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Gifted and Talented [Kindle Edition]

Wendy Holden
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
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Book Description

Top Ten bestselling author Wendy Holden launches a new series with Gifted and Talented, the most witty and romantic campus novel since David Nicholls' Starter for Ten.

Can gardener Diana win the heart of Richard, the recently widowed Master of Branston College? Ideal for fans of Catherine Alliot and Jenny Colgan.

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Product Description


The always witty Wendy Holden is back with a fun yet touching tale about class and privilege (Good Housekeeping, Book of the Month)

Wendy Holden's sure-to-be-bestseller is smart, sharp and hugely entertaining (Daily Mail)

Chirpy, saucy and funny, this is the perfect novel to curl up with now that the evenings are drawing in (Bella)

A delight ... packed with hilarious situations ... and there's plenty of romance (Woman)

'Wendy's writing is brilliant' (Jilly Cooper)

'One of the country's greatest comic authors' ( Daily Mirror )

'So funny and readable you worry about the calorie content' ( The Sunday Times )

Book Description

Wendy Holden, Sunday Times Number One bestselling author of The Wives of Bath and Bad Heir Day, is back with a witty and romantic new series set around a university campus.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4437 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Review (12 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,000 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Wendy Holden was a journalist on The Sunday Times, Tatler and The Mail on Sunday before becoming a full-time author. She has written nine novels, all Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. She is married and has two children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chick lit? 21 Nov. 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is an enjoyable enough read.

At the start Isabel travels from Scotland to an ancient university in England (the direction seems like Oxford but the description of the place is more like Cambridge). This is where my first annoyance happened, when Olly describes her as a "genius" for having got in from a Comprehensive. Sorry but a lot of people get into both Oxford and Cambridge from Comprehensives (and did so even back in the 1980s).
Next, I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be set in the present day or back in the 1980s. If the later I could almost forgive the lack of fund raising skills by the college, and a bit more of Isabel's naivety. If it is supposed to be present day - well I can't forgive either (my old college has been using students to phone alumni for years now). The finances do seem to hint at present student funding, but don't seemed to have been researched enough.
Next there is a supposed "it" girl, Amber. A kind of "Paris Hilton" goes to college. Okay except Porter's I knew wouldn't turn a "blind eye" to rule breaking even if you were the Crown Prince of Japan. I also wonder how she would have got the grades to get in etc. (Plus at Oxford she could have been sent down before matriculating for bringing "the gown into disrepute".)
Next there is Jasper de Borchy, whose older brother has a name that seems almost libellous to someone I know. He is arrogant, powerful and a member of a "Bullingdon Club" type society, but again its depiction is pretty defamatory.
Then there is the other romance, between my two favourite characters; Diana the college gardener and Richard the College head. However this annoyed me, as Wendy doesn't allow herself enough room to develop the characters realistically; its a bit too fairy tale ish.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cliched and hackneyed 9 Dec. 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Wendy Holden's latest novel is set in a city that is an uncomfortable mixture of Oxford and Cambridge, and follows the stories of Isabel, a shy fresher, Olly, an unemployed graduate, Diana, newly divorced and working as a college head gardener, and Richard, the newly-appointed Master of Branston College. Holden seems to be attempting a mix of romcom and social satire, but this novel fell flat for me. Although it's readable and the characters are likeable, it wasn't witty or realistic enough to be truly engaging.

Having spent both my undergraduate and postgraduate years at Cambridge, I'm always keen to read a novel set in an ancient university, and there is certainly plenty to satirise about the Cambridge lifestyle. However, Holden's heavy-handed cliches miss the mark. The Oxbridge she depicts seems to be stuck in an alternate 1950s, where only rich posh boys or poor, deserving comprehensive students attend, and even then the two types of students are segregated into old and new colleges. This is of course rubbish. Although it would be wrong to say there are no issues with social class at Oxbridge, the fuss made about Isobel getting in from a comprehensive is inaccurate and misleading, and there's no reason why somebody from a state school wouldn't attend one of the ancient colleges, much as I enjoyed the depiction of Branston (which I envisaged as Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge). The stereotypes persist throughout the non-Oxbridge sections of the novel, with working-class characters patronisingly sketched as 'salt of the earth', 'heart of gold' types, while posh characters (except of course Diana) are entitled, screeching harpies.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight and cliched, but readable. 11 May 2015
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I read "Gifted and Talented" under the impression that it was a story about Oxbridge students - as a Cambridge alumnus, I thought it might be a pleasant reminiscence of my student days.

However, it's not really about student life, and given that the author also attended Cambridge, it's disappointing that she presents such a stereotypical view of it; every character is a cliche, from the naive first-time-away-from-home heroine to the boorish upper-class male students. It reflects the view of Oxbridge given by the tabloid press - drunken hoorays behaving outrageously clashing with olde-worlde teaching and architecture. The majority of the book is actually about a divorcee who has come to work at the University and her burgeoning romance with the widowed college Master, not to mention her friendship with the salt-of-the-earth neighbours on the council estate where she lives and the unwelcome intrusion of a privileged gold-digging ex-neighbour. Yet more cliches, unfortunately.

This is one of those books where you know the ending before you start; it's quite clear who is going to end up with whom, so the only question is by what path they will get there. The blurb notes the author as writing comedy and romance, but there's nothing particularly amusing here - Tom Sharpe this is not - and if you're looking for Fifty Shades Of Grey on Campus, you'll be disappointed as well. It's middle-of-the-road fiction with a cast of caricatures and a plot that is as lightweight as it is predictable.

All that said, the writing style is actually pretty good - it's well-written and readable, and I was to some extent drawn in in spite of myself. If you're looking for something easy to read on the beach or on a long flight, you could do a lot worse.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Comedy with some serious undertones........................
'Gifted and Talented' by Wendy Holden is a romp through academia that I thoroughly enjoyed. Jasper de Borchy is the son of a newspaper magnate - handsome, charming, and utterly... Read more
Published 1 month ago by laineyf
1.0 out of 5 stars Give it a miss
Disappointing. I am sorry, but it has to be said. So I have said it.

This book is set amid the 'dreaming spires' of Oxford, but as a Cambridge graduate myself and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe
1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointed with this book
very disappointed with this book. normally I'm a huge Wendy Holden fan but felt her heart wasn't in this one as it was not up to her normal high standard of storytelling. Read more
Published 5 months ago by AC of Surrey
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, easy read
This is a very breezy and easy-to-read book. The plot centres on a new university year at a fictional (Branston )college in Oxford. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sunglasses
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Can't remember!
Published 5 months ago by Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars ... have reD all of Wendy holders books and always enjoyed them, this...
I have reD all of Wendy holders books and always enjoyed them, this was good, in her typical style, some slow bits though.
Published 6 months ago by REBECCA BROWN
4.0 out of 5 stars A light-hearted satisfying romance
Enjoyable rom com which gathered pace towards the end, the way the characters were described made you care what happened to them
Published 6 months ago by C T REEVE
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun as are all Holden`s books
Great fun as are all Holden`s books. She gets better and better. Her new Branston serie should be a winner.
Published 7 months ago by catherine koppana
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little story
Nice little story, well worth a read.
Published 7 months ago by LizzyD
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Wendy Holden brilliant as always
Published 7 months ago by Jeanette Wilkinson
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