No Angel (The Spoils of Time, #1)
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No Angel (The Spoils of Time #1)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  2,847 ratings  ·  378 reviews
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 chi...more
Paperback, 626 pages
Published October 5th 2004 by Overlook TP (first published January 1st 2000)
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Kim Allen-Niesen
I walked into the Corner Bookstore while visiting New York City completely exhausted with aching feet and two cranky kids. While I was sitting in a chair, a lovely woman asked what type of book I was looking for and when I told her about my day, she recommended this book. Within 30 pages I was swept away into another world. It's lovely family saga, the first of three volumes, I like this segment the best, that provides love, tragedy, drama, a bit of history, but most importantly, a vacation from...more
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...more
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 admi...more
Alison Looney
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.

Kimberly Kolansky
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 more and more characters to the point where I came close to losing track (this is coming from an av...more
April 2011 book club choice- loved it! Story of a prominent English family from 1904 to 1920ish. My favoite story lines revolved around the publishing house.

One thing I absolutely loved was the dialogue between the extremely entertaining characters; it is so realistic. (I hate it when books have ridiculous, sappy dialogue which is beyond unbelieveable...)

I was intrigued by all of the strong women characters. The Lady Celia Lytton character, who leaves something to be desired in the parenting...more
A friend at the bookstore I work at has recommended this Lytton Family trilogy for years, and now I know why. Utter delight! I am reminded of the "Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" sagas I read in college and so loved. This time it is a British family that owns a publishing company in the early 20th century. The female characters are what make this book come alive. They, and especially one, Celia Lytton, know what they want and are not shy about going after it, whether that be love, meanin...more
Tara Chevrestt
This novel had just enough scandal to entertain but was also very classy. Normally, a novel with too many characters to keep track of throws me off, but this one introduces each character bit by bit and I had no trouble at all keeping track of who was who and what was going on in their lives. Very skillfully done. The novel spans about 15 to 20 years of the Lyttons' lives. The focus, mainly centers on the marriage of Cylia and Oliver and the troubles they face; deceit, growing apart, affairs, an...more
Really enjoyed this book - the way the characters lives changed over several years, influenced by the decisions of other characters was intriguing. Set in the early 20th Century, I wasn't sure I would enjoy the history but it was fascinating and with reference to familiar events it actually helped set the scene for me really well. The saga continues as the characters introduced in this first book of the trilogy have so much more to give and I look forward to reading the other Spoils of Time book...more
This book calls itself "an epic family saga" - but in reality, it's a piece of fluff desperately trying to emulate Gone with the Wind. (And really, who wants that? Haven't we had our fill of shallow, self-absorbed bitches who are described by the author as "strong-willed" in a desperate attempt to generate some kind of admiration from the reader?) The main character is deceitful, unfaithful, selfish, and unkind to her family. She has a few charitable moments, but the fact that she is ridiculousl...more
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 (...more
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 th...more
I only read this because I was abroad and it was free. Probably unfair of me to say since so many people clearly really like the book but these type of bestsellers are the McDonalds of literature. Some people can't stand McDonalds and say it's 'cardboard food'. Vincenzi obviously tries to incorporate serious subjects such as war, suffragettes and poverty but it comes across like cardboard cut-outs and too obvious in intention. The book lacks depth and complexity. It's, however, not unreadable -...more
Ally Wampler
A must read... completely engrossing and character driven. You love everyone, and I mean everyone (except that dreadful Laurence)! It's just like downton abbey! You've got your fashionable Celia Lytton, steadfast honorable Oliver, spunky LM, don't make me go on and on...

It's honestly somewhere between a four and five star, because it's a tad frustrating at times. Although there are lots of "on the edge of your seat" suspenseful moments they are maybe a few too drawn out at times (the libel suit?...more
The first of the trilogy-- my favorite Penny Vincenzi. The only thing about this book is that you will find a number of typos. This must have been her first book published before she was an international success. Ironic because it is about a publishing dynasty in pre WWI England. If you want a novel that will take you away and immerse you in another time and another family, this is it. The Lytton family is fascinating and lovable. Celia is one of my favorite characters-- so admirable yet so flaw...more
Buyer not buy just one of these books at a time...
strong women, family business, family monkey business, the men women and children at the extreme of the spectrum of adjectives: handsome/vulnerable/brilliant/depressed/beautiful/each one of a kind in the whole world.

The Lytton publishing empire and family allows the reader guiltless eavesdropping on their deepest secrets. Enough salacious behavior to discourage any bookears of the pages (books are not on audio!!).

Very Peyton Place b...more
If you love historical fiction, then there is a good chance you'll love this book. The first book in a trilogy that i have tried to single handedly convince everyone that they need to read. It's so incredibly honest, set just prior to WW I and has a romantic love triangle to end all love triangles. Celia is the best Female protagonist since Noelle Paige in Sidney Sheldon's 'the other side of midnight'. Must say, penny vincenzi's other books are pretty good, but this is my only hope...more
Kristy Trauzzi
While this isn't quite what I was expecting - I did enjoy this book.

I think it had - well - tried to - have more depth then some of her other stories. I enjoyed the conflicting emotions that the main character went through with her adultery. I can't imagine all the families that were broken up or seriously impacted from the war.

It made me cry when her sister LM? found out she was pregnant and then lost her friend. I was very happy that she was able to find another companion later on in life.
An easy and fun read, but I found the fairly constant use of "Celia felt this way because ..." rather artless. Even though the book is - as others have mentioned - largely a soap opera, the just-in-the-nick-of-time device is also overused and becomes predictable.

And my, oh, my but these people are frank about their sex lives. And rather uniformly so.

But I found the characters engaging and did care what happend to them.
Really, really enjoyed this family saga set in London during WWI!!! Vincenzi follows each family member through the trials before, during and after the war... and she does this seamlessly!!! It is fast paced and never slows down... can't wait to read the rest of the series!!!
Dec 04, 2008 mia rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fic-lit
i would give this more stars if i felt the language and manipulation of words was more creative. i thoroughly LOVED the story. completely engulfing, omy! andddd, i just found out it is a trilogy! i've put the other two books on my christmas list, indeed.
Aug 11, 2009 Anna added it
This book is a great way to learn the history of Britain through WWI. It's very engaging, never boring because of it's many threads. The characters are multidimensional and intriguing. I've been burning through this series-one of my favorites.
3,5 stars. This is a great start to a multi book series. The editing is lacking but the storyline is captivating!
Elizabeth Mccrary
LOVED. Could not put it down. My solace in it being over is there are 2 more in the series.
I have never given a book with this many grammatical and typographical errors 4 stars. There is even a misspelling on the back jacket blurb! The editor of this book is either criminally negligent or non-existent. The author uses the word "literally" literally over a dozen times before I stopped counting.

The story, however, is marvelous and sweeping and entertaining. I was very invested in all of the characters, and will likely read the next two in the trilogy because I want to know what happens...more
How could a book with a cover like this turn out so bad? Total soap opera stuff.
Well, this family saga set in the early 1900's in England was, for me, a cross between historical fiction and victorian soap opera. It begins with Lady Celia Beckenham becoming pregnant on purpose to defy her blue-blooded parents and marrying Oliver Lytton whom they disapprove of. Oliver, along with his sister LM, have inherited the Lytton Publishing House. Becoming bored with being a housewife Lady Celia joins the publishing team and discovers she is a pretty good editor and then begins to take...more
So when I give this four stars, that's obviously four stars within the genre it represents. Clearly we're not talking about ANNA KARENINA here. However, if you're a person for whom summer isn't complete without a big juicy page-turning family saga, or winter not complete without same plus cozy fire and glass of wine, then this, yes, sweeping novel and its two sequels are for you. After years of writing really pretty terrible potboilers, Vincenzi summoned her resources to churn out this multi-gen...more
No Angel, by Penny Vincenzi, tells the story of the Lytton family from the early 20th century up to the 1920s. At the centre of the story is Celia, wife of Oliver, who works hard to get what she wants. She wants to marry Oliver, so she gets pregnant to force her parents' hands; she wants to work with her husband at the family publishing firm, and she eventually proves herself to be an valuable asset.

I read No Angel because I'm currently in the middle of an A-Z challenge, and I needed to read a V...more
The first book in the Spoils of Time trilogy No Angel opens in London and follows the lives of the Lytton family. Lady Celia becomes pregnant on purpose in order to marry Oliver Lytton, who has inherited the Lytton Publishing House with his sister LM. Lady Celia joins the publishing team and discovers she has a talent for the business and for editing. When Oliver goes off to war, Lady Celia and LM run Lyttons only for Oliver to return and disapprove of the decisions they made in his absence.

I re...more
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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...more
More about Penny Vincenzi...
Something Dangerous (The Spoils of Time, #2) Into Temptation (The Spoils of Time, #3) The Best Of Times Sheer Abandon An Absolute Scandal

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