Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bright Young Things

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I'm a sucker for Anna Godbersen books. Even though I know the character development isn't the most complex, and there are so many characters and story lines that none of them get the attention they probably should, I love the lush settings and fun description of period clothing, slang, and practices. So it should be no surprise that when I finished reading Godbersen's Luxe series that I would pick up her Bright Young Things series which takes place right before the stock market crash of '29.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Cordelia Gray and Lettie Larkspur have been friends their whole lives. Lettie is from a family that never stopped mourning their vivid matriarch, and Cordelia was raised by her strict aunt who took every opportunity to tell her who disappointing her parents were. Both girls dreamed of New York City for different reasons, had different dreams. Cordelia wanted to find her bootlegger father, one of the best in the city. Lettie dreamed of being on a stage. Together, they pool their money and get tickets to a city they have only seen in films and read about in the papers. But the reality of New York City is very different from the glittering pictures. These two girls pursue their dreams and try to navigate the roaring twenties that never really made it back home. Meanwhile, Astrid, a flirty socialite continues her tempestuous relationship with Charlie Gray. It's a summer of new beginnings for Astrid, Cordelia, and Lettie, and a summer of endings.

Oh the fun of this book had me smiling. There's romance in the air and girls trying to make it in the theater while being impossibly naive, and a touching, imperfect reunion between father and daughter. What I love about Godbersen's book is that none of her characters are perfect, but she doesn't comment on it. Lettie is naive to the point of stupidity, and Godbersen lets her get taken down a few pegs because of it. Cordelia is headstrong and was always the most rebellious girl back home. But in New York she is practically a shut-in and her confidence needs to stop being a smoke screen. She, also, is naive about life in an illegal business like bootlegging. And Astrid...oh, Astrid. Flighty and charming, she falls into every pit possible when it comes to her relationship with Charlie. She is petty and is pushed around and swayed by pretty things. But all three girls have a great dynamic, and you feel bad for them as they make their mistakes. And, of course, no review of a Godbersen book would be complete without talking about the setting. In a word: fun. Gone are the gloves and fancy hairstyles of the Luxe series. Now it's peroxide bleached hair and cigarettes. While the stories aren't perfect and the characters' naivete can become annoying, I still really enjoyed the first installment in this series.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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