Review Blog

Dec 03 2009

Envy a Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen

cover image

Penguin Books, 2009. ISBN 9780141323381.
(Age 15+) It's the year 1900 and the Holland family of No. 17 Gramercy Park South are Manhattan society's favourite family. However tragedy has befallen them over the last year with the father dying, their money disappearing, and daughter Elizabeth having her new husband shot and killed. Her sister Diana has lost her virginity and heart to some-one now unattainable.
In the same town Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker have become the city's most prominent couple. But despite their recent marriage, the newlyweds are barely talking to each other and the marriage remains unconsummated. A certain gossip columnist seems to be receiving very good inside information about the goings on in high society much to the annoyance of the participants.
This is the third book in the Luxe novel series but it can be read as a stand alone title. The 1900 setting brings with it many historical lessons such as the different classes in society and the huge discrepancies in their living conditions. There is envy not only between the classes but within them. The richer set must 'be mindful of appearances' and act with 'propriety', with the females offering 'passive acquiescence.' However, even like today's youth, the decorum disappears when they are away from the public eye.
The language used is not only rich in description but also full of phrases rarely encountered in the 21st century. Terms such as pedlar of secrets, well kempt gentleman and cordial manners will send many of today's students searching for their dictionaries. Nevertheless the themes of wealth, love, beauty and betrayal and the fast paced storyline will keep them turning the pages to see what happens next. Suitable for upper secondary students.
Kay Haarsma

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Miles Franklin longlist 2017
Reading Children's Book Prize 2017
Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist 2017
Branford Boase Award shortlist 2017
Text Prize 2017
NSW Premier Literary Awards shortlist 2017
Aurealis Awards winners
YABBA Awards shortlist 2017
Stella Prize 2017
2017 YALSA Teens' Top Ten Nominees
CBCA shortlists 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates