No Angel by Penny Vincenzi chronicles the lives of the Lyttons, a wealthy family who owns a publishing house in London around the first world war At the center of the story is Lady Celia Beckenham, a strong willed, blue blooded beauty who forces her parents to bless her marriage to the lower ranking Oliver Lytton, by getting pregnant Motherhood is not quite as fulfilling as she or others would have hoped and eventually works her way into Lyttons, becoming an accomplished editor and asset to the publishing house As WWI breaks out, Oliver feels it to be his duty to enlist and leaves Celia in charge while he is away Along the way she makes a discovery both professionally and personally that effects her outlook on life.No Angel is a a page turner and what I felt to be an accurate account of that time of history with references to the woman s suffrage movement, medicine, social affairs and the after effects of war There are very few cliff hanger at the end of No Angel as most have been tied up, but not in a cutesy It s A Wonderful Life kind of way If this had been a stand alone novel, which it quite possibly could be I would be extremely depressed that it was over, but fortunately, it is the first in the Spoils of Time trilogy and therefore have two books to read in this amazing series. Yes this was a silly book and yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it despite it being like a Sydney Sheldon book on steroids Set it the UK and starting before WWI and ending several years after the war About a family involved in the publishing business Everything was hyper dramatic in the book from the characters to the plot Almost every woman has large beautiful eyes and gorgeous flowing hair Almost every man is tall, dark and handsome Every woman and man has rapturous, earth ending sex though not described in dirty detail, which is just fine What I liked about the book is that it was absolutely filled with characters, and there were a lot of stories to follow I admit that I stayed up late last night to finish as I wanted to see what happened The end of the book manages to bring several story lines together in a suspenseful way and at a good pace though, again, with lots o drama Literary fiction this is not This book is total brain candy but the sweet kind that makes you happy you splurged, not the sticky kind that makes you regret it and kick yourself afterwards for going off your diet I found it in the bargain section of B N for a mere 5.00, which makes it less guilt inducing Bring it to the beach or by the pool this summer and enjoy No Angel Is An Irresistibly Sweeping Saga Of Power, Family Politics, And Passion A Riveting Drama And A Fervent Love Story Celia Lytton Is The Beautiful And Strong Willed Daughter Of Wealthy Aristocrats And She Is Used To Getting Her Way She Moves Through Life Making Difficult And Often Dangerous Decisions That Affect Herself And Others Her Husband, Oliver, And Their Children The Destitute Sylvia Miller, Whose Life Is Transformed By Celia S Intrusion As Well As Oliver S Daunting Elder Sister, Who Is Not All She Appears To Be And Sebastian Brooke, For Whom Celia Makes The Most Dangerous Decision Of All Set Against The Tumultuous Backdrop Of London And New York In The First World War, No Angel Is, As British Good Housekeeping Wrote, An Absorbing Page Turner, Packed With Believable Characters And Satisfyingly Extreme Villains, Eccentrics, And Manipulators Readers Of Maeve Binchy, Barbara Taylor Bradford, And Anita Shreve Will Fall In Love With This Epic, Un Put Downable NovelWith Than Million Copies Sold, Penny Vincenzi Is One Of The World S Preeminent Writers Of Popular Fiction And American Readers No Longer Have To Miss Out On The Fun With The Publication Of No Angel, A Novel Introducing The Engaging Cast Of Characters In The Lytton Family, Overlook Opens A Thrilling New Dimension To This Author S Already Illustrious Career This book had the potential to be a good book due to the premise overall concepts that the book was built on.Though there were so many issues I had with this book, that I was forced to not finish the book The book was EXTREMELY slow moving and trust me I gave the book a complete chance, hoping that it would improve or the pace of the story would pick up by chapter 8 It just dragged on and added and characters to the point where I came close to losing track this is coming from an avid reader.The author also made the characters seems so emotion free, once husbands boyfriends started dying off at war, they all seemed to move forward and cope so easily It just was not realistic Along with the obviousness of missing the Titanic, or receiving a letter at just the perfect time all of these coincidental incidents in the book just made it less believable and less relatable, and soap opera like Im confused how someone could enjoy this book, unless this person of course is extremely patient and willing to wait for a climax in a story or is a gullible person that doesnt mind fantasy intertwined with history reality. I thought I would like this because it s set in the same time period as Downton Abbey a series that I just love but that s where the similarity ends I struggled to get through Part One so bored and then saw that there were so many pages to go that I abandoned it even though it s a Book Club book Perhaps it s because I have so many other books that I want to read that I just didn t want to waste my time on this one I thought it would be But it turned out to be The first book in a trilogy, No Angel, opens in 1904 London and follows the lives of the, upper middle class, Lytton family Largely set around their publishing house, it has a bit of everything Love, infidelity, drama, tragedy, as well as history.The main character is Lady Celia Lytton She s a selfish, disillusioned woman and rather wanting in the parenting department there were times I wanted to shake some sense into her Nevertheless, I did feel a certain empathy for her situation and admired her determination to follow her dream to work in publishing at a time when women s main purpose in life was expected to be support for their husband s career, producing an heir, social pursuits and good works There are many other characters, of course, and equally interesting.I see that some have described it as a soap opera, and I suppose, in a way, it is But a good one Anyway, if you are looking for a book that will sweep you back into the past, and at times keep you on the edge of your seat, I think you will enjoy reading, No Angel I enjoyed reading it and plan to read the second book in the trilogy. I really enjoyed the first 60% of this family saga set just before and after the first world war It s an enjoyable soap opera that captures the class divide, women s rights and the war and it s consequences.But then something happens view spoiler Celia has an affair with Sebastian who is frankly the least likeable character in the whole book talk about full on They made me feel sick hide spoiler This is what I picked up thinking, Hey, my life isn t boring enough I need some pallidly romantic, poorly researched, family saga historical fiction, with love scenes written by someone with no limbic system That is exactly what I got I have tried to use this mundane at best tome as a sleep aid on multiple occasions, only to be jerked out of a semi dozing state by Vincenzi clumsily reminding her readers of the time line of the plot This has caused me to want to get out of bed and launch the book out of the bedroom window Examples of such offenses Main characters are involved in women s suffrage in the UKFemale Protagonist 1 participates in a women s charity leagueFemale protagonist 2 spinster is dating a socialist and frequently rendezvous with him at dark alley socialist gatherings.FP1 illegally adopts daughter of her charity league clientThey all catch influenzaFP1 and her husband score tickets for the maiden voyage of the Titanic, but they are saved from having to actually board the doomed vessel by the good luck of the adopted daughter s near death influenza experience.FP1 FP2 sig others join the war.FP2 finds out she s going to have a socialist baby.Socialist baby daddy is gassed to death in FranceVogue magazine is introduced, and FP1 FP2 casually discuss it.FP1 expresses that she d like to give up wearing her restrictive corset I would like to tell you that the author rallies at some point and delivers a gripping scene of catharsis, but I just don t see it happening I feel victimized by this book. I picked this book from my Mother In Law s shelf, out of sheer avoidance of my New Year s resolution to read five classics I had started Pride and Predjudice and I am so tired from being pregnant that I can t focus and instantly fall asleep This book, however, kept me not only awake, but awake way past my usual bedtime and on into the night I love books like these I think these are the closest thing to a love affair that I could imagine I would literally wait all day to sneak into bed just to read for hours I couldn t put it down, couldn t get anything accomplished until it was finished, and when it was, I went straight for the next book in the trilogy This is half the reason why I haven t been able to focus on my blog These books are wonderful This book takes place in England during the World War I time period It starts by introducing Celia, the first of many strong and independent women in the book It follows her through her life as a mother, wife, book publisher, socialite, and secret lover She is a very complex woman that I want to hate, but I love her for her guts I love this era and I am always intrigued by anything England, so this was the perfect book for me. If you re missing Downton Abbey soapy elements and all , this book would be a good choice It s set in the same time period as Downton Abbey and hits the same historical events Titanic, WWI, flu epidemic, etc And they share themes that I suppose any story about the early 1910s 1920s would how families cope with the war and what happens when all the wounded soldiers return, how class lines began to blur, and how women s roles in society change I almost always enjoy those types of plots What I didn t enjoy so much in the story was the excessive use of manufactured suspense For example minor spoilers , we have the main character announcing I will be leaving to board the Titanic at exactly 10 00 I am so excited for its maiden voyage I hope nothing happens to stop me at 9 59 paraphrased, but barely And of course something stops her at 9 59 That kind of thing happens again and again, someone rushing to deliver a vital message moments before a life changing decision is made, or a character misses an important phone call by mere moments Since the story focuses on relationships, work, school, and the daily grind, it seems unnatural to squeeze in so many attempts at nail biting moments.And I had to mention, for a story about a publishing company, with a skilled editor as the main character, there sure were a lot of typos in this book Overall, it s fun and thought provoking, but certainly not perfect I ll probably take a break before grabbing the next book in the series Maybe next time I have a long layover.
Her family, Headline and her agent Clare Alexander are sad to announce the death of their beloved Penny Vincenzi who died peacefully on February 25th.At the launch of her 19th book, A Question of Trust, last year, Penny said If nobody buys it, it will be my last book otherwise, no, I don t want it to be my last book I still love writing and the whole process And at the time of her death
- 626 pages
- No Angel
- Penny Vincenzi
- 03 September 2018 Penny Vincenzi