Splendor: a Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen. 391 pages. 2009.
This final installment of The Luxe ties a tidy bow around the series, fit for one of those dazzling dresses that adorn the covers. Godbersen takes us on a final wild ride with the characters we love, as well as those we love to hate.
Carolina Broad, who graces the cover in her lavender gown, has finally established herself among New York’s social elite; however, she still longs for the love of Leland Bouchard. When Carolina finds herself in Leland’s arms, she believes her wildest dreams have come true, but her lies and social blunders along the way to engagement may yet cost Carolina more than her newfound wealth can buy.
Penelope Hayes has been trapped in the Schoonmaker mansion under the pretense of miscarriage while her husband travels to Cuba with dashed hopes of serving his country. Bitter and alienated, Penelope crashes back into the social scene and discovers that she may yet assume a title grander than Mrs. Henry Schoonmaker. The Prince of Bavaria is even more scandalous and seductive than Penelope, and she agrees when he asserts that she would be happier if she were a princess. Poor Penelope has finally met her match!
Elizabeth’s belly continues to swell, and she feels utter gratitude for Mr. Cairns, who has not only married her despite her condition, but has also purchased a lovely house for her. While arranging her husband’s office, Elizabeth finds a document that links her name to Will Keller. When Elizabeth recognizes a man at the door, she realizes that Mr. Cairns may not be her savior after all. Only one person can save her from this new-found horror, but will he return from war in time?
Diana has traveled the world looking for Henry. She finally reunites with him in Cuba, but the pair’s blissful reunion ends when an officer discovers Diana in Henry’s bed. As soon as Diana returns to New York, she knows that she has outgrown the city and its stifling rules. An escape to Paris with Henry is all that Diana can hope for, but a shocking turn of events at the Schoonmaker mansion may prevent Henry from joining her.
If you're looking for a light, but well written book to get lost in for the weekend, give this on a try! Ultimately, the women emerge strong and independent. Godbersen leaves us with a satisfying conclusion to this wonderful series for readers who love historical fiction, romance, and intrigue.