Feb 1, 2010

Envy by Anna Godbersen

This is book number three in a four part historical fiction series. Naturally, if you have not read the first or second books, then spoilers may lie ahead for you. Check out my review of the first novel, The Luxe, the second novel, Rumors, and then come back to catch up on the new gossip!

What's a girl to do? Diana just can't stomach the fact that Penelope muscled her way back into Henry's life in one of the most important social positions in town, Mrs. Henry Schoonmaker. Now that's not to say that Henry has given up on being with Diana, it just means that it is now more tricky than ever and one false move could set the whole house of cards tumbling down on their heads: leaving Diana in ruins, her reputation forever tarnished, Henry would be left looking like a fool, and Penelope would wind up looking like the saint that she most certainly was not.

Elizabeth is desolate at the loss of her beloved husband Will Keller. A worse atrocity is the fact that she cannot publicly recognize him as what he truly was to her and the whole town believes that he had kidnapped her. With the family on the brink of financial ruin, Elizabeth is running out of options to help her family survive. That is until her father's mining partner comes into the picture, and not a moment too soon because Elizabeth is hiding more than just the truth about Will, she's also hiding a part of him.

Carolina Broad, the former Holland attendant Lina Broud, is being to really understand what it takes to get along in this catty world. While she has learned to talk and act like the women she once looked up to, and can now dress like one thanks to her benefactor Carey Lewis Longhorn, Carolina is still on the outskirts. Though if she manages to capture her love interest, fortune may favor her after all.

To escape the horrible winter of New York, our little caravan of fun travels to the Royal Ponciana Hotel in sunny Palm Beach, Florida. There are parties, distractions, and every scandal one can imagine. Sadly not even the sun can keep them from their societal duties when they are all forced to return home for Carey Lewis Longhorn's untimely funeral. Where does this leave our quarry?

As well written as the first two, Envy continues to wow with tales of fantastic balls, daring plans, and romance to make even the hardest hearts swoon. Turn of the century Manhattan, and even Palm Beach, come into staggering view in this opulent world. The accuracy is incredible and denotes a well-researched subject.

The girls continue to captivate the boys' attentions in every manner, both appropriate and not, imaginable. Penelope remains the shallow gold-digger while Carolina begins to prove her worth. The Holland sisters just stay steady in this novel, doing their very best to struggle through their heart-aches and financial difficulties. I found them slightly less appealing in this novel I think due in large part to the heavy focus that is always centered on them. This time I immensely enjoyed getting to know Carolina and the boys more than we usually do.

Really this book was kind of like a bridge to me. Not a whole lot happened in the novel until the very end and it felt like filler to get to the end of the series. The characters behaved according and the story progressed towards the ending, but not in any big way. Overall it was still a wonderful book, it just felt a little lacking in action.

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