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

(The Spoils of Time #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,250 ratings  ·  597 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 Harry N. Abrams (first published January 1st 2000)
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Gea try rutshire chronicles by jilly cooper. they're also big, fat books. :)

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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  6,250 ratings  ·  597 reviews

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Kim Allen-Niesen
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-in-2010
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
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pub-2000
“No Angel” is a bit of ‘by the numbers’ Downtonabbeyesque family saga about a woman who generally always gets what she wants.

It’s filled with near-misses, coincidences and last-minute saves. Every chapter ends on a cliff-hanger but it’s easy to identify the characters whom the author will always spare and the stakes never feel very high. It’s kinda fun to read even if the structure is a little repetitive.

The research doesn’t impress with the richness of detail – it seems as if the author just r
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
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.[]" 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
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
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:

Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
May 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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!!!
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
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Downton Abbey and/or historical fiction fans
Recommended to Charity by: Secret Santa gift from Mandy
Shelves: sidebar-gifts
What a brilliant introduction to the Lytton family! I was quickly absorbed in their saga -- so much drama, deception, delight, and devastation -- in London during the years, 1904-1920 (verrrry Downton Abbey-esque). I loved some characters, then despised them, then loved them again. I felt my heart pounding as I flipped through the pages during some of the more dramatic moments in the story (and there were many!). And, of course, I was completely smitten reading about the triumphs, trials, and tr ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars. A friend gave me this to read when she started clearing out her bookshelf. Very happy she did.
I’m drawn to historical fiction, so this WWI era was a great match for me. I really enjoyed reading the story of Lady Celia and LM is they came to the forefront at the Lytton publishing company during WWI. Family conflicts, class conflicts, personal turmoil...this saga has all of these.
At times it was a bit overly consumed with trying to build suspense, but I certainly enjoyed this one and
Jun 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-the-good
I can't quite put my finger on it but there was something about this novel that made it feel very different from Something Dangerous. I think it had something to do with the characters, though. As I begin to think about it I realize the characters seem different because we're looking at them in a new light. So no matter what order you read the books in, prepare for a bit of change.

There was still something about No Angel that made it less enjoyable than Something Dangerous and think it's partial
Nov 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tara Chevrestt
Sep 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Ally Wampler
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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?
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Alayne Emmett
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. This is the third time I’ve read this book, it’s the first in a trilogy and each time i read them it’s like I’m reading them for the first time. You can just lose yourself in the story. A really lovely read.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the book is set in the same time period as Downton Abbey and hits the same historical events, it is much more soap opera.
It was annoying that the story was to often unnaturally forced with squeezed in (too many) vital, crucial moments before a life-changing decision.
Everything was hyper-dramatic in the book - from the characters to the plot. Too much of obviousness, predictability and contradictions.
Nonetheless it is an OK read; easy read.
Mary Claire
More like 3.5 stars. It was great most of the times, but the last third was too much for me and dampened my enjoyment a little. Not enough, though, that I won't continue with this series. It was well written and a great mix between drama, historic and calmness. And it was only the last third that wasn't really to my liking. Not that I hated it, I just didn't like it too much and thought the outcome of the story could have been achieved on a slightly different way. And the finally felt a bid rush ...more
Sylvia Maccarrone
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really did enjoy this book but it was too big of a book. Looking forward to part 2 & 3. ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This is not the type of book I usually read, but I am on a World War One kick, and this story is set during that time period. I will admit, I am a book snob, and this was a little on the soap opera side for me. That being said, I think it was a good story, and the author did a fantastic job of building suspense. There were times I couldn't put it down. The story is about a publishing family, mainly Lady Celia, who marries into the family and then becomes an integral part of the company. She is s ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 21, 2015 11:18AM  

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Her family, Headline and her agent Clare Alexander are sad to announce the death of their beloved Penny Vincenzi who died peacefully on February 25th.

At the launch of her 19th book, A Question of Trust, last year, Penny said: “If nobody buys it, it will be my last book; otherwise, no, I don’t want it to be my last book … I still love writing and the whole process.” And at the time of her death Pen

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)

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