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Scandalous Risks [Paperback]

Susan Howatch
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.99
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Book Description

25 Mar 2011

Reissue of the author’s most famous and well-loved work, the Starbridge series, six self-contained yet interconnected novels that explore the history of the Church of England through the 20th century.

In 1963, when traditional values are coming under attack, a young woman in her twenties, Venetia Flaxton, becomes disastrously involved with her best friend's father, the powerful, dynamic but ultimately mysterious Dean of Starbridge Cathedral. Yet, as a married man and a senior Churchman, Aysgarth has nothing to offer her but an admiration which spirals out of control into an obsessive love.
As Aysgarth begins to take scandalous risks to further their friendship, pressures rise and the dangers multiply. Venetia finds herself trapped in a desperate web of love and lies from which it seems impossible to escape.

Witty, compassionate and compelling, Scandalous Risks explores not only the reality of sin and the fantasy of sexual obsession, but the overpowering human need for redemption, love and lasting happiness.

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Scandalous Risks + Mystical Paths + Ultimate Prizes
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (25 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006496903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006496908
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 241,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Rich in human interest, sex, scandal, moral crises and a good deal of humour, it is a book to keep you hooked throughout' Sunday Times

'Howatch writes thrillers of the heart and mind … everything in a Howatch novel cuts close to the bone and is of vital concern' New Woman

'A mesmerising storyteller' Daily Telegraph

'One of the most original novelists writing today' Cosmopolitan
'Susan Howatch may well become the Anthony Trollope of the 20th century. Howatch is more than just a novelist of ideas… She is a skilled storyteller who makes the reader wonder and care about her people.' Washington Post

About the Author

Susan Howatch was born in Surrey in England. After taking a degree in law at King's College, London, she emigrated to America where she married, had a daughter, and embarked on her career as a writer. In 1976 she separated from her husband, left America and lived in the Republic of Ireland for four years before returning to England. While living in a flat overlooking Salisbury Cathedral and "trying to hold my divided self together", she found herself inspired by the beauty of the cathedral and became a convert. She wondered if she should continue producing romantic novels. Instead, she wrote the series of six Starbridge novels about the Church of England in the 20th century, all of which reflect her own spiritual crises.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howatch does it again.... 6 Dec 2001
In the fourth of the Starbridge books Howatch does it again - she proves her amazing versatility as a writer of fiction by giving us a completely new character in a completely new voice and a completely new style. It never ceases to amaze me how Howatch, in each case, actually becomes the narrator! Whereas the elderly churchman Jon Darrow of Glamorous Powers (for instance) speaks in a rather conservative, upper class voice, Venetia is racy, witty, full of verve and charm, and it is easy to understand why poor Neville is completely besotted with her.
In this book we have the only female narrator in the entire series, and the only non-clergyman. Venetia is a rebellious society woman who discovers a completely new dimension to herself when she falls in love with her dear "Mr Dean" - Neville Ayesgarth, the married Dean of Starbridge Cathedral. He too is carried away and it is quite alarming how both of they live in a cloud of self-deception as to the nature of their relationship... and more than once while reading this book the Clinton-Lewinsky affair came to my mind - especially when the question arises as to whether or not they have technically committed adultery.
This story takes place in the 60's, and is the first in the second trilogy; the first trilogy was set in the 30's and 40's so now the three major protagonists of those books are a greta deal older. Mr Dean could be Venetia's father, and in fact his daughter is her best friend, which only adds to the delusion (mostly HIS) that the relationship is mainly spiritual in nature.
I feel that of all the Starbridge books, this one works as well as a stand-alone as part of a series, and for anyone who would like a taste of post-saga Howatch but is not quite decided whether or not to plunge into an entire six-book series, I would recommend this one. Another great book for our online discussion group!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing recount of a tragic love story 19 Feb 2000
By A Customer
this is the story of a young woman with multiple "hang ups" falling for a much older man, who obviously is flattered and intrigued. It is marvelously told, describing the obsession and ultimate breakdown of their impossible relationship. The background is the swinging 60's in England, against the background of the Anglican Church. It is a well written account of the pain and passion of unsuitable love. I reccommend it very highly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very scandalous 25 Nov 2009
Just finished reading it a brilliant book by brilliant author anyone enjoying the politics of
the Church of England should read this
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. 16 May 2014
By Bridget
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read some in the series by Susan Howatch, I intended to read them all. Parts were very spiritual and I lied them. The supplier and condition of the book were very good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The third in the series 12 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As all the books in this series this was a brilliant read. This book does stand alone but it is also nice to meet the subjects of the other two novels in a different context.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Series 5 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am loving each book in this series and feel it is very much to the writer's credit that she can keep me as enthralled in the later volumes than I was at the beginning. I shall very much miss these books once I have completed them all.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Scandalous Risks by Susan Howatch 24 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Same comment as for Mystical Paths as my Kindle refuses to charge up. Would prefer to receive these 2 books in hard copy form.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite authors. 30 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Realistic any true to the times with historically correct references.

A book I really enjoyed but needed plenty of time to really read and digest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Read series 4 times in last 30 yrs.Fabulous
Published 9 days ago by C. Joan Chesworth
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Sorry, didn't really enjoy this read.
Published 2 months ago by stewpot
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This book was one of the star bridge series which gave me a new interest in Christianity. Not preachy, but fascinating.
Published 12 months ago by Sadie Mills
4.0 out of 5 stars Scandalous Risks
I like this book as it is part of a series, that follows peoples lives and that passes through time. Read it if you like Susan Howatch as an author.
Published 15 months ago by Pete
5.0 out of 5 stars Scandalous Risks Susan Howatch
This is one of a series of books centering round a fictitious cathedral and its staff. Anyone involved in the church of England would find them fascinating. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Wratty
4.0 out of 5 stars Scandalous Risks
A good story, but dependent on the reader having some sympathy with The Church of England. It is very good in displaying the variety of the people who staff the church and the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Witchwork
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't put it down!
Susan Howatch is amazing! My garden and housework are forgotten till I've finished each novel. Wish I'd found her long ago.
Published 17 months ago by Irene McLaren
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good story
Another well-thought out, clever story from Susan Howatch in the Starbridge series. I found it rather slow going, but it builds to a surprising climax. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Barbara M
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