Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups. This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it... read more
Elizabeth Holland, the main character, is first introduced in the midst of a Manhattan ballroom scene, after just arriving from a stay in England. Her sister Diana, also at the party, is caught kissing an older gentleman. During the party Henry Schoonmaker arrives late but spends most of his... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Elizabeth Holland, the main character, is first introduced in the midst of a Manhattan ballroom scene, after just arriving from a stay in England. Her sister Diana, also at the party, is caught kissing an older gentleman. During the party Henry Schoonmaker arrives late but spends most of his time with the party's host Penelope Hayes. Henry leaves early, angering many of the ladies at the party. He is threatened by his father the famous William Schoonmaker, to make a move and find a decent woman to marry. Henry soon asks Elizabeth, a prim and proper debutante, to marry him at the request of his father and her mother. The engagement of Elizabeth Holland and Henry Schoonmaker is soon announced to New York City's most elite residents. Penelope is shocked to hear the news because she and Henry were not so secret lovers but Elizabeth was away while this was going on. Elizabeth must now try to repair her relationship with Penelope before going on with her preparations for the highly anticipated wedding. Henry, meanwhile, feels reluctant to betray Penelope. When Henry fails to escort Elizabeth to a ball, his father decides to move up the wedding date to add pressure. Later that night, Penelope visits the engaged Henry at home, in hopes of seducing him. She has no success.
The romantic tensions of The Luxe heighten when Elizabeth's own lover is revealed, Will Keller, the Holland's coachman, and Elizabeth's childhood friend. While she is at a party, Will writes Elizabeth a letter informing her of his departure after he hears of her engagement: "I am going to California and I can only pray that I will one day see you there." When Elizabeth returns home after the party, she is left to find that Will has already gone and she will have to endure Henry as a husband. When the maid Lina makes a mistake and is fired she runs away planning to raise money to fund her expedition to find Will, the man she loves. Lina sells the families secrets to gain money and tries to survive on her own. Elizabeth's sister, Diana, has her own secret love, Henry. When Elizabeth sees Diana getting out of Henry's carriage she knows that her marriage will never work. In the end of the novel, Penelope helps Elizabeth fake her own death and Elizabeth manages to take a train to California to join her true love, Will Keller. She is also able to send a letter to her sister letting her know she is alright and that she approves of Diana and Henry.
“There was no pleasure like being envied on a mass scale.”
“As she always did on any really important day, Penelope Hayes wore red.”
“The headiest loves, were the loves that couldn't be.”
“It was the old New York way...the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than "scenes," except the behavior of those who gave rise to them.”Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
“Heart-stopping envy is the sincerest form of flattery.”Isaac Phillips Buck
“It is well known that a man, when wooing a lady to be his wife, must first win over the females she most confides in--her friends, of course, and her sister, if she has one.”Mae ve de Jong, Love and Other Follies of Old New York
“That was how this was supposed to feel. <A kiss> It was supposed to go all the way down to your toes and make them dance, just a little bit.”Diana Holland
“The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color--oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples....”From the Diary of Diana Holland, September 17, 1899
“I've always believed in savoring moments. In the end, they are the only things we'll have.”From the Diary of Edward Holland, December 1898
“Don't go looking for boys in the dark. They will say pretty things then leave you with scars. Do go looking for boys in the park. For that is where the true gentlemen are.”A Seamstress's Verses, 1898
“It's the craziest thing, but I cannot stop thinking about you.”Henry Schoonmaker
“A letter or a note that is almost as good as a real and sudden kiss.”
“A lady must retain always her composure. Even in a rainstorm, she must appear joyous and dry. When she loses her composure, then the respect of her peers and her staff will follow in short order.”Van Kamp's Guide to Housekeeping for Ladies of High Society, 1899 Edition
“Never go chasing after, always play hard to get.”
“You'll forgive me if I keep staring at you.”Tristan Wrigley
Don’t go looking for boys in the dark They will say pretty things then leave you with scars. Do go looking for boys in the park For that is where the true gentlemen are.Highlighted by 62 Kindle customers
The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color—oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples….Highlighted by 54 Kindle customers
I’ve always believed in savoring the moments. In the end, they are the only things we’ll have. I hope that I have imparted this belief to my children, though it is so hard to tell when they are still stubbornly becoming themselves.Highlighted by 38 Kindle customers
––A SEAMSTRESS’S VERSES, 1898Highlighted by 31 Kindle customers
Diana felt she was beginning to understand why, in all those novels she read, the headiest loves were the loves that couldn’t be.Highlighted by 27 Kindle customers
Do not marry for money, Mrs. Holland had often said in happier times, just marry where money is.Highlighted by 23 Kindle customers
A lady must retain always her composure. Even in a rainstorm, she must appear joyous and dry. When she loses her composure, then the respect of her peers and her staff will follow in short order.Highlighted by 20 Kindle customers
It is well known that a man, when wooing a lady to be his wife, must first win over the females she most confides in—her friends, of course, and her sister, if she has one. ––MAEVE DE JONG, LOVE AND OTHER FOLLIES OF THE GREAT FAMILIES OF OLD NEW YORKHighlighted by 20 Kindle customers
Newly engaged couples will always find ways to flirt with one another, but it is imperative to the health and well-being of society that they not be encouraged to do so in public. They should not be seen traveling alone through the city, especially not to the theater, and at dinner pains should be taken so that they are not seated beside one another. They will only tickle and tease each other, and that is not to be endured.Highlighted by 18 Kindle customers
We see our sins reflected everywhere: in the pallor of our intimates’ faces, in the scratching of tree branches against windows, in the strange movements of everyday objects. These may be messages from God or tricks of the eye, but in neither case are we permitted to ignore them.Highlighted by 16 Kindle customers
There is no reason that anyone above the age of 14 should not read this book. Some parts or concepts in the book maybe difficult for young readers to grasp. There are a lot of scandalous relationships and sexual relations. Overall its a pretty clean book.
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