Anna Godberson returns to the gilded world of The Luxe with her third novel, Envy. Envy picks up where Rumors left off and continues the back-stabbing, political adventures (and scandals) of a group of young socialites in turn-of-the-century New York.
Penelope successfully blackmailed Henry into marrying her at the end of Rumors, but the marriage is loveless. Henry still loves young Diana, who reciprocates his feelings in a tense, forbidden romance. Diana’s sister Elizabeth mourns the loss of her husband Will, and is forced to make a startling decision about her future. Meanwhile, Carolina’s star continues to rise due to her relationship with Penelope, but her good fortune starts to run out due to unexpected happenings.
This time around, there is considerably more focus on Penelope, whom I loved to hate, Diana, whom I started to genuinely root for and Carolina, whose sudden rise to power makes the series even more compelling. As opposed to both previous novels, Elizabeth and Henry were somewhat minimized which, I think, enriched the story. But every time these two characters came to the forefront, they added more fuel to the plot without unneeded fluff.
Envy takes The Luxe series to a completely new level. While it took me a little while to become engaged in the past two novels, Envy had me from the very beginning and wouldn’t let me go until the end-of-your-seat conclusion (warning: the ending has a big “To Be Continued” afterward, so if you don’t like cliffhanger-style endings, you may want to wait for the next book before reading this one).
Compared to the previous novels, Envy is filled with non-stop action, ferocious power games and great characters that had me flipping pages and left me ready to run out to the bookstore when the final book in the series, Splendor, comes out.