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. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age
The Roaring Twenties comes to life on the pages of Anna Godbersen’s book, Bright Young Things. I was excited to read this book simple because I realize that so few books are set in this era. I’ve always loved the fashion of this era, and I even own a cloche hat. My fears that the novel would be all glitter and flash and no soul were soon laid to rest. The characters were fully realized and their struggles, victories and everything in between had me captivated the entire time.
The story follows Cordelia and Letty as they escape Ohio to the streets of New York, Letty with dreams of being a starlet, and Cordelia with even bigger dreams of finding her lost father. The story also follows Astrid, wealthy and restless, who soon crosses paths with Cordelia. The fashion and music of the era, from the speakeasies to fabulous parties thrown during Prohibition set the stage for drama and heartbreak.
Cordelia Grey, the character I least connected with at first, proved to be a strong willed, impulsive and self-confident young woman. Although I didn’t always agree with her actions, I was always impressed with her daring. Letty and Astrid won my heart at first meeting, Charlie took many, many pages before he even made a dent into my affections. But they are all there now. Letty, with her innocence and talent, was the easiest for me to relate to… okay, maybe not the talent part, but while I might long to be as strong willed as a Cordelia, I’m more apt to be a little too trusting and caring, like Letty. I have nothing in common with Astrid, the only one of the main characters born to wealth and privilege, but it was hard not to like her because even though she comes across as shallow at times, she has a sweet heart.
When I read the book I didn’t realize that there was going to be sequel, but it’s only book 1 in a series. I hope to find what became of John, the boy Cordelia leaves behind in Ohio, and of course I want to know more about Good Egg, the tossed out greyhound that Letty and Grady saved from a cruel owner. And although I don’t want to give away any spoilers, there is one character I can’t wait to see brought to justice (or rather, just punishment) for his betrayal and crimes.
Bright Young Things gets a Midnight Book Rating of 11:30pm, and I plan on checking out Godbersen’s other novels as soon as possible.
** I received Bright Young Things through Just Another Book Blog.