Anna Godbersen is a relatively new author; her first books were the Luxe series, which came out a few years ago and which I highly recommend (I suggest you read the Luxe quartet before Bright Young Things. Those are set in 1899). Her most recent books, the Bright Young Things trilogy, are set in 1929 right before the stock market crash and focus on the lives of three girls. Cordelia, a bold orphaned girl is set on finding her father, and thus her identity, in New York. She leaves behind her home in Ohio, her new husband, and an estranged family. Letty, her best friend, goes with her to New York and she is seeking to be a famous singer. Astrid, the New York born socialite only seeks to have fun and keep her boyfriend Charlie around her fingers. At the end of this trilogy (it’s also stated in the beginning of Bright Young Things), one will be famous, one will be married, and one will be dead. Each girl has their own adventures in fame, fortune, love, and fun.
I loved this trilogy and I was rather sad when I finished it. I just couldn’t accept the fact that it was over. Godbersen writes so well, she kept me on my toes during each book. The descriptions played like a movie in my head and I could feel what the characters were feeling as if they were right beside me. The suspense of figuring out which girl would achieve her dreams was killing me.
This trilogy gave me my historical fiction fix and showed me another side to the setting of the The Great Gatsby. You don’t see too much of the 1920s in Gatsby with regards to the parties and the devil-may-care attitude (though it certainly is there). Godbersen gives you a front row seat to the fun, to the bootlegging, to partying, to the materialism. It almost makes you want to be there, until you remember the crash of ’29 and that racism and sexism was still up and kicking.