Following on the heals of Godbersen’s delightfully trashy novel The Luxe, Rumors continues the stories of several Manhattan socialites at the very end of the nineteenth century. It is also delightful, decently-written trash.
Sometimes, that is just what I need.
Unlike its predecessor, this volume is a bit scattered. The characters who were so deeply enmeshed in each others’ lives and troubles were pulled apart by the events of the first book, so this time their concerns are less shared and even the social events rarely include the entire cast of main characters. On the other hand, while the villainess remains one-dimensional, it’s rather fun to watch her try to act good, chaste, and well-behaved. Plus, there are pretty things (dresses, accoutrements, people) under discussion, emotional intensity of both good and bad varieties, and Victorian-era snarkiness.
Best of all, she ends it by raising the stakes not once but twice, and bringing those scattered characters back to a more focused point just in time to convince me that yes, I will read the third book.