I was very satisfied with the final installment of the Luxe saga. While some readers may be disappointed, I believe that the fate of all the characters was very appropriate. Sometimes living happily ever after and getting the girl/guy are mutually exclusive. Godbersen managed to deliver the romance and intrigue we've come to expect from this series, along with historically accurate details. The pace of the book kept me up all night to finish it, and I loved that the author managed to give us a glimpse far into the future in a way that was very natural and unobtrusive - no awkward epilogue. I loved how vivid the author's prose became at the end of the book when she was describing Diana's future. The reader really senses that there is a blossoming going on, a new and exciting adventure about to begin, without giving us too much or too little.
***Spoilers*** - Meant for people who've already read it!
I know that some readers may have been disappointed that Henry and Diana did not end up together. However, Diana had a greater destiny in store for her that New York simply couldn't contain. Her future just couldn't have included New York drawing rooms and personal fulfillment, and that's what she really deserved. Likewise, Henry would not have been content in Paris, nor could Diana have reached her full potential as an artist with Henry there. Left at the helm of the family business, Henry was too old fashioned to leave New York behind, and with his father gone he had nothing left to rebel against and run from. The characters were very young, and Diana deserves her fantastic future, filled with more adventure. I always felt that Henry wasn't the right choice for her to spend the rest of her life with. He seemed spineless at times because he was just too conventional at heart.
Yes, Penelope and Henry do end up together, which doesn't seem fair - after all her scheming Penelope keeps her money and her title as Mrs. Schoonmaker. However, the book makes it clear that neither are really happy. Their marriage and even their infidelity is a convention neither of them can stand to be without.
(Seriously, major spoiler in next paragraph - do not read if you haven't read the book!)
However, Elizabeth finds true happiness, that is, what happiness means to her. For her sister, marriage to a nice guy, kids, and parties wouldn't work, but Elizabeth is completely content. She followed her heart to Will, and after again having to trust and rely on herself with Snowden, she follows her heart again to Teddy. It seems to be that one of the themes of the book is that characters that are true to themselves succeed. Elizabeth shows great strength, and she is finally rewarded. The news that Will was murdered comes as quite a shock and re-opens wounds, but Teddy's generous presence soothes things over. She was lucky to find (yet another) guy willing to raise another man's child as his own, and we're glad to see them happy.
Speaking of truth, while Carolina loses Leland, she finally has to face the truth and in doing so corrects the wrongs she's committed against Claire. I always thought it was deplorable that Carolina never provided for her sister, but once she has nothing left to hide, she can make it up to her. She may not have her husband, but the author makes it clear that Carolina and Claire have a happy future.
I only had a few problems with the book, the main one being that I simply didn't understand how Teddy could have perceived that Elizabeth was in danger but still waited several days to act. I also have never understood how Carolina justified to herself coming into millions and not providing for her sister.
Overall, this was an excellent end to the series, with poetic justice meted out all around. It was happy without sparing the characters, which is hard for an author to accomplish.