her gambling everything on a guy she's only known for a couple weeks, but her position is so precarious that it didn't make sense for her to be so wreckless. She knew exactly what she had to lose and I felt like she just treated things way too lightly. Letty also makes some bad decisions, but in her case she really couldn't have known just how bad they were.
Bright Young Things was a great historical fiction-- if you like this genre you will probably love Anna Godbersen's writing. There was drama, intrigue and mystery as well, with many characters involved. If you like a plot told through multiple perspectives with uncertain outcomes that keep you guessing, I would recommend this book to you too! I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in this series.