Thursday, April 23, 2009

Penny Vincenzi = Deliciously Trashy


I've been reading Penny Vincenzi's book Windfall for weeks and have finally finished - no surprise considering it's 838 pages long and I like to take my time with Vincenzi's books. You see, they're like an ice cream treat that you don't have every day but when you do, you want to make it last. My husband is always surprised when I'm reading a Vincenzi book 'What is it with her?', 'That doesn't look like the sort of book you normally read.' he says. I don't know what it is, I cannot put my finger on what exactly attracts me to these long, trashy, romantic, devastating and melodramatic stories of (usually) wealthy people in extreme and unlikely circumstances living in Britain.

Windfall takes place in mid 1930's Britain, London mostly, during the time that Edward was King and pining after Mrs. Wallis Simpson. Cassia Fallon is the mother of three young children and wife of the town's doctor. As we come to know her, we see that see has indeed given up a lot of herself to wind up in her current role, and there seems no more worthy person to receive a large sum of money upon the death of her beloved godmother. After she receives this legacy, Cassia's behavior becomes really quite horrid and if it weren't Vincenzi writing this book we would loathe her. However, in this case somehow the reader does not mind (so much) Cassia's selfishness and neglect of her home and family but instead wonders where life will take her. Along the way, Cassia realizes that something seems not quite right about the money left to her and she seeks answers, both about the money and the rest of her life.

I have read quite a few of Vincenzi's books, and I would count this among my favorites. I love being completely immersed in the worlds she creates and as I get towards the end (say, around 200 pages from the end) I always start to feel a bit sad that the story is coming to a close.

If you like this sort of thing - I highly recommend Penny Vincenzi. I couldn't read books like this all the time, but I consider her a treat.

27 comments:

Dar said...

I've read a couple of Penny Vincenzi's books and have always enjoyed them. This looks like another one I should try. Thanks for the review.

Staci said...

I've never read Vincenzi but now I feel like I must. 800+ pages is a big book so I think it would be a good summer read where I will have a little more time to invest in it!! I loved your review!

booklineandsinker said...

i love reading book blogs because i continue to get introduced to books and authors previously unknown to me. thank you so much for such a tempting and delicious review--you know that i'm off to get this book tomorrow, don't you?! and when i don't get any laundry or yard work done this weekend, i'm placing the blame squarely on your shoulders.

JoAnn said...

Oh, another author I haven't heard of...and it sounds like I'm in for a treat when I get to her! Thanks for this tempting review.

jennysbooks said...

This sounds like fun! I've never heard of this author at all, but I was just looking at some of her books on Amazon, and she sounds like the kind of author I would enjoy. You know, when I'm in the mood for trashy. It's been a stressful month at work, and I kind of feel like I am in exactly the mood for trashy. Thanks for the recommendation!

Tara said...

Hi Dar, yeah for another Vincenzi fan!

Staci, she definitely makes for a good summer or vacation read.

booklineandsinker, I will happily accept the blame! I should have checked, but it looks like this one hasn't been published in the US, I got my copy from the UK. But, the good news is there are some Vincenzi books published here. A favorite of mine is No Angel - first in a trilogy.

JoAnn, she's great fun! Glad you think she sounds appealing.

Jennysbooks, she's pure escapist fun! Stress and trashy books go together well, I think!

Bookfool said...

I've only read one Penny Vincenzi book, No Angel. I'm afraid it didn't do much for me, although I found it very readable and whipped through it in about 3 days.

Danielle said...

I like Penny Vincenzi, too. I've read the books about the publishing family and listened to one of her recent books, Sheer Abandon (I think that's the title). Actually I really like her, though I only read her occasionally. It's easy to get lost in her worlds, and it is wonderful melodrama. I know she's not by any means a high brow author, but I think she's fun. I do prefer her books with more historical settings over the modern stories, though. Will have to check this one out.

Gentle Reader said...

I love being immersed in a world, too, and this sounds like something I might read as a treat--thanks, I'll have to check it out :)

Cath said...

I've never felt tempted by Penny Vincenzi as I'm not fond of books about rich people, if you see what I mean. I think everyone has their own version of fun books though and I'm all in favour of that. I'm just reading my very first Nora Roberts; my daughter and a couple of friends all wanted me to try her, even though I wasn't keen. And you know what? I'm quite enjoying the mix of romance and fantasy, it's fun and easy reading - and sometimes that's just what you need. :-)

Karen said...

I am just now reading the third book in Vincenzi's Lytton trilogy which Danielle recommended to me last year - they are great reads. I will have to keep a look out for this one too now.

Iliana said...

One of these days I must treat myself to a Vincenzi book. I actually have a couple that I've gotten thanks to book blog recommendations just haven't gotten around to one yet but I will :)

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I have a Penny Vincenzi book on my shelves somewhere, but can't remember which one it is...I'll have to dig it out!

Tara said...

Bookfool, to each his/her own, right?! You're a fast reader!

Danielle, I also prefer the more historical books. One favorite of mine is set during one of the wars and features the lives of three women - I believe it was Forbidden Places. Melodrama - yes, that is the right word for it!

Gentle reader, her books are great fun!

Cath, I do see what you mean, and completely understand not being tempted by these books. Nora Roberts is an author that I always see and never pick up - perhaps I should try her one day.

Karen, LOVED the trilogy! What a divine series and group of characters.

Iliana, someday, right!

Melissa, I wonder which one tempted you to add it to your stacks.

Karen Beth said...

I have left a gift for you here. :) http://kbpinkbookmark.blogspot.com/2009/04/one-lovely-blog-award.html

melanie said...

Okay, I'd never heard of this author until I read your post and since then, I see her name everywhere. Isn't there a word for that?

Laura Essendine said...

Windfall ranks as one of my all time favourite books and I'm waiting until I've completely forgotten it before I go back and reread.

I also loved the Lytton trilogy - in fact, there's not a great deal of hers I don't love.

You should take a look at Kate Saunders, Night Shall Overtake Us. Slightly different from Penny but still absolutely fab and set around the First World War.

Keep blogging

Laura Essendine
The Accidental Guru Blog

Tara said...

Karen Beth, thank you!

Melanie, there is a word for that...all I can come up with is deja vu, but that's not it...

Laura, Hi, thanks for stopping by! It's nice to 'meet' another Vincenzi fan. I will definitely check out the Kate Saunders book - I've read something else by her. Thanks for the suggestion.

Laura Essendine said...

Which Kate Saunders did you read? I loved all of them but particularly Lily Josephine, the Marrying Game and Night Shall Overtake Us.

Sadly, there are very few Kate Saunders fans around and there ought to be more!

Laura Essendine
The Accidental Guru Blog

Tara said...

Laura, I read The Marrying Game some time ago and really liked it. I mooched a copy of Night Shall Overtake Us and it's now in my hot little hands! I'm excited about it!

Laura Essendine said...

Tara - I guarantee that you'll cry at some time during Night Shall Overtake Us. But don't let that put you off! Sadly I gave my copy away to a friend who never returned it so I always keep my eyes open in second hand shops as I don't think it's in print any more.

Enjoy. Best taken with a glass of wine and chocolate.

Laura Essendine
The Accidental Guru Blog

Tara said...

Laura, I hope you come across another copy! It's too bad that you've lost such a favorite. Wine and chocolate - sounds good to me!

avisannschild said...

I haven't read Vincenzi, but I feel the same way about Adele GĂ©ras, although now that I think about it, maybe I'm being a bit premature in saying that since I've only read one of her books! In any case, I can identify with what you're saying about a guilty pleasure! I'll keep an eye out for Vincenzi's books. Are there any that you would disrecommend as a first intro to her?

Tara said...

avisannschild, I like Geras, too, I've read two of her books for adults. Regarding Vincenzi, I would say not to start with Another Woman or An Outrageous Affair - both I liked but were not my favorites. I'd suggest No Angel (first of a trilogy), Forbidden Places or Wicked Pleasures. Enjoy!

avisannschild said...

Thanks, Tara! I'll keep my eyes out for those ones. (That's not how that expression goes, is it!? I'm thinking too literally!)

Tara said...

avisannschild, no problem! Enjoy!

carolynnewindfall said...

I've just come across this blog and as it's so old I don't even know if it's still in existence. I'm producing (or trying to) a feature film of Windfall. Interesting back story which I'll probably write a blog about when I get around to it.

Looking for more funding at the moment so if any of you PV fans out there fancy getting a consortium together, do get in touch carolynne@pivotal-pictures.com