Rumors" by Anna Godbersen
"Rumors" is the second in a series of teen romance novels set in 1899 Manhattan. The women are beautiful, rich & young, the darlings of the social scene.
We follow the lives of the same characters presented to us in book one, Penelope, nuveau rich and cunning. Diana, from an old family but on the verge of destitution, Elizabeth, secretly living with her former servant/lover in California after faking her death, Carolina, a servant girl with aspirations of granduer, and Henry, the male figure that in one way or another unites them all.
I didn't care for the style of the first few chapters which, being the burden of the second novel in a series, revisited many of the events of book one to bring the uninitiated reader up to date. Somehow I think this needs to be avoided to the extent it was used. If a reader were to pick up this book without first reading "Luxe" then they simply need to read "Luxe" to get up to speed and the author can stop boring me with repetitous details.
The other fault I find with the writing of this story, both in book one and book two, is the time frame of the events. On one had the author will refer to events "several months" in the past and yet in reality is refering to October while it's currently Christmas time, barely two months. And being Christmas time, even the current events are much too swiftly occuring to be believable.
Putting my peeves aside, the book was a fun read, however a bit drawn out. I surely thought the character of Carolina would have been more substantial for the effort of writing her into the story. Maybe time will tell with her story in book three. As for this book, she was the servant girl in love with the servant boy, Will, who ran away with Elizabeth. She thought her only failure in capturing his interest was in being less than Elizabeth was in her social standing. But once she felt she could honestly call herself a lady, she decided being with Will would be a step backwards after all.
Henry is the pivot for which Diana and Penelope revolve around. He seems to have finally fallen in love (rather than lust) and desires a real relationship with Diana. His previous engagement to Diana's sister Elizabeth, who is believed to be dead, prevents their love. Meanwhile, Penelope has always desired Henry and helped Elizabeth fake her death to be with Will and freeing Henry up for herself. Who will win? Will it be the sweet love of Henry & Diana or will it be the cunning of Penelope? One of these two ladies is married to Henry by the end of the book.
For me, I am moving away from Gossip Girl circa 1899 for a while and partaking in some non-fiction. Next up - "The River of Doubt" by Candice Millard