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Gifted and Talented

Gifted and Talented [Kindle Edition]

Wendy Holden
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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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
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0755385268
  • Publisher: Review (12 Sep 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,663 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 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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5 of 5 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gifted and Talented 24 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I couldn't get into this book and found it too boring to finish. I'm sure it will appeal to many people, but not me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars light & frothy 7 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you like an easy read with a light content & depth--this is the book for you. It has funny patches but for me they did not "come off"
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and mostly light-hearted 14 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this book.

It's a sort of feminine Tom Sharpe light (as opposed to dark, not a comment on its worth) with faint echoes of Porterhouse Blue, set in a university town full of beautiful and ancient colleges. The action, however, mostly takes place at Branston College, a 1960s concrete monstrosity. With the exception of Olly, a post-graduate who can't find a job to finance him while he writes his novel, the main characters are all newcomers in various states of angst and or despair: Isabel, a brilliant but poor scholar, ripe for exploitation by the rich and lazy; Diana, divorced, betrayed and impoverished by her fraudster husband, now living with her daughter on a rough council estate while she tries to make a living as the Branston College gardener; Richard, the new Master, a neurologist from America, still grieving for his dead wife. These characters are all very engaging and sensitively drawn. The minor characters are drawn with a broader more comic brush: hearts of gold Debs and Shanna-Mae, rich bitch Amber, evil Jasper, ghastly Sara and the rather sweet ineffectual academics, the Stringers.

The storylines weave around each other until they all pull together and tragedy is averted. (Given the cover, I don't think that is too much of a spoiler.)

A quick, amusing and pleasant read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars great summer read
This is a typical Wendy Holden funny romantic and easy to read it's a great summer read that won't disappoint!
Published 26 days ago by L. E. Cooper
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice summer read, but no classic.
I am in that weird in-between stage where I have just finished my exams but haven’t yet graduated university, so I thought this little chick lit would be a perfect fit for me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jennifer May
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't take it seriously.....
This is probably best suited as a light hearted, not to be taken seriously beach read.
The main characters in this book are a bit pathetic and inclined to be annoying. Read more
Published 2 months ago by jg
5.0 out of 5 stars True to life
'Gifted and Talented' is a great read, incorporating University life and also human interest. It's also a romantic and funny novel.
Published 3 months ago by SixtiesSchoolgirl
2.0 out of 5 stars Hummmm
I am so glad I did not pay full price for this. Yes it's chick lit but a little to fluffy and lacking in ommph for me.
Published 3 months ago by tina harris
1.0 out of 5 stars Basic- didn't enjoy it
I had to force myself to finish this book sadly. I found it really basic, full of terrible sit com style jokes and stereotypes.
Published 3 months ago by Sam86
4.0 out of 5 stars great
Wendy Holden is reliable at writing a book with interesting characters and interesting story, often about social climbing, they can be quite farcical, and this one is no different. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Thinker
4.0 out of 5 stars almost back on form
I've read all Wendy Holden's books and loved the early ones with Champagne D'vyne. Haven't really enjoyed the most recent ones. This however was quite enjoyable and often funny. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Honesty and hardworking
This was a nice story with characters you could relate to. At times they made you feel angry with or we're feeling their sorrow and joys. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Owl
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but predictable.
If you want an uncomplicated read to pass the time on holiday, this is for you. Basic plot: several folk who are all decent manage to find love, although distracted by people who... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Cath B
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