Rumors by Anna Godbersen
I have come to really like Anna Godbersen's writing style. Each of the books starts with a prologue foreshadowing the ending, and each chapter begins with a letter, newspaper article, or announcement that foreshadows the events to come. This could easily make the story completely predictable and boring, but what I love is that even though you have an idea of what's coming, the fact that she continually switches from character to character gives the reader a new perspective on the foreshadowed events. She even throws in a few surprises - so even though you think you know what's going to happen, it sometimes doesn't happen exactly how you think. I can't wait to start book #3!
**Spoiler Alert** I have a few more thoughts to share, but if you haven't read the book and don't want to know what happens, proceed with caution. Don't say I didn't warn you! :)
Rumors picks up where The Luxe leaves off - the high class society of New York is rocked by the supposed death of Elizabeth Holland, who has in fact run away to California to be with Will, the Holland's former coachman. Elizabeth arrives in California and finds Will at the station waiting for her. It turns out that he has been coming to the station everyday in the hopes that Elizabeth had decided to follow him there after all. While I thought this is romantic, I was a little disappointed in how easily they came together. After what Elizabeth had put him through, I wanted to see her work for her happy ending a little bit more, but I digress.
Will is poised to make his fortune in oil when a telegram arrives from Diana, Elizabeth's sister, stating that the family's fortunes are in ruins and that their mother is not doing well. Elizabeth finds herself torn - she desperately wants to return to the aid of her family, but everyone in New York believes that Elizabeth drowned. In the end, despite the danger that it might place them in, Will and Elizabeth decide to board a train and return to New York.
Meanwhile back in New York, Diana finds herself being drawn into an affair with Henry Schoonmaker, Elizabeth's former fiancee. The two fall madly in love, but forces beyond their control are conspiring to keep them apart. Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's former friend, is still determined to win Henry. Lina, Elizabeth's former maid who has rechristened herself Carolina Broud, forms an alliance with Penelope, selling the secrets of her former family in an attempt to transform herself from a maid to a society girl.
Just when I thought the book was going to wrap up happily, everything falls apart. Elizabeth and Will are married in a secret ceremony, however, as they attempt to make their escape back to California, they are discovered and Will is shot and killed. Penelope discovers from Lina that Henry and Diana have been having an affair, and uses that information to blackmail Henry into marrying her. Henry, who does not want his affair with Diana exposed for fear that it will ruin her, agrees to marry Penelope. Diana is naturally devastated upon learning the news, and the Holland sisters are left to consul each other. Diana still believes that Henry loves her, and Elizabeth vows to help her get him back.
Next Book: Envy