Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review of Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Bright Young Things is the first in a new series by Anna Godbersen, the author of The Luxe series. I loved The Luxe series, and so that's what led to me to read Bright Young Things.


The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star…

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart.

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

Bright Young Things opens with a prologue which sets the scene, introduces the characters, and foreshadows their exploits. In those three beginning pages, I was reminded of why I loved her previous series so much. Anna's writing style is beautiful, lyrical, and feels like it's written in the 1920s rather than 2000s. The setting was vividly described, felt well researched and planned, and made me long to go back to the jazz age.

The main characters, Letty, Cordelia and Astrid, are each so different from one another and are all endearing for different reasons. Their personalities are clearly defined and make for an interesting read.
The way the characters' lives intertwined and how they forged new alliances between each other/broke off old ones made the story compelling.

The plot proved true to Anna Godbersen's usually plot style - she doesn't let anything good happen to the characters without something bad to even it out. It made for a captivating and suspenseful storyline.

I give Bright Young Things a 4 out of 5, and look forward to the sequel, Beautiful Days (September 20, 2011). I also hold out hope that since Anna's series are gradually being set later (The Luxe in 1899, and Bright Young Things in 1929) then eventually, we may get a contemporary novel from her.