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on 15 January 2010
Twenty years after her husband Ed dies in a car accident, Alberta Granger finally feels as if her life is stable. She has two fantastic children and has been with Tony for almost twenty years. Alberta's daughter, Hannah, also feels as if her life is great: she has a fab job in London, she has great friends and an even better boyfriend. Phillipa, Alberta's mother, has an idyllic life, living with her former Government minister husband and the only thing that concerns her is the greenfly on her roses. However when Phillipa's husband dies in dubious circumstances, all three womens lives are about to change. As scandal upon scandal comes out of the woodwork, do the three women have what it takes to come out of the whole thing stronger?

The opening of the book seemed to be very distant. For the first 70 or so pages I didn't feel anything for the characters and it was written in such a style that I couldn't learn anything from the characters themselves apart from what I was told. I persevered with the book as it wasn't bad and I found that as the book wore on, I did feel more for the characters and I did find the plot more interesting. It takes just over 100 pages for the main plot to start so that could be what attributed to my dislike of the beginning of the novel. After Alberta's father dies, the plot picks up the pace and I found myself really getting into the book.

The scandals in question aren't so scandalous in this day and age - after all, there are scandals coming out left, right and center about politicians and their dirty little secrets every single day. I can, however, see how they were scandalous to Alberta and her family. Debby Holt's books are seemingly about well-off-ish families who seem to have an air about them, so Alberta and her family would find the death of Lord Trussler rather scandalous. I also suppose that how scandalous the revelations are depend on your interpretation of the word scandal and how something like Lord Trussler's death ranks on your scandal scale. Debby's writing is really quite good. After Lord Trussler dies I was sucked in quite easily and I was eager to see how everything would settle once the scandalous revelations died down. The book was a little slow-paced at times but that wasn't really a huge problem. It suited the style of the book.

The ending surprised me. I figured it was going to end one way and it ended a completely different way. I think I preferred the ending that happened rather than the ending I thought I wanted, it was quite cleverly done by Debby to make me change my mind about how I wanted the book to end. Recipe For Scandal was a very enjoyable read, and you really should persevere for the first 100 or so pages, however it's probably one you can only read the once. I don't think it could be one I'd read again and again. It is well worth a read though!
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I really enjoyed this tale of family secrets and relationships. It is set in the world of politics but fortunately doesn't dwell too much on that. Alberta is the daughter of a famous politician and the widow of another. She seems to have an ideal life with her partner Tony and their children but it becomes apparent that things are not as they seem - there is the issue of why she and Tony have never married, the torch she still carries for her dead husband, and her polite but distant relationship with her mother who she feels has let her down in the past. When Alberta's father dies in scandalous circumstances it shakes up the whole family and things hidden come to light which completely change the way that Alberta sees her life.

This story concentrates on three women - Alberta, her mother Philippa, and her daughter Hannah. As the secrets are revealed the results have a different effect on each woman and their reactions then have a further effect. Alberta is the key figure holding the book together and at first we see her as strong and capable. It is only as she discovers that her father was not the man she thought he was that we begin to see that the foundations on which she has built her life are shaky and once they collapse she has to rethink everything that she thinks is important.

I really enjoyed this book. Lots of novels are written about the uncovering of family secrets among decidedly middle class families but few are as wittily written as this one. The book engaged me with the characters and made me care about what happened to the family whilst entertaining me with their story. Highly enjoyable.
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on 21 May 2010
Every so often an author writes a poor book and this is it. This is an unpleasant story about an even more unpleasant family. Perhaps there was an attempt to be satirical? If so, it didn't work for me. The only character I liked was Jacob. I think the scandal story, if it had been told from his viewpoint, would have made the book interesting and full of humour. His girlfriend Maud should have had a major role too, especially with a brother named Carton.

There were too many cliches, proof reading/editing mistakes and unlikely scenarios. In particular, a mother staying totally out of contact with her daughter for a whole year following an extremely traumatic event. Sorry, but that was ridiculous and the explanation given for the mother's cold shoulder was even more so.

Sorry, but this book didn't work for me at all.
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on 21 February 2010
I was a little disappointed in this book, the writing seems quite stilted and the characters did not engage me at all. The actual storyline was good, it made a change to have the first party being a flawed character that the reader does not necessarily identify with. I actually found it a stuggle to read to the end as I just was not engaged with it at all.
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on 24 September 2012
I'm surprised by the reviews for this novel. I thought it was lovely. Some readers have said "not really a scandal". Well I think it is - because of who the Trusslers are, despite politicians always surprising us (not!!) by what they get up to. The year-long no contact from mother to daughter, mentioned by other readers, also flummoxed me but the explanation covered it well. As I got nearer the end of this book I was torn between Tony and Daniel; I was unsure of who it was I wanted to see with Alberta. However, come the end, YES! ... the author got it right. This is only the second novel I've read of Debby Holt's and I'll certainly read the others.
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