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The Decision

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,000 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
It all comes down to love or money in a harrowing custody battle over a little girl, set against the glossy backdrop of the magazine and advertising worlds in 1960s London.

A privileged girl from a privileged class, Eliza has a dazzling career in the magazine world of the 1960s. But when she falls deeply in love with Matt, an edgy working-class boy, she gives up her ritzy
Hardcover, 768 pages
Published September 15th 2011 by Headline Review (first published September 1st 2011)
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Apr 23, 2012 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Really, I wanted to give this one star, but since I like Vincenzi so much normally, I bumped it up.
What a disappointment! After waiting and waiting for her new book, I could not believe the drivel I was reading. The 2 main characters, Matt and Eliza, were both so unsympathetic. His character enraged me; he was such a misogynistic asshole. And Eliza completely let him treat her like utter crap. For someone who was working so high up in the fashion world before her marriage, this was a pretty big
Sep 05, 2012 Samantha rated it really liked it
I have read several of Penny Vincenzi books and am yet to be disappointed by them. When I first read the back of her new one, I didn't know if I could read it as I wasn't sure of the fighting over the child element, I am a bit sensitive about things like that. I need not have worried. As usual with Penny Vincenzi, she tells you the story of the characters involved and very usually goes right back to the beginning of where that relationship started which was the case here. In my opinion she is on ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and all the complexity it delivered. Its set in an era where wives are little more than babysitters, and the girl (I read this book quite some time ago, forgot her name) wants to break stereotypes and hold a high-profile job in a field where no one is irreplacable-and does so, well, until she meets her husband, Matt, who confines her to the house of duties of taking care of their child. Push comes to shove, and they file for divorce.
This book infuriated me because I am a self-p
Mar 01, 2012 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Posh fashion editor Eliza Clark defies beginning to crumble class barriers by falling hard for working class, self-made property developer Matt Shaw in the trendy London of the swinging 60s and early 70s. It’s a passionate relationship that ends in divorce and a fearsome custody battle—this isn’t a spoiler because the book opens on the day before the judge’s decision in 1971, then hops back to 1958 when Eliza, in mid-curtsey to the Queen, decides it’s time to rid herself of her virginity. Eliza ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Noelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fluffy-fiction
"And how had that happened, that her marriage, her really rather amazing marriage, entered into with such happiness and love and hope, had become Shaw v. Shaw . . . " Funny, this "amazing marriage" must have been from a different novel because I sure as hell didn't see Eliza and Matt's marriage as "amazing." Emotionally abusive, yes. Parents playing off one another to raise a young girl who is inevitably going to turn out to be a horribly spoiled, self-centered brat, yes. I missed the intense pa ...more
This book has been languishing on my TBR shelf for a few months now. I have picked it up started it and then stopped and picked up something else to read. Well I finally broke down and decided to stop procrastinating and read MORE THAN YOU KNOW by Penny Vincenzi. Now I know why it took me so long to read this tome. The story is akin to a rehash of an old Jeffrey Archer or Danielle Steel plot from their halcyon days in the 1970’s and 80’s. Both Archer and Steel’s writing formulas were fairly cons ...more
Mar 13, 2012 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More Than You Know
Penny Vincenzi

What's it all about?

Matt and Eliza and their long long road to unhappiness...their story is the heart of this book but there are many other key characters and their stories that intertwine with Matt and Eliza's.

What are my thoughts?

My thoughts are many characters and so much to think about while so much is going on!!!

I loved every word of this lovely long English novel. It was my perfect cup of English tea although most of the characters were cof
Apr 10, 2012 Nada rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-lt
Review first published on my blog:

More Than You Know is a saga of a family and the people who surround them. It is set in 1960s London in the world of high fashion and real estate. It is the story of Eliza, a woman from the "upper" class of London, and Matt, a working-class man making his own way in the world. It is the story of how they come together, the family they create, and how that family falls apart and comes together.

More Than You Know is also th
This is one of those times that if there was a 1/2 star option, I would give this book 3 1/2 stars. And, quite frankly, it would depend at what point in the book I was asked to rate it. I have read one other Vincenzi book, and loved it. This one took a lot longer to get into, and even then, there where several points when I really did consider giving up on it, which is quite rare for me. The main issue that I kept coming back to was that frankly, I couldn't stand either of the main characters, M ...more
Susan Johnson
May 14, 2012 Susan Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an extremely readable novel. Set in the 1960's it is the story of a marriage which founders under the weight of it's own passion. The backdrop is swinging London with lavish references to the social and fashion world. Names, from designer Mary Quant, model Jean Shrimpton and photgrapher David Bailey are dropped.
Eliza comes from the upper class of debs and royal presentations but scorns suitable marriage prospects and longs to be involved and write about the fashion world. Her husban
Sam Still Reading
Dec 27, 2011 Sam Still Reading rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who like chick lit with brain activity
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: read other books by the same author
I really like Penny Vincenzi’s books – you know that you are guaranteed an interesting plot, well written characters and an element of surprise. The Decision is no exception. It is slightly unusual in that you know what will happen to the main characters Eliza and Matt ultimately – it’s no secret that they will get divorced. But it is an interesting reflection on what leads to a marriage and then its downfall. All but the epilogue is revealed by the blurb on the back cover. Is it still worth rea ...more
Jul 10, 2016 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Penny Vincenzi, though I can’t tell you exactly why.

Part of it is the rich world she delivers. I know little about London in the 1960s, or about fashion magazines, or about real estate, but I was immediately drawn into Eliza and Matt’s lives. I enjoyed reading about how they flit in and out of each others’ lives before they marry. I also liked seeing the social changes happening in the world during that time period.

A larger part of it is the dialogue. Vincenzi relies heavily upon dialogue
Beth Lloyd
Apr 17, 2013 Beth Lloyd rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The final chapter was the only time it grasped my attention. The final chapter was good, the previous 11000000 chapters (well that's how many it felt like) were slow, and many of them could have been edited out with no impact to the storyline. It had potential to be good, but it was too long, too many characters (It was hard to keep track and I kept confusing certain people and having to go back to make sense).
I wanted to give up, but I had already spent weeks and weeks (normally a book takes m
Amanda Milburn
Jul 11, 2015 Amanda Milburn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Also called 'the decision', this book disgusted me. I normally really enjoy Penny Vincenzi but this was beyond the pale. The entire book seemed to condone an incredibly abusive man and made for very uncomfortable reading. I would not recommend.
Kate Loveday
Jul 20, 2012 Kate Loveday rated it liked it

I have previously read and enjoyed several of Penny Vincenzi’s books. However, with over 700 pages I found The Decision rather slow going, particularly in the first half, and skimmed through many of the long descriptive passages. The book begins with the revelation that a divorce is pending. Through the rest of the book we learn the poignant story of Eliza and Matt, from the madly passionate love that draws them together through the heart-breaking disintegration of their marriage, and the hurt i
Liz Balaam
Jun 09, 2012 Liz Balaam rated it it was amazing
The thing I love about Penny Vincenzi is that her characters are so real and believable. I can't stand books where the characters are ultra rich and pages are dedicated to their designer clothes, expensive jewellery, flashy cars and the type of champagne they drink. Sure there are people like that but not in the circles I move in. In this book Matt made money, but he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth - he worked for it and was therefore a believable character. I also liked that Eliza ...more
Vanessa Pinto

Hard to put down. It was a confusing start with so many characters to introduce, each having their own story that intertwined with each other in one fashion or another. I enjoyed the book and the plot immensely, however it took me on an emotional roller coaster and at times very maddening. Unfortunately, curiosity got the best of me and the need to know what happened to Eliza. I feel that the author portrayed the events and atmosphere of the 60's realistically. Difficult to put it into words wi
Sue Myers
Riveting story of Eliza, upper crust English 20 year old and her relationship, subsequent marriage and divorce from Matthew, a working class self-made millionaire. Much of the story revolves around the saving of Summercourt, Eliza's family's manor house which has fallen into disrepair. Eliza's parents are not wealthy in spite of owning Summercourt, a situation which in the 60's and 70's troubled many of these former estates. I liked Eliza, main character, but could not relate to some of the faux ...more
Phyllis Sommers
I have some mixed emotions about this novel. At almost 600 pages, it definitely held my interest and was enjoyable. By the time I read the last sentence, however, it left me feeling a little disappointed, the story itself falling kind of flat.

We begin the journey through Matt and Eliza's relationship with Eliza Fullerton-Clark's coming-out party in the English countryside. As a young debutante, just starting out in the world of fashion, she begins a relationship with Jeremy Northcott and fully
Apr 08, 2012 Nette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Every year I indulge in the shameful pleasure of the latest Vincenzi, but the pleasure is waning because her template never changes. This one is set in the 1960s, so every few chapters Kennedy is shot or Twiggy is cited, but the stuff in between is pretty standard. One new thing: I bought the e-book version of this book and had lots of fun running searches on her favorite words, like "terribly" and "darling" and "lovely." That last search made steam come out the sides of my poor Nook.
Apr 04, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it
Another triumph for Penny Vincenzi. Like all her books, this one is absolutely riveting. It made me lose sleep - I couldn't put it down.

It gives a poignant portrayal of marriage breakdown and what the effects can be on friends and family.

I found the judge's decision in the custody/residency case somewhat unrealistic, but hey that's fiction !

Bean Keane
Jul 07, 2016 Bean Keane rated it liked it
Very detailed, very British, at times very traditional and exciting. I thought that this novel was a perfect example of the household change the British went under in through the 50s and 70s: how the roles of women/wives evolved into being more than just a housewife/mother and how the husbands dealt with that cultural change.
The image of Summercourt was stunning; I am picturing this grand country mansion (run down in some parts) made from stone with green paddocks and open space in every direct
Karen Klein
Jun 10, 2012 Karen Klein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Need to check my library due dates before I start reading.....have some others that are due way before this one! :) Will get to it soon....

Started again last night!

Finished - I just really like her writing...........
I enjoyed this book early on but eventually found it too predictable, and it took to long to get to where I knew it was going.
Nov 07, 2011 Aileen rated it it was ok
I didn't really enjoy this book, it was very slow, I am surprised I stuck with it to the end, I wouldn't recommend.
Sep 02, 2012 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting story to listen to as we follow the social circles of all the characters involved. Not only do we get an up close look at Eliza's life, but we also get to see things from Matt's perspective as well. Getting to know Matt and Eliza's siblings was like the icing on the cake.

After Eliza ends an engagement, she finds herself falling in love with Matt, a self-made entrepreneur. A whirlwind romance results in a wedding between the two, leaving Eliza compromising the life she led
Jan 07, 2014 Marcy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: firstreads
I received a free copy of this book through the GoodReads First Reads program.

As much as I hated a lot of the characters in this book, I wanted to give it 4 stars because it did draw me into the story. I wanted to give it 4 stars, and planned to, up until the last 25 or so pages, when suddenly I realized I was quite likely to hate the ending as well as all those people. As a result, I warn that there will be spoilers toward the end of this review.

"More Than You Know" is set, for the most part, i
Apr 20, 2012 D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Not-So-Closet Geek review:

This was my first Penny Vincenzi novel, and I've found reading it to be a rewarding, if not pleasant, experience.

More Than You Know follows two people from different worlds as they stumble into love and later crash out of it. It elegantly shows how a marriage with so much love can go so wrong. This is the first time I've read an up-close portrayal of a divorce and found it successful in it's representation. The pain in this novel
May 28, 2012 Kaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-challenge

In More Than You Know, Vincenzi explores not only the world of fashion design, but of lifestyles and marriages; one marriage in particular.

Eliza Clark's family has always hoped she would make a brilliant marriage to someone rich and powerful. Eliza, although she enjoys her life as a deb, she does have other ideas. She's in no hurry to marry while she pursues her dream of fashion editing in London in the early 60's. It's a heady business and she can't get enough of it, until . .

Until the day she
It's interesting because I just re-read all of the reviews for this book and everyone just LOVED the book. And, well, I did not love this book. I even feel conflicted about giving it 3 stars. I think it's a very well written book. It's a very readable book. And personally, I really enjoyed *all* of the cast of characters EXCEPT the two main characters: Matt and Eliza. To be honest, I hated them. Matt I found patronizing and rude and a horrible husband and, yes, a horrible father (refusing to set ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 21, 2015 11:16AM  
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I'm currently taking part in a Q&A Group here on Goodreads to discuss my latest novel, Sheer Abandon . To post questions, please visit: I look forward to an active discussion together.

I was nine years old when I embarked on my storytelling career. I wrote my own magazine called “Stories”, which I copied out three times on carbon paper and sold for two
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