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

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  3,485 ratings  ·  428 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Becky
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
Lisa
Jan 11, 2015 Lisa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: audio
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) which completely spoilt it for me. It moved from a fairly intelligent read (for light readin
...more
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
Jill
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.

Wha
...more
Kelly
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
Heather
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
Kelly
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
Mila
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 more 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:

Nikki
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
Celeste
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
Whitney
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
Kristin
Sep 28, 2007 Kristin rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone wishing to be in a coma
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.[http://www.stanford.edu/.../braintut/...]" 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 ...more
Bethan
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
Heath
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
 Mushy
Buyer beware...do 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
Kelly
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 favorite...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.
Nancy
Penny Vincenzi may not be writing great literature, but she sure knows how to tell a tale. And, a very good one. No Angel is a big, bold, compelling soap opera of a book and, although its characters frequently are less than admirable, they are never, never dull.

The plot is driven by the outbreak of World War 1 and the layers and layers of devastation it rained on people's lives in Britain. Many novels have dealt with the psychological damage to returning soldiers. There have also been many stori
...more
Sarah Hackley
May 18, 2014 Sarah Hackley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited, Daisy Goodwin, Anita Shreve and Maeve Binchy
Shelves: fiction
It’s rare that an author so thoroughly captures my attention in the first few paragraphs as Penny Vincenzi did in “No Angel.” The book opens at 18-year-old Celia Lytton’s wedding. Within the first few sentences the reader realizes that this is no ordinary wedding and that Celia is no ordinary 18-year-old woman.

Ostensibly a period drama about class, marriage, and British life in the early 1900s, “No Angel” tells the tale of a headstrong young woman, her family, and her friends in the years surro
...more
Leta
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.
Graceann
May 16, 2014 Graceann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Downton, UpDown fans
No Angel was my introduction to Penny Vincenzi. I think it says something about how much I enjoyed it that I immediately set out to find the remaining two books in the trilogy. I simply cannot wait to see what happens next, and if I just hope the books will "turn up" in my various travels, who knows when I'll get to hear about Celia, LM, Barty and the rest of the family?

Celia is a strong-willed, usually very smart woman who sets goals for herself and then finds a way to achieve them. When I read
...more
Sarah
At 75% I just couldn't put it down! This was a fascinating story, although a bit heavy-handed at times: Lady Celia is a wonderfully strong character, but also sometimes annoying. The insight into the publishing world and the suffragette movement was very interesting too. Altogether a very recommendable book - now on to #2 in the series, even though I read it years ago.

Ami
I made it a third of the way through this novel and decided to stop. I simply didn't enjoy the writing enough to stay with the stilted story-line. The woman/mother stereotypes drove me insane- seriously I don't need to read about the "Mommy Wars" through the filter of historic fiction. Much too one dimensional for my tastes.
Sariah
Parts of me want to give this 5 stars (I couldn't put it down!), but other parts of me want to give this 2 stars (so much fluff!!). There were some really long and drawn out parts where, if I weren't such a fast reader, I would have easily lost interest, and everything was just so dramatic all. the. time. Other reviewers have compared it to Downton Abbey, and I can see that as the time period, the drama, the beauty in the fashion, the love stories, etc., are all very reminiscent of my favorite B ...more
Lori
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!!!
mia
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.
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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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More about Penny Vincenzi...

Other Books in the Series

The Spoils of Time (3 books)
  • Something Dangerous (The Spoils of Time, #2)
  • Into Temptation (The Spoils of Time, #3)
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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