The story continues between the 5 teens from rich Manhattan during the year of 1899 in this continuation of “The Luxe”. Penelope wants to get Henry back since Elizabeth is “dead”. Diana wants her chance to marry Henry since she has Elizabeth’s blessing, loves him, and believes that he loves her. Elizabeth has reached the West where Will had been happily waiting for her, and she starts to build a happy life with him there, albeit with less money than she was used to having. Lina is struggling to keep up her facade of Carolina, the rich orphaned girl. Henry is trying to decide whether to propose to Diana, the girl he loves, and Penelope, a girl that is older and not the sister of his “dead” fiancee. He blames himself partially for Elizabeth’s death as well, thinking that she killed herself after finding out about his illicit relationship with Diana.
Throughout this book, these 5 characters grow exponentially. Penelope becomes more cunning as she feels hurt by Henry trying to marry her best friend and then loving the younger girl Diana rather than her, the woman he was with originally. Lina wants to find Will and win him back, but she is running low on funds after wasting some money on keeping up her costume and the expensive hotel room she lives in. She wonders if Will is simply a childhood fantasy or someone that she can truly consider creating a permanent life with. Tristan, a worker at Lord and Taylor, decides to help Lina in trying to win over an older man in order to continue paying for her expensive lifestyle. Elizabeth struggles with not having people to do things for her, as she wants to be a good wife to Will and not incapable of something as small as cooking dinner for him. However, she is happy with the natural and free West. Diana chases after Henry as people in Henry’s life block him from seeing her, trying to keep him on good terms with the media.
I disliked the lack of enthusiasm that Henry had for his relationship with Diana. Elizabeth ran off to the West to be with Will and no one recognized her there. If Henry and Diana had escaped on a train to either the west or even the south, they could have started over as a couple. They may not have been financially well off for the first few months to the first few years, but they would have been together and happy.
Elizabeth adapted as well as she could to the west. I worried that she would end up pushing Will away and hurting him by complaining about not having the things that she was used to, like a large house with servants to cook and clean. However, their love and Elizabeth’s character was strong enough for her to put her best foot forward into teaching herself how to do some basic household tasks.
I thought that Lina would be exposed to the world of prostitution as she was accompanying older men in order to be given gifts of money, but the story stayed on the more innocent side of things with her just befriending a few men. Nevertheless, the character of Tristan was shadier than he had seemed.
This book was more addictive to me than the first book of the series. By the time I got to the end, I could not put it down until I reached the last page. I still recommend this series for anyone interested in a royalty-like historical fiction story.
Overall Rating: 4/5