Absolute Scandal
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Absolute Scandal

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,441 ratings  ·  137 reviews
An inside view of the greed and social power plays behind the closed doors of upper-crust society, An Absolute Scandal looks at a world where money isn't everything . . . sometimes, it's the only thing. And when the money disappears in the thick of a financial crisis, the real story begins.For Nigel Cowper, this means the destruction of his family business; his wife, Lucin...more
ebook, 640 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2007)
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Nette
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
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
Anne
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...more
Redfox5
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
Grace
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.
Beth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Kupersmith
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
March Payne
FACT: Howards' Way was a rather dull imitation of a big glitzy US primetime soap, like Dynasty or Dallas.

FACT: An Absolute Scandal is a dull imitation of an 80s blockbuster novel like Lace or Hollywood Wives.

I was determined to finish this novel even though after the first few hundred pages I had to speed read the remainder. The basic idea is interesting, people bought together by misfortune, in this case the collaspe of Lloyds. However when those people are irritatingly toffy nosed and probably...more
Anne
'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...more
Ria
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
Alison
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...more
Vera Neves
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...more
Ashley
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;...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...more
Karen
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...more
Phoenix
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...more
Nepeta
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.
Elise
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...more
Janine
Perfect for a couple of days' beach-side escapism...I found it hard to find any sympathy for the characters initially, particularly as they had for the most part enjoyed many years of prosperity thanks to the annual 'Lloyds cheque'. However I soon found myself caught up by each character's personal story and hoping they came away (reasonably) unscathed. Loved the descriptions of '80s power-dressing, although several references to "that new hamburger place" (McDonalds) was a pretty unsubtle attem...more
JodiP
I listened to this--28 discs! But it was Roslyn Landor so it was so enjoyable. Initially, I wondered if I would come to care about all these wealthy people losing their money, but I did! I found it easy to keeptrack of all the characters and looked forward to each new installment in the car....Vincenzi's work is good brain candy; the writing is not literary, but it does clip along. Some of the events are pretty predictable, but it didn't detract too much from my enjoyment. I will read her when I...more
Cynthia
I find that I really do like this author, Penny Vincenzi. I think that I have read at least one of her other books. This book is a great Summer beach book. Lots of characters with great story lines, love (of course), conflicts, affairs - you know, all the usual. The main premise of the story is that Lloyd's of London goes down, and takes out a lot of wealthy investors. Where do they turn ?? What can they do to get out of the mess they are in ?? How can they survive ?? I would recommend this book...more
Sally Wessely
I needed a bit of chick lit reading, so I picked up this by Penny Vincenzi. It disappeared for a while until I discovered that a grandchild had been playing and hidden the book in a large urn that had a lid on it. The book is good. I am enjoying it.

After finishing the book, I have to say that I enjoyed it as much as I do any of Penny Vincenzi's books. Reading her books are a bit like reading Maeve Binchy. I always enjoy a good British romance novel.
Kate
Penny Vincenzi (the author) does an absolutely amazing job bringing her characters to life. She interweaves the story from each characters point of view and in doing so tells a great story. This book focuses on people who have lost a lot of money when a financial company goes down. Each character struggles with what they have to lose and how they are able to get through it. I am thinking about the characters even after i have finished the book.
Stephanie
Why oh why did I insist on finishing this book? Nothing much happens -- certainly nothing unexpected -- and every time I closed the book, I was surprised at how many pages I had left to slog through. Vincenzi's book has been publicized as a "summer" book, and put with "chick lit," but light beach reading it is not. Well, unless financial disaster, people with way more money than you, and working mother diatribes are your idea of beach reading.
Karetchko
I was really excited to be the first person to sign this book out from my local library branch. That said, so far it's been my least favorite book by the author. Reading about the character's financial troubles was stressful, and I only liked one or two of the characters much. I suppose it's good that the author is writing stuff that is somewhat less fluffy, but I wanted more juicy enjoyment from the book.
Kim D
Victims of 1990s Lloyds of London insurance scam lose hundreds of thousands, suffer financial/emotional losses, rebound at end.


I really liked this book. I didn't think I'd get sucked into it at first, thinking that the subject matter was just a little too similar to US banking scandals in the recent decade. However, it was a good moral along the lines of "if it sounds too good to be true" cliches.
Kataklicik
Why have I never heard of Penny Vincenzi? Despite writing from 1989, despite having written 13 books, why have I never heard of Ms Vincenzi?

You're quite the storyteller, Ms Vincenzi, I am quite taken with this book - I'd have given this one another star if not for the loose ends, the major one being : was the Lloyd's issue never resolved? The ending was too abrupt, methinks!
Stephanie
My rating is 3.5 to be exact.... this is a dramatic romance novel of sorts set in the late 80s to early 90s. The characters all had flaws that made them hardly likeable at times and the plot did have a few holes, but it was still a good read. About a group of adults who all come into each other's lives after losing tons of money to an insurer they all invested in.
Abigail Kruger
This is a great introduction to Penny Vincenzi's writting style. The characters are developed early in the book and continue to grow throughout. Vincenzi is able to keep the reader engaged as the story lines all separately breakdown and then they build themselves up again through interaction. For the book's length it is a quick and compelling read.
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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: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/4.... 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...
No Angel (The Spoils of Time, #1) Something Dangerous (The Spoils of Time, #2) Into Temptation (The Spoils of Time, #3) The Best Of Times Sheer Abandon

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