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The Best Of Times

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  2,484 ratings  ·  306 reviews
On a hot summer's day, a lorry slews across a motorway and causes a huge pile-up. In that split-second accident, lives are changed forever.

Jonathan is a successful surgeon returning from a liaison with his mistress, Abi; Georgia is a young actress on her way to an audition for the part that could make her career; Toby is a bridegroom travelling to his wedding with his best
Paperback, 896 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2009)
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At page 570 or something now. It just keeps going on and on and on. When will it end?!

I quit a few chapters later. There was nothing after the hearing to keep the reader motivated.
I have mixed feelings about this one. I decided to read this along with a couple other books over the long holiday weekend. I'm glad I had other things to read. I quite loved the first half & thought the author did a great job with most of the characters & also the accident we are shown in the opening of the book. And then the second half happened. Or didn't so much and just meandered along until I have to honestly admit, I was skimming for resolutions for my favorite characters. I'm pos ...more
I had high hopes for this one, but somewhere around the middle it failed miserably. It's the story of people involved in a car accident and how it affects their lives. Interesting at the beginning and then bloody awful, darling. (I have to say that, because the book takes place outside London.) At about the halfway point (of this more than 500 page thing!) every single character became unlikeable. Seriously. I get that the author wants to show that we are all flawed people, but we aren't all tot ...more
This was an entertaining read though a bit long at just under 600 pgs.
The story is a good one where the lives of twelve unrelated people are wound together through a horrible accident on a highway that runs outside London. The author spends a lot of time on character development and that is all a lead up to this fatal, multi car pile up on the highway and how the lives of these people all come together and how their lives all our forever changed as a result of this life changing event. I really
I have very mixed feelings about this book; hence the three stars.

The book opens with a major traffic accident that blocks the freeway (Sorry: motorway. It takes place in London.) Then comes a section called "Before". I spent my time reading this section very nervous about what would happen. So it was hard to enjoy it.

The section that took place during the accident was very exciting and fun to read.

But then the story went kind of down hill from there. I felt like the author didn't know when the
Foi a minha estreia com esta autora, da qual já queria há muito tempo ler qualquer coisa. E gostei bastante. A principio achei que tinha personagens a mais mas depois todas elas se foram interligando e tiveram um papel de maior ou menor destaque na trama. Um bom romance para se ler, apesar de um pouco longo (mais de 600 paginas...) mas que li com muito prazer e me deixou com vontade de ler mais desta escritora
Cheesy summer reading at its best ... no need to think or analyze ... just read on the beach or by the side of the pool.

In The Best of Times, all the characters come together because of a horrible crash on the M4 Motorway outside London. All the various characters at the scene of the crash ultimately become entwined with each other. We follow each character from shortly before the crash to a year or so after. Predictably, everything turns out hunky dory and life is good. This is not an intellec
Punithadanakody Danakody
A compelling story that tackles everyone’s subconscious fear – the one that they feel but never address – what if something catastrophic happens one day and changes our lives forever?
In Best Of Times, Penny Vincenzi tells the story of a brutal road accident that breaks relationships and brings strangers together. Vincenzi’s characters not only allow readers to love / hate them, but I find, like in all her other books, readers get immersed in them and their lives.
When I first picked up a Penny b
Would Vincenzi be able to hold my interest for 880 pages? Would I be able to keep all the characters straight in my mind? Yes and yes. A very enjoyable read about folks who are involved in, or witness, a large and tragic highway accident and how that event alters their lives. The question is - are the changes for the worst, or for the best? It surprised me, a person who cannot bear gore or medical encounters, the day of the accident was my favorite part of the book. So fear not those of you who ...more
Jo Barton
When a lorry crashes on the M4 on a busy summer's day the effect on people's lives is catastrophic and has repercussions that spread out far beyond the scene at the motorway. The story is told quite seemlessly and in readable chunks, with each person's life under scrutiny. Some have secrets that really shouldn't be told, others are oblivious to the effects their actions will have on others. From the sublime, to the heart-rending - I think this is a perfect summer beach read.

My only criticism is
IMHO, reading this book wasn't the Best of Times. While the premise is wonderful - a major accident changes the lives of everyone involved - I found the story tedious. Vincenzi's exploration of the butterfly effect through a myriad of characters left me feeling exhausted. I found it difficult to connect with the characters, and I felt that because the author took on so many characters, none of them were fully developed. I felt that plot points were predictable. And really, the novel probably cou ...more
Well, this book probably deserves better than the two stars I am giving it. I have just smacked into that wall in my life where I can no longer enjoy Chick Lit -- not that I was ever that into it. I should probably not even review books of this nature because they basically strike me as weird at this point in the game. I am not a fan of couples who fight constantly and toss out endless drama...but then reconcile over and over and over again only to repeat the same grating pattern ad nauseum. The ...more
Marion Dodson
I absolutely LOVED this book! Amazing how a series of missteps and other factors can contribute to a huge life altering event. The characters were so well crafted - you loved some and hated some just as the author intended. I didn't want it to end.
Judi R.
I started this book wondering if I would be able to keep the many characters straight in my mind. I was going back and forth trying to recall what part they play in this drama. I realized quickly that the story is so well written that this was not going to be a task- each one became a part of me as I read the role he/she played. I grew to know each one thoroughly as an individual. I have enjoyed previous novels by Penny Vincenzi and this one only made me want to read more. A horrific highway dis ...more
Penny Fox
At first all of the switching characters confused me but eventually it was fine.

I really loved some of the characters and would love to see them reunited in another book. I could totally hang with these people in real life. I'd love visiting Mary or grabbing a drink with "Mrs. Farmer" (Abi). :)

I will be looking into more books by this author. I totally judge books by their covers and loved the cover my copy had but I couldn't figure out who it was suppose to be? I thought Georgia running away
Its not as gripping as the cover promised
Dec 02, 2011 Sara rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: contemporary fiction, chicklit, fiction

Complex, Fast-paced, Smart

The story follows the lives of people involved in a tremendous freeway crash. It was hard to keep up with all the characters, but each character develops throughout the novel. And, each character is complex, the young woman having an affair with a married man, the wannabe actress, the lonely Grandmother, the guilt-ridden truck driver. The story is ultimately about relationships and how we deal with people and make life decisions.

Two characters I liked were Emma and the
On a stifling hot summers day a horrific crash occurs on the M4 and the consequences change everyone's life forever. Jonathan a surgeon is returning from a liaison with his mistress and gets caught in the crash. While doing the right thing and helping those less fortunate than himself he also knows he won't be able to keep his affair with Abi a secret much longer. Georgia an aspiring young actress is on her way to an audition flees the scene and can't live with the guilt while her agent Linda th ...more
I really liked this book. Wanted to give it 4 stars.

Its the story of life. Actually a good handful of lives. It starts with a very brief intro into the lives of various characters. Then a car crash, where 3 people are killed and multiple others injured. It covers the life of not only the persons involved in the accident, but some of their significant others and/or friends, doctors at the hospital that treated the wounded, etc.

The lies and secrets they keep. How the accident forms relationships,
I really liked this book. I didn't know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. Some of the characters stood out more than others and therefore I related to them more. Some parts dragged a little, but overall I think this was a good book.

This story is basically about the butterfly effect - a series of events puts a bunch of people on the M4 during rush hour and a terrible accident occurs when a lorry cuts across the highway and flips over the median. Three people die, scores more are inju
Margarida Cruz
Vários meses depois depois de uma enorme ansiedade e curiosidade pelo trabalho de Penny Vincenzy, eis que finalmente tive a oportunidade de a satisfazer.

Aos olhos daqueles que já conhecem as suas obras anteriores, esta obra será, certamente, melhor ou pior. Aos meus olhos, e provavelmente de todos os leitores cujo primeiro contacto com Penny Vincenzy, a escolha não podia ser mais acertada.

Confesso que, ao início, me custou a entrar na história. Parecia tudo muito confuso e um tanto-nada absurdo:
Although this took me awhile to read (hard to read when wrapping up grad school), I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it. This is the first novel I've read by Vincenzi, and am motivated to read another by her soon. She writes with such personalization and great dialogue/drama that it becomes very natural to roll imagery and vivid scenes through your mind. The characters become very real and easy to get caught up with. Reminds me of when I get all caught up with soap operas. Of the many characters ...more
Your life can change in a blink of an eye-one minute everyone is driving quite safely on crowded highway,next an 18 wheeler swerves and lives are lost or changed forever.this book follows those lives immediately before after the crash.The book is 600 pp but I did not feel that it was too long.I wanted to know how things turned out,even for those whom I did not particularly like.Perhaps some were a little too pat or "romance" like but all in all I felt that there was a rather diverse set of chara ...more
After reading the other reviews, a friend stated that she did not think this book was worth considering. I tried to explain that this is like any other story that revolves around many characters: you want one story to go on when it changes to another voice. It keeps your interest as you continue to read to find out where the story leads. I definitely enjoyed it and flew through the pages.
Another great addition to the books of Penny Vincenzi. The Best of Times takes place on a busy highway in England where a crash occurs that forever changes the lives of all involved. Including.....

A doctor and his mistress coming back from a night away.

A bride groom and best man running late to his wedding.

A young actress and a lorry driver who picks her up both trying to make it to London in time.

A woman on her way to the airport to meet her lost love from World War II.

A young doctor in A&E
I was daunted by the size, so got it on audible. I do feel like I have been conned by Audible though, as purchased the unbridged version, but thought it strange that only 5 hours long. I come to the end of the reading and it says abridged. I am now off the audible to complain! However like all Penny Vincenzi reads, although long they never drag but are full of dramas, romance and as always a happy ending with all the ends nicely tied up.
Cuca Marques
I bought this book for the title in first place. I didn't knew nothing about the author.
And then when i start reading it, i just couldn't stop. I wanted to know everything about that people, about how much did that car accident changed their lives. The story is good. It made me think, and wonder about the so called butterfly effect.
It is true, although, the final chapters are a lillte bit "too much", like the author didn't know when the story should end, or how to end it...
Anyway, i recommend th
The Best of Times is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The book tells you about the life of multiple characters that are forever changed after a motor vehicle accident on the M4 close to London. We have the doctor who is traveling with his mistress. We have the aspiring black actress catching a ride with the lorry driver. The lorry driver trying not to fall asleep behind the wheel. There is the groom trying to get to his wedding on time. The widow meeting with her lost American lover from over s ...more
The highway accident was the main event, but there were a lot of characters to manage and how they were linked together was more complex than just the accident. I admire the how the author did blend so many characters’ lives blended together in so many ways, but at times the sprawl did get to be very complicated. The author did a decent job of making all the characters feel complete enough, but then it was also about their relationships and family lives and all of that, too, and it was hard to f ...more
Another great read by Penny Vincenzi! Her characters are always soooo much fun to follow! Her books are very long, but it is because everyone is so developed and comes together so well! I hope to read another one of her books within the next two months!
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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 about Penny Vincenzi...
No Angel (The Spoils of Time, #1) Something Dangerous (The Spoils of Time, #2) Into Temptation (The Spoils of Time, #3) Sheer Abandon An Absolute Scandal

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