In many (if not most) areas where this series succeeds, Rumors far outdistanced and outperformed The Luxe. The gossip was juicier, the plot twists were more scandalous, and plot was more fast-paced and engrossing. Essentially, any fan of The Luxe should be supremely satisfied with Rumors.
As a character-driven reader, the lack of strong leads in Rumors is disappointing. What Diana and Elizabeth Holland, Lina Broud, Penelope Hayes, etc. all do is interesting and entertaining, but I think that if they were three-dimensional personalities, it would be even better. Anna Godbersen balances a lot of narratives and perspectives in her overaching storyline, and sometimes her characters sounds too similar to each other. Giving each narrating personality a defining voice would smooth things out quite a bit, in my opinion.
On a plot level, Rumors is fraught with emotions and backstabbing and cruel plot twists. The drama, for my personal taste, was a bit too extravagant and flamboyant. Toward the last 50 pages, things got a little out of control, causing much eye-rolling on my part. On the other hand, I have absolutely no idea what silly road-block Anna Godbersen is going to throw into her characters’ path to completely happiness. There are still two more books left in this series, and I’m half-curious/half-afraid to see how everything ends up.
Statistically speaking, I’d say only .5 out of every 10 books is surprising or unique enough that I don’t know the basic plot outline by the end of the first chapter. So that is one good thing Rumors has going for it.
Overall, I think Rumors has a definite appeal for a certain demographic. As someone who exists solely on the fringes of that group of readers, Rumors may have been a bit too much for me to handle. Contrived drama goes a long way with me. I do think, however, that Anna Godbersen deals well with the assignment she was contracted to fulfill. Certainly, the Luxe series is far from terrible.
After leaving an especially tempting cliffhanger in The Luxe, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Rumours, and after reading the first page I was instantly devoured into the world of Elizabeth and Diana Holland, the Schoonmakers, and the Hayes. The switch of character thoughts between chapters was exciting for me, and left me hungering for what might come in the next, and wishing for my favorite two characters and romance to pop up (Diana and Henry, respectively.) I love Anna Godbersen's unique style, introducing her novels with a peek into the future, leaving a delicate hook for us readers and fans. Not only are her books great and detailed historical fictions, they are also representative of the situations often found in the upper grades-popularity and reputation, etc. The end of this book was very sad, unlike the previous, and though it certainly caused a little burr in my skin, I'm very excited to get my hands on Envy, especially since Diana seems to be the main protagonist in this one. A fast and intense read, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction especially and loves intrigue, rumours, and most importantly...secrets.
When I began reading The Luxe, which is the first novel of this series, I was very disappointed. The story was not engaging me whatsoever. I am not a fan of the Gossip Girl-esque type novel and knew that The Luxe did read along those lines. In fact, Erin from my local bookstore did tell me it was similar to Gossip Girl except dated 100 years prior. Since their historical fiction selection was limited I picked it up regardless for my challenge. Numerous times I wanted to toss The Luxe aside but decided against it and I am happy I did since I became completely enthralled in the story about 100 pages in.
I really enjoyed the Luxe. I love this sort of thing, the historical scandal, and pretty dresses and romance.
And I still like Rumors, but I found it to be just a little bit lacking. Probably because I knew how it was going to end (thanks to the stupid reviewers on Amazon who write reviews with spoilers in them without bothering to put SPOILER ALERT at the top of them), and I was seriously disappointed in the ending. I mean, really! It goes so completely wrong, and (spoiler alert?) the good guys lose and the bad guys win, for the time being (I guess).
Right now, I am 3/4 of the way through Envy, and it is soooo redeeming this series, at least for me. It's just better. So, those disappointed with Rumors, hang on....just hang on.
Age group: 14+, for some implied sexual situations/sexuality (vague, but it also has very very bad consequences), drinking references (also with consequences), and (very) mild language.
This is the kind of book I can get into: scandals, lies, dresses, and rumors!!!
Diana Holland, sister to the supposedly dead society star Elizabeth Holland (now happy in California with her lover Will), is in love with Elizabeth's fiance before she died, Henry Schoonmaker. Henry is in mourning for Elizabeth, so he can't court Diana just yet. But there is more behind the scenes: evil Penelope Hayes is also wanting Henry, and will do ANYTHING (really, anything) to have him marry her. She also has jealous ex-servant to the Hollands, society girl wannabe Lina Broad sitting in her pocket. Lina proves to be a valuable source for the precious gossip Penelope needs to accomplish her goals.
This book may be light and fluffy in subject matter, but it is too much fun! I had to put the book down a couple of times to yell at it, because it turned out so completely wrong! Now I feel the urge to run over to my library and get the sequel, Envy, before I go insane. It interesting enough for adults to read, but it is still great for teenagers. Some of the concepts are a bit mature, but it is not graphic or smutty at all so a girl as young a 14 could read it and not be fazed. All in all, a decently clean read because the sex/gore in it is quite vague.
This is a great follow-up to the Luxe. I won't say too much, to keep from spoiling it, but it ends in a cliffhanger, and I was heartbroken for some of my favorite characters!!! I just wish I could've seen more character development of Henry Schoonmaker. He sounds so handsome I want a character behind him. I'm still reading Envy, and I'm pretty sure a trip to Barnes and Noble will be necessary after October 27, so I can read Splendor (can't wait)
And also, a note on the "mature" content: It is not graphic AT ALL so I thought my mature 13 year old daughter could handle it. If she has questions on the right call she can ask me (because I am her mom) It does have implications of sex, like its predecessor, (really? When kids sneak out at night to meet with their boyfriends they have sex? Is that what they do? lol) but it is not close to anything in Nora Roberts romance novel (which my girl is not allowed to read) or even Gossip Girl.
Much better than the first in the series, now I feel like I'm hooked and I want to keep going with Envy. In this one, Elizabeth is still believed to be dead at first, but then rumors begin that she was kidnapped and is being held for ransom. In reality she is in California with Will and he is looking to strike it rich in the oil industry. Meanwhile in New York, Diana is still in love with Henry, and so is he, but the rules of society would not look upon their union as proper since his supposed ex-fiance is dead and she was Diana's sister. Penelope continues to scheme for Henry, making friends with his stepmother and trying to elevate her image in high society as that of a worthy candidate for Henry's betrothed. Lina (or Carolina as she starts to call herself) allies herself with a scrupulous salesman named Tristan. She befriends a wealthy old bachelor, and even though he knows her story is a sham, he helps her out with her finances in exchange for her company (sort of like an escort, but without the affair). All in all, way better storylines and I really enjoyed the writing this time, it envokes the time period without being boring or repetitive. One thing though, the ending was very sad for me, I was not expecting it and I have to say that I was sort of let down for that character. It does have some rather graphic scenes in it, so I would say younger teens beware.
My least favorite character must be Lina Broud. Why? Because she is so effin annoying. She uses secrets to get money and the secrets that she passes around are really bad. She uses her sister's trust and confidence and shares them with Penelope. She only wants money and she'll do anything to obtain it. I use to think that she was okay until she started to sell gossip.
I think this book is worth to spend your time reading it and maybe even re-reading it if you like it. :)
And the cover. SO PRETTY. I think this one's my favorite so far.