Beautiful Days: A Bright Young Things Novel – Anna Godbersen
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Release Date: 1st September 2011
It’s the last summer of the jazz age and the bright young things of New York are revelling in beautiful days and glittering nights.
Letty Larkspur has shaken off her small town origins and is set to chase her Broadway dream no matter what the cost.
Cordelia Grey is reeling from the tragedy that’s befallen her new-found family but she won’t let it hold her back.
Astrid Donal is leading a dazzling life but her liason with a gangster could threaten everything she holds dear.
The latest book in the addictive Bright Young Things series.
I’m a huge fan of Anna Godbersen’s The Luxe series and so I keep expecting the same sparkle from her latest series Bright Young Things. But for me, neither Bright Young Things nor Beautiful Days have hit the mark so far.
There was a sense of scandal and naughtiness in The Luxe series that this series seems to be missing. There are of course the familiar themes of forbidden love and rebelling against your family but transported to the freedom and flightiness of 1920s New York it doesn’t quite work in the same way. I’m not really sure why as I love this period. The glamour, the decadence and the sense of a changing world, especially for women, against the glitzy backdrop of the city that never sleeps is utterly enthralling. I also love the world of the Prohibition, bootlegging and speakeasies because it’s SO far from my life and it seems like a hell of a lot of fun!
My favourite character in this series is most definitely Letty. I am a sucker for the underdog who ends up on top. There were many moments in Beautiful Days where I just wanted to give her a huge hug because nothing seemed to go the way she deserved. I have to admit to growing to love Astrid even more. There’s just something about her view of the world that’s sweetly naive without being annoying and I love it. Cordelia, however, is another story. She became very selfish and spoilt in this instalment of the series and I found it rather difficult not to get angry at her.
And then there are the boys that keep the minds of Astrid, Letty and Cordelia very occupied: Charlie, Grady and Max. I was very, very pleased to see Grady and Max again. They are slightly unusual love interests, especially with Max’s reserved personality and a few secrets that I really didn’t expect from him, and it really adds a nice dynamic to the story and makes for some very interesting relationships. But it was Charlie who caused me the most issues in Beautiful Days. One moment he was sweet and kind and the next he was consumed with blind fury! I felt for poor Astrid. Though with the last time we saw him in the novel I can say for sure that it was the sweet side I was left thinking off. Unusually for me, two very minor male characters caught my attention: Danny and Victor, two of Charlie’s men. I think there’s a lot more to them than just being Charlie’s muscle and I really hope they get a bit more exposure in the rest of the series.
Though not my favourite novel of Anna Godbersen’s, I really enjoyed Beautiful Days and I’m looking forward to the next instalment of Astrid, Letty and Cordelia’s stories.
A huge thank you to Penguin for providing a review copy.