An Absolute scandal by Penny Vincenzi is the biggest novel ( in size , about 900 pages) i have read in recent times.. Honestly my reading appetite had gone down drastically after marriage and baby . I picked this book with so much of self doubt, whether i would be able to read it despite its volume .. To my surprise , I finished reading the book mainly because i liked it :P .. So here is my review...
Set during the boom-and-bust years of the 1980s, An Absolute Scandal follows the lives of a group of people drawn together by their mutual monetary woes when the great financial institution Lloyd's undergoes a devastating downturn. This book centres around the true events of Lloyds of London basically collapsing and what it does to the people who had invested in them. Apparently this was a huge scandal in the late 80's and devastated a lot of people. People who had invested were required by their contract to pay Lloyd's if Lloyd's was experiencing a loss.....and they had to keep paying for years!
For Nigel Cowper, this means the destruction of his family business; his wife, Lucinda, is willing to do everything she can to help him—except give up her irresistible lover. The powerful, charismatic banker Simon Beaumont and his wife, a highly successful advertising executive, lose everything they worked so hard to acquire; but the ultimate tragedy is something that neither one could have anticipated. The well-to-do are not the only ones suffering: a self-sufficient widow is suddenly deep in debt; a single mother struggles to maintain a comfortable home for her children; and a schoolmaster and his frustrated wife find that financial problems deepen the cracks in their troubled marriage. As their lives begin a downward spiral, these characters intersect in ways they never saw coming.
Keeping a track of all the characters was a little difficult in the beginning but once you get deep into the story, it gets easier. Simon Beaumont's character is well portrayed. Of all the characters that come in the book, his is the best. You almost fall for his charisma and class. Sometimes I felt his character is bordering towards being a womanizer. :P And when he dies , I really felt so bad . But it was hard to believe Simon dies in an yachting mishap and such experienced yachtsman wouldn't have a safety harness .. I didn't like Lucinda's character for some reason (could be for leaving Nigel for Blue ) . The author made adultery so common in the book. There are so many that it's a little difficult to recall just who has committed adultery with whom. :P
The author has definitely succeeded in sustaining our interests with her lucid writing and intertwining plots. However, I was hoping to get more insight on the scandal. But the scandal is a mere excuse to get the characters together. We also don't get to know what happens of the law suit against Lloyds.. The author merely concentrates on the drama and aims to get happy ending for all of them.
If you want to read a frivolous, carefree book for the entire holiday without finishing it in 2 days, this book is for you.