Penny Vincenzi, master of the contemporary blockbuster, returns with a moving, engaging portrait of people coping with a notorious financial disaster and its unpredictable emotional repercussions.
Set during the boom-and-bust years of the 1980s, An Absolute Scandal follows the lives of a group of people drawn together by their mutual monetary woes when the great financial institution Lloyd's undergoes a devastating downturn. For Nigel Cowper, this means the destruction of his family business; his wife, Lucinda, is willing to do everything she can to help him--except give up her irresistible lover. The powerful, charismatic banker Simon Beaumont and his wife, a highly successful advertising executive, lose everything they worked so hard to acquire; but the ultimate tragedy is something that neither one could have anticipated. The well-to-do are not the only ones suffering: a self-sufficient widow is suddenly deep in debt; a single mother struggles to maintain a comfortable home for her children; and a schoolmaster and his frustrated wife find that financial problems deepen the cracks in their troubled marriage.
As their lives begin a downward spiral, these characters intersect in ways they never saw coming. Written in what has become her signature style of both wit and candor, Penny Vincenzi draws back the curtain and offers an inside view of the greed and social power plays that occur behind the closed doors of upper-crust society . . . where money isn't everything. Sometimes, it's the only thing.
Britain's bestselling Vincenzi (Sheer Abandon, etc.) sets this doggedly optimistic epic at the sunset of Thatcherism, and the bleak economic landscape proves fertile territory for a saga of families whose futures and fortunes become entwined in a court battle with the prestigious London insurer, Lloyds. There's Elizabeth, wife and mother of three with a "Very Big Job" in advertising; her charming husband, Simon, a banker with an eye for the ladies; posh Lucinda, who falls for working-class Blue and then risks everything to save her ex's fortune; Debbie's frustrated by her insensitive husband, Richard, afraid of her formidable mother-in-law and devoted to her three kids; and reporter Joel, who helps bring a Lloyds scandal to light and falls in love with one of its victims. Vincenzi deftly imbues the "Greed Decade" with all the twisty turns of an overheated soap--couples trapped by boredom, wives tortured by infidelity, singles hamstrung by convention, children buffeted by circumstance. The general stiff-upper-lipped attitude may sound tinny to American ears (even the Yankees sound like Brits-in-training), but this chickensian drama delivers all the goods required for a sizzling summer read. (June) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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June 08, 2008
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