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A Rather Lovely Inheritance (PENNY NICHOLS) Paperback – January 2, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: PENNY NICHOLS (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451220528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451220523
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Belmond gets her story off to an appealing start by tapping into the near-universal fantasy of a distant, elderly relative leaving behind a pile of loot. Penny Nichols (yes, she hates her silly name) is toiling as a low-paid historical researcher on film sets when she learns her Great-aunt Penelope—whom she met only once—has died and left her, well, something. Her parents dispatch her to London for the reading of the will, where she is reintroduced to her dashing cousin Jeremy. Penny gets left the contents of a garage adjoining her aunt's villa in the south of France and travels there with Jeremy to discover it contains a rare antique car. It doesn't take long for the family to split into factions competing for greater shares of the estate, which provides the narrative with an oversize share of twists and turns, especially concerning Jeremy's true parentage. It's evident from the moment of Penny and Jeremy's first encounter as adults that they will end up together, and the thin obstacles the author places between them quickly become tedious. Luckily, Belmond's spirited heroine is likable enough to guide readers through the wobbly plot. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The heroine of Belmond's first outing, the improbably named Penny Nichols, finds herself an heiress after her great aunt Penelope dies. Penny flies to London for the reading of Penelope's will and is met by her dashing cousin Jeremy, a barrister. Jeremy receives Penelope's luxurious French villa, while Penny is given her London flat and the contents of the villa's garage. Although their feckless cousin Rollo is well provided for, too, he is envious of his cousins' inheritances and drops a bombshell: Jeremy might not be a blood relation. The revelation sends Jeremy into a depressive funk, causing him to withdraw from Penny, who becomes determined to discover the truth. As she starts to dig into the family's history, the mystery takes her back several generations, and she realizes the connections among them all are more complex than she ever could have imagined. An entertaining yarn with family drama and intrigue aplenty. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

C.A. Belmond is a novelist, scriptwriter, lyricist, and poet. Awarded the Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship and a Pushcart Editors' Book Award nomination, Belmond's author website is: www.cabelmond.com.

Customer Reviews

Romance and mystery are always a good combination.
It was full of cliche, many sentences didn't make sense but you could tell the author couldn't resist using some adjective she was dying to employ.
Steve Hobbs
From the day I first held this book in my hands, I could barely wait to read it.
Grace Brigette Francis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on April 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
It is a lovely little book but it's very typical of chick lit these days ~~ a young woman struggling to make ends meet meets Mr. Wonderful, falls in love, comes into a pile of loot, travels across Europe to find out some deep secret and everything ends very happily. Don't get me wrong ~~ I read these books often enough for two reasons, it's fluffy and it's entertaining. It's perfect for a busy mom's life when she doesn't have time to do anything else ...

This book focuses on Penny Nichols, a young woman who is very interested in history. She was on location when she received word that her great-aunt had died, leaving her an antique car and a gorgeous flat in London. Her cousins also received lush gifts too, but that's where the fun begins. There is a chase across Europe in search of a missing item, a missing relative and all that fun stuff.

This book rated a three simply because it's very predictable ~~ and there was no suspense built up to keep the reader interested. There's barely any interesting historical fact listed ~~ and it's just a fluffy book written to be amusingly entertaining. It's perfect book to take to the beach or on the long plane ride, or reading while surrounded by young kids who interrupt your reading every five minutes!

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Grace Brigette Francis on April 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
From the day I first held this book in my hands, I could barely wait to read it. It drew me in somehow with its very pretty and tasteful cover. But because something told me it would be good, I forced myself to save it until I'd have time to savour it properly. I began it one evening shortly before going to a restaurant with a friend. I took it with me, and the meal lasted at least twice as long as usual. Just as well my friend had a book too. I guess it was a literary dinner. I turned page after page, trying not to soil them with splashes of soup or spaghetti sauce. Need I mention that I finished it that same evening?

Penny, having inherited a garage in the south of France, discovers that the situation is far more complex than anyone knows. In a stunning sequence of action, the author kept me riveted as mysterious secrets came to light in an endless flow of family history, hidden affairs, alternate bloodlines, art theft, and continual savvy comments on life in the modern age. Just when I thought there were no more surprises, the next one would pop up - whether in London, Paris, Rome, the French Riviera, or on the journey somewhere in between. In fact, this is as much a mystery as it is a romance, combining both in leaps and bounds that vary between hilarity and mortal danger, yet always hopeful and with good humour.

This is delightfully written, light-hearted and sharp, witty and sassy, rather more like a movie than a book. It wasn't just the happy ending that satisfied me - it was the thoroughly enjoyable process of getting there and seeing each scene through the author's imaginative eye. Landscapes, cities, countries spring out of the pages.

I also very much enjoyed the author interview included at the back, and noted with pleasure that she claims swimming in the Mediterranean invariably prods her inspiration to write!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christine Mccreedy on July 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
Whenever the promotional material for a particular book includes the words "reading of a will, double lives, secret histories and a family tree" I am instantly drawn in. Mystery and adventure are sure to follow. Belmond sets the story of Penny Nichols an American abroad in Europe and takes the reader back to the twenties and thirties, through family photo graphs, here-say and good solid historical investigation. Of course Penny comes by investigation naturally, she is a historical researcher.

Recently deceased Aunt Penelope provides an inheritance which allows Penny to use her skills. The inheritance, however, is threatened by other family members claiming various scenarios should deny both her and her life long friend and English cousin that which Aunt Penelope wanted them to receive. Discoveries in Aunt Penelopy's homes, strange happenings in the night, and family secrets about her cousins parentage push Penny to investigate Aunt Pennelopy's full life during the second world war and after. What Penny discovers is Aunt Penelope's life although appearing carefree and scandalous was really a life of giving to others from beginning to end.

Belmond allows Penny to stumble through her family history much as a beginner would. Although Penny is a historical researcher her baliwick is not genealogy. She sticks to family sources and heirlooms to uncover connections. She appears to not know about the existence genealogy sources from the second world war that would have provided her with some answers. Alas, her knowledge of history allows her to contact an art historian which provides the answers that bring Penny's inheritance into real focus. I enjoyed learning more about the history of how famous artists taught their students to paint.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Steele Agosta on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book simply because I liked the cover art (kudos to Helen Chapman). The first chapter made me wonder if this was going to be chick lit (which I don't care for, since the main characters tend to be shallow and annoying), but instead I became really charmed by Penny Nichols and her adventures.

I was a bit thrown by the mention of the Penny Nichols mystery stories, since I knew there really was a series of novels with that name written in the 1930's - my mom owned Penny Nichols and the Black Imp - but by then I was rolling along in the story and curious to know how it turned out.

The choice of settings was a big part of the fun. C.A. Belmond's descriptions made them seem very real and made me want to be there, in a way reminiscent of Rosamund Pilcher's "September". The story, however, is a lot more light-hearted and humorous. I had a hard time putting the book down, but also didn't want to swallow it up in one gulp. It's the kind of book you can savor. I kept thinking, oh, I must loan this to my sister, only when I offered to, she turned out to have already purchased it! So I think the appeal of the cover is really strong, and the appeal of the story and characters (I love Penny's parents!) is also strong.

Congratulations to C.A. Belmond on her first novel. First of many, I hope! This book would make a rather lovely beach read but, considering I read it over two rainy days at home, makes a good read any time.
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