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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure intelligent escapism
I was surpised to read such mixed reviews of this novel. Some of the criticisms I agree with - there are some proof reading errors, and Vincenzi is not at her most convincing when writing dialogue for the supposedly working class characters (that is also true of Jilly Cooper). Part of the fun of reading books like this is you set aside such thoughts and absorb yourself in...
Published on 14 Nov. 2007 by Roadrunner

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars irritating
I read this book on holiday and was intrigued enough to keep going to the bitter end (though I started skipping towards the end as it lost its lustre), so for that two stars. It's a great plot idea and it all started out very well but it was spoilt as others have said by a) the incredible poshness of all the characters goshing and gollying and frightfully and awfulling -...
Published on 27 May 2008 by Baffled


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure intelligent escapism, 14 Nov. 2007
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Hardcover)
I was surpised to read such mixed reviews of this novel. Some of the criticisms I agree with - there are some proof reading errors, and Vincenzi is not at her most convincing when writing dialogue for the supposedly working class characters (that is also true of Jilly Cooper). Part of the fun of reading books like this is you set aside such thoughts and absorb yourself in the lives of the rich and glamorous. I think her characterisation is fantastic on the whole, particularly of women. Almost all of the female main characters in her books are strong, brave, feisty and intelligent. I also thought the Lloyds scandal was a good choice of subject, it really sparked my interest in a way that a dryer book would not have. I now know what 'reinsurance' means, so I have learnt something! Overall although I thought this was her best yet.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finance Saga, 29 April 2007
By 
Rhiannon (Walsall, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Hardcover)
As a huge fan of the Spoils of Time saga by Vincenzi I couldnt wait to start this new book.

The best assessment i can give is it is v good in parts but overall not her best work.

I think one of the problems being the main characters who 'suffer' are all Lloyds names with considerable amounts of wealth therefore the sympathy levels are not too high to start with.Vincenzi does build the story well and halfway through you do indeed have considerable empathy with the main characters and their misfortune.

She has obviously researched Lloyds and the financial world of the eighties with great detail and this certainly shows.

It is a 700 page novel and for the first 500 pages i was hooked , i thought the last third of the novel was overly long and the way some of the plots were concluded slightly dubious and at times unbelievable.

Overall i certainly enjoyed the novel and its vivid portrayal of recent history.As family sagas go its entertaining and informative, however when the main event of the book happens off page (a vincenzi device)it can be frustrating and plot devices are too contrived.

Overall a good holiday read , but maybe 200 pages needlessly too long.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Scandal, 18 Nov. 2007
By 
D. T. Doyle (Kent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Paperback)
I totally disagree with the previous reader - I have just finished this book, being virtually unable to put it down. As in her other books, Penny draws you in gradually, her characters become like part of your own family. Yes, it was a long book (and too cumbersome to read in the bath!), but what a read! Slightly disappointed that I have read all the others and now have to wait for a new PV novel!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Great Read!, 11 Oct. 2009
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Paperback)
'An Absolute Scandal' is a classic Penny Vincenzi read, set in the 80s and full of upper-class characters, yet still a great, page turner with great characters and a well-researched plot line.

Centred around a group of Lloyds 'Names' who have been flung together to fight against losing their wealth - each member of this group consider that they have been swindled by Lloyds syndicates and duped into becoming 'Names'. It has become apparant that their investment is not as safe as it was always assumed and that Lloyds have covered up the losses they have made due to asbestosis claims.

It is so clear that Penny Vincenzi has done so much research into the events of this time, and although the ordinary everyday reader may not initially feel sympathy for the rich upper-class who lose their money, their individual stories show that these are in fact, real human beings who have been a victim of dubious selling and misrepresentation.

Penny Vincenzi draws some fabulous characters including some stereotypical upper-class twits, sloane ranger types and genteel widows. I suspect that like most people, I knew very little about the Lloyds fiasco and had no sympathy at all, but after reading this novel I began to realise that there was a lot of human tragedy hidden away behind the headlines. Of course, these characters are not real, and it is the author's aim to make the reader like them - and she suceeds.

A doorstep of a book, with almost 800 pages, but at no time was I bored or fed up with the storyline. It reads at a cracking pace, there is drama, a little romance and some pretty sad and emotional scenes. A perfect holiday read and one I enjoyed very much.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars irritating, 27 May 2008
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Paperback)
I read this book on holiday and was intrigued enough to keep going to the bitter end (though I started skipping towards the end as it lost its lustre), so for that two stars. It's a great plot idea and it all started out very well but it was spoilt as others have said by a) the incredible poshness of all the characters goshing and gollying and frightfully and awfulling - even the teenagers and the allegedly working class characters. It began to read like some kind of Noel Coward pastiche and got silly. Then, the Lloyds law suit was never concluded. What happened? They were obviously all so rich and had created all these crafty loopholes to keep their cash safe that in the end it didn't really matter and that bothered me a lot. Not good enough PV.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff, 30 Nov. 2007
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Paperback)
I thought this book was fab. I really got to know the characters and could hardly bear to put the book down. Having never read this authors books before, I shall look forward to some of her novels in my Christmas Stocking. If anyone can recommend another one she has written please let me know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 15 Jan. 2009
By 
A. Kane "The Dub" (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Paperback)
Well, I am only relatively new to this sort of fiction. My usual fare is Science Fiction and Fantasy, with the occasional historical novel thrown in. So, recently I read An Outrageous Affair on a recommendation, and loved it, so I thought I would read some more of PV, and I decided to give this one a try. To be honest, it was a bit boring. I found I couldn't warm to what I considered as unlikeable characters, who were in a situation that was largely as a result of their own greed and that I really found it hard to feel sympathy for. So, little 'whatshisname' couldn't go to private school anymore? Well, how absolutely awful, he would have to mix with the riff raff state pupils. And 'so and so' would have to sell their country house and get rid of the pony? Well boo hoo. This book and its characters are so far removed from my own life that I just cannot relate to it or their way of life. An Ok book, but disappointing. After reading this, I was thinking of giving up on PV, but decided on one more chance. So I am currently reading Sheer Abandon, now that is how it should be done, riveting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long winded and very disappointing, 31 May 2008
By 
Mrs. S. E. Calladine (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Paperback)
I have never read one of Penny Vincenzi's books before and I won't bother again. It was like a murder mystery (or suicide mystery) that never happened. This business with Lloyds was totally pointless. What was the outcome of that? What about that chap who organised the meeting in the first place (George Meyer). He disappeared as did many other characters, all of who we had to get to know during the book and keep referring to the long list of who the characters were to keep track of things. It was a great let down. I was really annoyed at the end. I was expecting to find something like Elizabeth and Simon had planned his disappearance or that woman at the end who turned up at Court had been plotting with Simon. What a complete let down. And where were all these women that Simon was supposed to have had affairs with? It was all consumed with suggestions that something interesting was going to happen when it didn't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 7 May 2009
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This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Paperback)
This story is centered around a genuine financial crisis in the 80's, and how this drew people together, creating unity, lifelong friendships, and love triangles.

The good thing about Penny Vincenzi is that she has a great talent for engaging the reader. She carefully builds the story of the characters and I found myself compelled to read on. I do feel that the story was predictable in many places, and I was not impressed with Penny's use of stereotypical impressions (I have found these things in her other books). I believe that these stereotypes she presents is due to her lack of understanding of real people living in the real world - the very characters that she is trying to portray. I think that these things made the book a little disappointing. However, I would recommend this book based on the way that Vincenzi draws the reader into the lives of the characters, developing a sense of empathy and feeling for them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Almost) Back on form..., 20 April 2008
By 
LittleReader (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: An Absolute Scandal (Paperback)
I find myself reading a much more varied genre of novels these days, but classic favourites, such as PV, are always warmly welcomed onto my bookshelf. 'An absolute scandal' is no exception. After Sheer Abandon I was wondering whether PV had lost her touch but am pleased to say I enjoyed this epic tale nearly as much as 'The Spoils of Time' trilogy.
After firstly fighting my way through reams of central characters, I found myself quickly immersed in the tale and all 881 pages were devoured with ease. I liked the various family interactions (very Jilly Cooper...), and like I say, though initially confusing, felt it fitted together well on the whole.

My only criticism is that the 'scandal' was never tied up - this bothered me a bit. At the beginning of the book, and certainly dominating the first half, was the plight of the characters as they began to lose everything to Lloyds (and there's only so much sympathy you can give to the rich in terms of losing money) but into the second half and certainly towards the end, the Lloyds lawsuit that was launched never really concluded and instead all the other threads - the interwoven lives of the affected - were tied up. And like I say, this bothered me a bit but not too much as I really enjoyed the story in general.
Certainly worth taking on a long haul to keep you entertained!
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An Absolute Scandal
An Absolute Scandal by Penny Vincenzi (Paperback - 4 Oct. 2007)
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