Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Honestly, I'm now going to own my fan status of Anna Godbersen.  For whatever reason, Godbersen captures stories about time periods that I love, and all set in New York City.  When I heard about the release of Bright Young Things months and months ago, I was the first on hold for the book at my local library.  Sadly, they can take awhile to order and process new books, but I did finally get my hands on it and did my best to read when I had the chance. 

Anna Godbersen first started with her Luxe series, about  a privileged society in turn of the century New York City.  Insert insane expectations, disassociated parents, and unrequited love and you've got the makings of a great, dramatic novel that is the Luxe series.  (Here is my last review of Splendor.)  Thankfully, I was able to bring my copy of Bright Young Things with me to Hawaii for Christmas.  I had started it already, but just needed some uninterrupted time to finish it and Christmas was the perfect time to do just that!

Synopsis:  Centered on New York City at the time of the flappers and prohibition, two young ladies run from their lives in Ohio to try to find themselves and their new lives in the big city.  Letty Larkspur thinks she can make it big as a singer and performer, while Cordelia Grey wants to find the infamous father who didn't know she was alive.  Even in 1929, the big city was truly the big time and both girls must hit it big either on their own hard work or luck. 

Review:  Bright Young Things was one of those reads that I felt had to be taken in all at once.   Because the chapters are usually broken up by different story lines, about different characters, it's easy to get lost and have to read for awhile to get back into the swing of things.  There were times that I mixed up the characters Letty and Cordelia, which might sound strange, but I did have to flip back a few times to make sure I knew which character was which.  Once the story gets going, it's amazing how many directions it heads into.  It really did keep me moving though the story at a pretty quick pace.

Although the story moves along in several directions, I'm still shocked at how much space was covered, how much things changed, and yet how little time that passed!  Having said that, I wondered how plausible was some of the action in the story?  Letty wants to make it big in entertainment, and she makes a great stab at it.  Cordelia wants to meet up with the infamous father she's never known, and she definitely meets him and complications ensue.  I suppose these are all the things that a great, dramatic story are built around.

Regardless of the switching story lines and the dramatic way that the action takes place, I really liked the novel.  There is something about Godbersen's style and voice that has me flipping pages.  For some reason, Godbersen reminds me of Edith Wharton, and not just because they've written about similar themes, but there is something about her descriptions that seem familiar.  In short, the stories are dishy and fun to read.  I'm just thankful we have more to look forward to down the road!

*FTC Disclosure:  This review is based off of a library copy of the novel.


  1. Could there be a more quintessential name for the 1920s than Letty Larkspur?

    I've avoided this books because they sound way soap-opera-y, but your comparison of them to Edith Wharton has me intrigued.

  2. I have been intrigued by the Luxe series for several months and finally treated myself to the first book yesterday. I hope to read it soon - and I hope I become as much of a fan of this author as you are :)

  3. Heidenkind--They are a bit soap-opera like...which I love. :) Honestly though, be careful. I say Edith Wharton because they feel thematically similar. Wharton was a little high drama with her stuff too. I just really like these books, but if you don't like these stories, then I would avoid.

    Molly--I'll have to see what you think. You either like, or you don't. We'll see, but I think they are a nice departure from some of what I've seen (especially from paranormal & dystopian).

  4. I didn't know Godbersen had a new book! I really liked the Luxe series for times when I just needed a thoroughly non-brain-taxing read, and "dishy" is just the perfect word for them. Is this one the first in a new series?

  5. Fyrefly--Yes, and I love it! I can't 100% pinpoint what it is about Godbersen's writing style, but I love it. Yes, this is the first in the series too. Should be a fun read.