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An Absolute Scandal

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,983 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
What do you do when you lose everything? It was one of the biggest scandals of the 80s. Lloyds. It started with just a few requests for money from various Names. And then the demands got bigger. And bigger. Until thousands of people found their lives ruined, homes gone and relationships wrecked. All because of money. When you do have it, its value isn't that important. Whe ...more
Paperback, 896 pages
Published March 20th 2008 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2007)
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Jul 27, 2008 Nette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Penny Vincenzi is my secret shame; I've read all of her books. The characters are unrealistic, the dialog is silly, and the plots are ludicrous, but I can't stop. I keep waiting for my more intellectual friends to stage an Intervention, a la A&E. "Jeanette, these folks are here because they just love you to death, and they can't stand that you're destroying your mind with this trash. Either you go to rehab today, where you will read nothing but Joyce Carol Oates for 90 days, or they will nev ...more
Robin Nicholas
Sep 18, 2009 Robin Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Penny Vicenzi's books. The other two that I have read take place in the early 1900's which I always find interesting and this one takes place in the late 1980's. What I like about Vincenzi is that she does write somewhat chicklit books....but they are much better. They are well written and filled with an interesting cast of characters. This book centers around the true events of Lloyds of London basically collapsing and what it does to the people who had invested in them. Apparently this ...more
Feb 13, 2011 Grace rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first proper eighties style bonkbuster that I've read since I was a teenager I think. It wasn't too badly written and ticked along pretty well - was perfect for my incredibly lazy saturday (only left the flat to get some chips). Hilarious class aspect, especially about the horror of state schools. I imagine Vicenzi's audience reflects the primarily comp-educated population and there is fair bit of knowingness about this.
Feb 12, 2009 Anne rated it did not like it
How many times can a writer make people vomit in a book? This must hold the record and that's about the most drama you get here - how imaginative!
Rating this as "1" seems extremely generous but the rating numbers don't go into negatives.
Dreadful book. It bothers me that people pick up this kind of soulless book at the airport before they go for their 2 week holiday and that is all they might read in a year.
I picked this book up at a charity event wanting something that would take longer than a
Jul 26, 2010 Redfox5 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction
A really good read. I was quiet sad when it ended, even tho I was slightly annoyed they didn't name the baby. I like to think they named it Simon. I cried quiet alot when one of the main characters died. I really felt for the people they left behind. It must be a horrible thing to watch your life slowly fall to pieces, losing homes, partners and jobs. The charcters I didn't really like were Richard, Debbie and Joel. I found their story quiet interesting but didn't warm to them for lots of differ ...more
Jul 09, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a "Name" at Lloyd's, a prosperous financial institution in the 1980s's was an honor and something to aspire to. As this decade draws to a close, many members found their portfolios dwindling quickly and their debts mounting to staggering heights. Several members band together with the goal of identifying skullduggery at Lloyds and reclaiming their legacies. From the very wealthy to modest middle class, retirees, and others, some quickly bond on a personal level and become entangled for bet ...more
Bev Taylor
Nov 16, 2014 Bev Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
r u sitting comfortably? nearly 900 pages of a blockbuster for u to tackle

set in the 1980's when the lloyds names scandal broke

when you've had everything - 3 women - lucinda, elizabeth and flora r happily (?) married but that is soon to change

and suddenly you have nothing - luxury, life style, self respect and more

you'll do anything - facing bleak future, affairs begin, lies r spun, relationships r pushed to breaking pint and even lives r lost

highly addictive - once u have your head around
Jan 26, 2014 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I decided to read this book because it is supposed to be a novel about the Lloyd's of London scandal in the 90's.
Page 183-the book discusses several couples who were Names and suddenly discover that Lloyd's is demanding a lot of money.
I was a little bit disappointed in the book. I was hoping for a book that would focus on the inner workings of the Lloyds Bank. Instead the book describes three upper class British couples and the financial problems they suffer after Lloyds suffers a loss.
Bill Kupersmith
Oct 21, 2012 Bill Kupersmith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Penny Vincenzi novel but I had a pretty good idea from online reviews what to expect and was certainly not disappointed by this upper-class bonk-fest. Of course the characters are all stereotypes, but they are very attractive stereotypes, particularly Simon Beaumont, whom everyone loved. (I used to sail with people like that, though not so well off.) I cried when they sang "Lord of All Hopefulness" at his funeral. There are lots of sexy men and women. There are so many that it' ...more
Phyllis Sommers
An interesting, but somewhat slow-moving historical novel about a group of investors who were caught up in the Lloyds of London debacle of the 1990s. A small group of well-to-do, but not excessively wealthy, were sold stock, as "Names" in Lloyds. When the large insurer was sued over asbestosis claims, the particular division of this select group of investors, was held responsible. Many of them went bankrupt and lost their homes and life savings. The characters in this novel were fictional, but t ...more
Oct 11, 2009 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'An Absolute Scandal' is a classic Penny Vincenzi read, set in the 80s and full of upper-class characters, yet still a great, page turner with great characters and a well-researched plot line.

Centred around a group of Lloyds 'Names' who have been flung together to fight against losing their wealth - each member of this group consider that they have been swindled by Lloyds syndicates and duped into becoming 'Names'. It has become apparant that their investment is not as safe as it was always assu
Ian Bebbington
If you are drawn to this book because you like romance and drama with a just a little realism this maybe for you. If you are looking for a supplement to financial books to provide a bit of social commentary I would recommend you pass. Suffice to say the last quarter or so of the book barely mentions Lloyd's but concentrates on providing a happy ever after ending for many of the characters without even passing mention of any court cases involving Lloyd's.
Jan 13, 2016 IrishFan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read one of her books before. The length was a little daunting, but once I got into it about 100 pages it got good. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, thank goodness for the list at the beginning. About halfway through it got very good, I wanted to read it all the time. I didn't want it to end. I was happy with how all the characters ended up, except Simon of course. Will definitely read more of her books.
Nov 11, 2008 Ria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The absolute scandal of Penny Vincenzi's novel is the Lloyd's "Names" debacle of the 1980's. The "Names", many of whom were wealthy and privileged and many who were not but felt flattered to be invited to join the former group, were induced to make "risk-free" investments in what turned out to be high-risk, unlimited liability insurance underwritings which resulted in thousands of individuals having to declare bankruptcy. Does anything sound familiar? I read this book a few months before the cur ...more
I found this at a bookstore in Toronto during our (DH and my) vacation there in May. It's size is what initially made me pick it up-I'm a sucker for good thickies-and the synopsis on the back of the book intrigued me.

In the beginning (maybe the first 100 pages) I had trouble keeping the characters straight-who was married to this one, who knew that one and so on but as I got deeper into it that part got much easier.

I ended up really enjoying the book-the connection of the characters via Lloyd's
Vera Neves
Feb 15, 2012 Vera Neves rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
A capa do livro diz para o comprarmos numa 6ª feira, irmos para casa e desligar o telefone. Bem, foi mais ou menos o que fiz visto que tinha pela frente quase 700 páginas. Foi um fim de semana quase de clausura!
Inicialmente não achei muito interessante e a parte que mais me cativou nessa fase foi tentar perceber como funcionava a Lloyd’s, uma agência financeira da City de Londres e de que forma os seus membros foram ou não trapaçeados. Isto surge na década de 70.
As personagens são interessantes
Not a bad read; would have been perfect for the beach.

This was a pretty long book (500+ pages), complete with a character list before the first chapter. Typically, these make me roll my eyes: the author is essentially telling me that there are tons of characters, lots going on, and that she herself probably needed a cheat sheet of sorts to keep them all straight. And indeed, I did reference it a lot; it was much-needed.

Vincenzi did a nice job of developing the characters throughout this novel;
Astrid Johanne
Hold dog op, en fantastisk skrevet bog.
Skulle tvinge mig selv til at ligge den fra mig. Der sker konstant nye ting, og den måtte godt være meget længere.

In English:
WOW, an amazingly written book.
Had to force my self, to put the book down.
Something new happens all the time, and it was with sadness that the book ended.
Diane Klajbor
Sep 01, 2015 Diane Klajbor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Penny Vincenzi book, but it won't be my last. My wonderful sister-in-law lent me this book to read, Thank you, Darlene!! There were many characters and a lot of them had similar names. But, there's a chart in the front of the book and it didn't take long before all the characters sorted themselves out in my mind. It follows the lives of several families who were affected by the crisis of Lords of London in 1980's and 90's. The families were on the verge of going bankrupt becaus ...more
Ilze Powell
This is certainly a tremendous book. I can only imagine how much research and work was poured into creating such a masterpiece. When I received it in mail, my eyes opened wide seeing its volume! It was like receiving an encyclopedia wrapped in feminine cover art.
There's only one big minus - it's too positive and naive.
Penny tells us a very informative and almost financially educating story about Lloyd's of London and how it's affected many innocent lives...but these lives are way too "good" to b
Oct 06, 2015 Kathryn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
A very large cast of characters, the financial crises of the '80's in England, the shady dealings of Lloyd's insurance. All combine to make a convoluted story of loss and suicide, marital unrest and infidelity. I am a little over such large books. This would be a great book for the right audience.
Mar 07, 2011 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of Penny Vincenzi's best, at least not in my view. I started out really enjoying it but got too bogged down in too many characters and realised that I was far more interested in some of them than others. So I ended up 'skip reading' to see what happened to the most interesting people. I might give it another go sometime but probably not soon.
I wish I could claim to have enjoyed this book more because the research behind it is, as best as I can make out, spot on. I was one of the people w
This was a delicious read about Lloyd's of London and the big scandal where they ruined everyone's lives by hoodwinking people who couldn't really afford to invest in Lloyd's to nevertheless invest in it b/c it was so prestigious to be a Lloyd's "Name." Then they used their investment funds to back the absestos litigation funds which they saw coming years before and these people lost everything. And the hits just kept coming.

In the wake of all of the economic scandals of the past decade, this wa
Jul 25, 2015 ~mad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksiveread
This was a good read!
Now, explain to me why it took so long for me to read it through.
I was pushing to get to the end.
She has written alot.
May be a while til I read another of hers, only for that.

I DO recommend tho
Mar 08, 2014 Nepeta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant read - lots of happy endings (the Cinderella story) but a well researched plotline and believable characters. Impossible to stop reading, kept me up well past midnight as I got to towards the end of the book.
Pauline Woods
This book was based on the lives of people affected by the downturn of Lloyds. I felt that there were too many characters and that the book was too long, It was an interesting combination of people who all seemed to finish up "happy ever after with no reference to Lloyds demise.

Oct 12, 2014 Ingrid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly written novel starting out with one main story then branching out into many individual stories of very colourful characters. Even though it is a long listen (32 hours) it is like a soap opera that you just can't get enough of and wish it would last long after you've listened to the last chapter. My secong P.Vincenzi audio book. It is as good as the first: A Perfect Heritage.
Nov 25, 2014 Marija rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great characters, but too much drama. Interesting historical moment is described in this book, however, I didn't learn awfully lot about it. All in all, could have been very good novel, but became chick lit.
Jun 06, 2012 Elise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a good beach book, a long one that will keep you through a few days or a week of vacation, then this one might be a good idea. Lots of characters, a good plot, love, affairs, and of course, a big financial scandal.

And what I really liked about this book is learning more about the class system in England, how classes are casts, and how the 1980's and early 90's , with the beginning of the financial economy and the long-term effects of the recessions of the 80's, turned that
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Mar 21, 2015 11:12AM  
  • Someone Special
  • The Hearts and Lives of Men
  • Kate Hannigan
  • Faith
  • Filthy Rich
  • O Jogo da Verdade
  • Gold Diggers
  • Lyckans hjul
  • Pynt
  • White
  • Avoimien ovien päivä
  • Never Too Late
  • The Hornbeam Tree
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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