Saturday, 22 January 2011

What Happens in Splendor - Anna Godbersen?

This is the fifth (and last) post for Anna Godbersen Week!

(Sorry it's late, I didn't have any time to do it yesterday!)

So, on my Stats for the blog, I see a lot of people searching 'what happens in The Luxe' or 'Rumours' or whatever. And as I ramble on how much I love this series and I did a review on Splendor, the last in the series, they get directed to that.

So, I thought I'd ignore the French Speaking essay I have to write at some point and help all those in want of this.

To see the one from Tuesday on the first novel, The Luxe, click here

To see the one from Wednesday on the second novel, Rumours, click here

To see the one from yesterday on the third novel, Envy, click here



I am going to do this for the story in this novel for each character so I may repeat myself (or not make sense first of all as reading through):
Diana Holland:  Picking off from the end of Envy, the novel starts with Diana, in Cuba, working at a beach bar after being rejected from the army for being a girl. Through, her newspaper friend, she has put out a story that she is in Paris at finishing school. At the bar, she finds she is reunited by accident with Henry, who she came looking for. They return to the ship he has been living on and sleep together after so many months. The next morning, they wake up to find Henry's boss, Colonel Cooper in the room. He recongises Diana immediately and has them both sent back to New York, fearing for his own career and knowing that Henry hated his job. Diana returns home and is punished by her mother by having her aunt go everywhere with her as chaperone. Elizabeth is also told to keep an eye on Diana.
    She also finds out that Penelope has been meeting with the Prince of Bavaria and in spite, feeds pieces of information to the newspaper annoymously. When she goes to visit Elizabeth, she tells her to run away with Henry as she will never be together with him in the city and if Penelope is around. Diana asks Henry who agrees. Until something terrible happens and the plans are delayed as well as the gossip of them eloping running around New York's society. Henry comes to the Holland's place and tells Diana he wishes to marry her. Diana, delighted, agrees to run away with him, saying she will meet him at the port to go to Paris together - the city of love. However, Henry recieves the note late and has to run to the port finding Diana and proposing to her and telling her how much he loves her. Diana is overjoyed but dismayed as he explains he has to stay in New York. She admits that she doesn't want to be seen as the tramp or whore in society and that his place is here, in New York. Diana wants to go to Paris, away from everything and she tells Henry, she will always remember him as her first love and that he shall love again. They depart passionally and the novels ends as Diana goes on the boat to Paris and away from Henry.
Elizabeth Holland: She is enjoying the newly wed wife status of Snowden and the propsect of having a stable life for her future child. However, a note is delivered from a mencing stranger to Snowden, when he is not there. The note soon reveals that her father had secured a lot in California (for suspected oil) for Will and Elizabeth (supposedly, he knew about their relationship?). Elizabeth confronts Snowden with the note and finds out that Snowden, her father's best friend, had killed her father with Klondike, had Will killed and only married Elizabeth to secure the lot. Seeing that Elizabeth knows, he sedates her with strong drugs continually so she will not tell. When Teddy Cutting, back from war, comes to visit, she tries to ask for help but Snowden quickly sedates her again. One night, she manages to leave the confines of her room to find Snowden on the stairwell. He hears her and moves to attack her but Elizabeth pushes him away and down the stairs to his death.
   The police arrive the next day and start an investigation. Teddy arrives in the midst of Elizabeth about to admit to the murder when he intervenes and explains that Snowden merely fell down the stairs. However, Elizabeth recongises one of the policemen to be the stranger who delivered the note and as the man who killed Will. She tells them to leave otherwise she will expose him to the police force. Teddy, afterwards, brings her to his home and she reveals the story of Will and herself. Both of them declare their love for each other and share a kiss. The novel ends with them married and naming Will's child, Will and them, carrying on to have several children of their own.
Penelope Schoonmaker (nee Hayes): Society is wondering why Penelope is out and about while her husband is at war and why she has recovered quickly from her 'miscarriage'. Penelope is at a party in Carolina Broad's home when she sees the Prince of Bavaria. She notes that both of them have so much in common and goes to dance with him which scandalizes many of the guests. The Prince seems to be attracted to her and regularly sends her flowers. As a result, Penelope becomes overwelmed by the Prince.

    When Henry returns, she continues to torment him with her knowledge of his and Diana's relationship. At a party, she threatens Henry once more to reveal the relationship to the public and Henry leaves her to go to his father. Penelope is quickly distracted by the arrival of the Prince. The two go to a deserted corridor and kiss, although roughly and unlovingly. Penelope dismisses this and continues to chase after him anyway. After William Schoonmaker's funeral, she and the prince have a one night stand in his hotel room. Henry wishes to divorce Penelope and she pays it no attention. She sends all of her things to her former home on Fifth Avenue and goes back to the hotel where the prince is staying at. She is informed by the hotel's staff that the prince left earlier that day for Bavaria. Outraged, Penelope begins to collapse and is humiliated when she hears one of the society ladies say 'the fallen Mrs. Schoonmaker'. She returns home in self-pity and humiliation but is surprised to find Henry there. She asks Henry why he is still there and Henry says Diana left without him. She becomes surprisingly sympathetic and comforts him. Henry asks her where the prince is and she tells him the prince used her. Henry remarks that they both made a mess of everything and which is why they deserve each other. Penelope agrees and they both drink to broken hearts

Henry Schoonmaker:  His father stationed him in Cuba, rather than the war zone because the place less at risk for war. Henry spends his days as a 'soldier' yachting with his superior, Colonel Cooper. He is reunited with Diana Holland, his great love in a bar where Diana works. They both return to his ship and sleep together. Colonel Cooper recognizes Diana and has them both sent back to New York. Upon his return, he is greeted as a war hero by society. He is disgusted that his father put out an image of him being a war hero while he was off in Cuba. Penelope, again,  threatens to make his and Diana's relationship public, although Henry takes no notice. Diana tells Henry she wants to come away with him in order for them to be together. Henry finally summons up his courage to stand up to his father.

     At a party, he tells Penelope he wants to divorce her. When the prince arrives, he notices her distraction and goes off to his father. He finds him and tells him everything about his and Diana's relationship and that they are going to elope. Schoonmaker Sr. is severely shocked and dies of a heart attack. Witnesses to Henry's declaration spread the story and society looks down on Diana. After the funeral, his father's will is read and states that the whole estate belongs to Henry. Henry goes to Diana to tell her that he has inherited his father's fortune and that he wants to marry her which she accepts. He, later,  receives her note a day late but just manages to catch her. He proposes to her and an ecstatic Diana accepts. But when he says they will have to stay in New York, she says she wants to go to Paris and  that Henry belongs in New York and that he will fall in love again one day. She also tells him he will always be her first love. Before Henry can object, the boat starts to leave. He and Diana have one last kiss and she tells him goodbye.
Henry returns home resigned and miserable. He finds Penelope in the same state and they comfort each other. At the end of the novel, they both drink to broken hearts.

Carolina Broad: Carolina  is enjoying a life she once thought impossible. She is in love with Leland Bouchard, a wealthy man who lives down the street. Although she is living in pure bliss, there is a threat to her glamorous life: Tristan, a former Lord & Taylor salesman who still has feelings for her. He tells her he is unhappy that she gets everything she wants while he remains empty handed. He reminds Carolina that were it not for him, she would never be where is she is now. He also threatens to expose her true origins to the public unless he is paid handsomely for what her did for her. Even after Carolina pays him, he still stalks her wherever she goes, especially when she is Leland Bouchard. When she is about to be exposed by Tristan, she dismisses him and Leland warns him never to come near her again.

     Carolina accidentally confesses her feelings to Leland and he says that he feels the same way. He invites her to meet his family and she nervously agrees. When she meets the Bouchard family, they love her instantly. Leland arrives late and proposes to Carolina in front of his family. Wedding plans are made and Carolina invites her sister Claire to the wedding. On the day of the wedding, Tristan visits her again and threatens her. Leland bursts into the room and begins to beat up Tristan. When he is about to give the final blow, Carolina screams for him to let Tristan go. Tristan leaves and Leland demands to know why Tristan is following them. She tells him the whole story and Leland leaves. Afterwards, the wedding is cancelled.
Leland returns and tells her what he thinks. He does not care whether she was a maid or not, but he was angered when he knew she lied to him about being an only child and that she didn't know Tristan. He tells her needs to be away for her for a while. Carolina is hurt and begs him to stay, saying she loves him. Leland responds by saying ' And I loved you'
Word gets around that Carolina is not what everyone thought she was. One paper describes her act as the beginning of an age of wealth without class. She is devastated by the turn of events and Leland's departure and isolates herself in her home. Claire goes to her sister's home, hoping to comfort Carolina. But the sight of Claire makes Carolina even more ashamed because she had asked Claire to attend the wedding as a maid. Claire comforts Carolina and tells her that she cannot let what people think get in her way. She also says that the paper said that Carolina's act, although deceitful, would be the beginning of the future. Carolina brightens a bit at this. The novel ends with Claire joining Carolina's live style and them becoming the most famous sisters of society - it is never mentioned if Leland returns or not.


  1. I loved all the luxe books and im so happy you wrote this review. Unfortunately I always wanted Elizabeth and Will and Diana with Henry. So I was disaapointed that none of them worked out. (sigh)

  2. Oh thank you :) I know I think all fans of this series wanted them to it all to end happily like that :(



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