Release Date: June 3, 2008
Read it in: 3 days
The Hook: True love. False friends. Scandalous gossip. Welcome back to Manhattan, 1899.
So, if you read my last review for The Luxe, you know that it pretty much left me swimming in a puddle of my own drool, it was that freaking amazing. I LOVED it! Well, true to form, Anna Godbersen has come back again and she definitely does not disappoint-- Rumors was everything that I was hoping it would be-- with all the scandalous intrigues, rich descriptions that make you feel like you've been transported back in time to another world, and characters that are so completely realistic that you wonder if they were actually once alive.
It is December, 1899 in New York City, two months after news of the tragic death of Elizabeth Holland, one of high society's most respected and famous young starlets. However, her story is more than it seems, and Diana Holland-- Elizabeth's younger sister-- knows all about it. So does Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's former best friend (Note: she's the one on the cover of this book). Ruthless and scheming, Penelope longs to be married to NYC's most eligible bachelor, Henry Schoonmaker. However-- as luck would have it-- Henry had been engaged to the unfortunate Elizabeth just before her death, and he's now desperately in love with Diana...
And finally, there is Lina Broud-- Elizabeth's former housemaid. Lina is in love with Will Keller, the Hollands' former coachman. Will was once hopelessly in love with Elizabeth, but now that Lina knows she's dead and out of the way, she will stop at nothing to become a member of high society and win Will's heart over. That is, until she is completely seduced by the new life she's worked her way into.
Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope and Lina-- 4 very different young women, all connected within the same world of wealth and privilege, and all victim to the dictates of 19th century society. Reading like an Italian operetta, Rumors picks up with these 4 different lives where The Luxe left of. The plot probably sounds super confusing, but the story is so well-done that it is surprisingly easy to follow all of the interwoven plot lines and get to know all of the different characters.
AG's writing, in my opinion, is incredible. It flows like music, it's descriptive down to the last detail, and it's just a lot of fun to read. Rumors once again completely brings to life the characters and the world that they live in-- it was almost more like watching a movie in my head than reading black and white words on a page... I could see every detail of every room, the facial expressions on the characters' faces, and the interactions they had with each other. I don't know how she does it, but this story is not only well-researched for historical accuracy, but it is written in such a way that you can cruise through 200 pages without even realizing it.
This series has completely gotten my attention, and I am now moving into Envy, the third book. I really can't seem to praise this author and these books enough! I can only hope that the next two installments are as good as the first two, with all the delicious drama and intrigue I've come to expect from The Luxe series!