I’ve been eyeballing Anna Godbersen’s books for awhile now, but my thoughts had always been along the lines of, “Gorgeous girl in a gorgeous dress on the cover, but it’s probably far too girly for my tastes.” But then came Bright Young Things, which tempted me with the tantalizing prospect of historical fiction set in the 1920’s. I loved the idea of flappers, so I snatched some sample chapters at ALA. And began drooling for the final book, which I pounced upon in hardcover as soon as I had the chance.
Bright Young Things sparkles like champagne. Godbersen’s descriptions and dialogue are to die for, creating a vivid world of bootlegger mansions, glittering heiresses, and shadowy speakeasies in which promises are whispered. Small-town girls Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur leave Ohio behind with big dreams for New York City, where wealthy socialite Astrid Donal flits from party to party. There’s a teasing promise at the very beginning of the story: one of the three girls will be famous, one will be married, and one will be dead. This undercurrent of tension runs throughout the book, while fortunes rise and fall, hearts are broken, and the Twenties go out with a bang.
Needless to say, I’m now convinced that I absolutely need to pick up all of Godbersen’s other books. I’m glad I looked beyond the girl in the dress on the cover, because the writing is just as gorgeous within.