Aug 29, 2011

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen review

It's 1929, do you know who you're getting your liquor from? It's probably from one of the dapper men & their socialite wives/girlfriends that you dream about one day being. For Cordelia & Letty, that is exactly the case.

The two girls are enchanted by the big lights they've heard about in New York City & decide to head out of their Midwestern home to search out what each is looking for in life. For Cordelia, she is searching for the father she has always missed, but never known. She has his name & her love-struck, deceased mother's memories to help her. Little does she know, the man she is seeking is none other than one of the most influential men in the bootlegging business. It turns out he's missed the daughter he never knew about just as much as the son he raised himself. Cordelia finds herself settling into this luxurious life, but is worried about the danger and the cost.

Letty is destined for stardom or she hopes at least. The girl is determined to see her name in flashing lights on Broadway. What she settles for, just to get started she thinks, is living with three other cigarette girls who work in a local club. On a lark one night she decides to get on stage & really show the crowd what she's got. This garners her two admirers, one who is interested in her purely for herself & another who has other ideas. Letty must decide who to trust because depending on her choice, she may lose her chance to be who she's always wanted to become.

These girls are just getting started and have a long way to go before they'll find their own ways, but only time will tell just how far they'll go to get what they want out of life.

Bright Young Things is written much in the same style as Godbersen's wildly-popular Luxe series. We are following two main female characters as they interact & navigate the changing world around them, while a third female manages to become an important person to both female leads all on her own.

I enjoyed the changing perspective as well as the lush setting. Nothing can quite compare to the roaring 1920's with the ambiance, parties, & experiences that are exclusive to the time period. Godbersen continues her incredible ability to weave an alluring setting with exacting detail. The seedy clubs, lavish parties & picturesque homes aren't spared at all. One can truly imagine it all laid out in front.

I found it a little harder to get a handle on the main characters. It's not that they were unsympathetic, but they just seemed so distant. I felt like we were really getting to know them as they were discovering themselves. Normally this kind of thing appeals to me, but in such a historical setting it didn't lend itself quite so well. I thought the girls would feel well0established then get the rug pulled out from under them, but this was just... different.

There were also three very different experiences that kind of overlap one another that caused a bit of confusion for me. While Cordelia was ushered into a lifestyle that Astrid was accustomed to, Letty was living as a starving artist. While they intermingled with some of the same locations, they all had divergent interactions that left me feeling a bit befuddled.

None of this is to say that it is a bad book, it is far from it. Godbersen has done a fine job & I am eagerly awaiting the September 20th release of Bright Days. I think that this book requires an attentive mind frame that I was lacking at the time, but that I fully intend on having engaged when I read the sequel.

Anyone else feel a little off-kilter with this one or was I just reading too much into it?

1 comment:

Britta Kirk said...

This sounds like one interesting novel! Great Review!

<3 Britta