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Scandalous Risks Mass Market Paperback – October 21, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book we have the only female narrator in the entire series, and the only non-clergyman. Venetia is a rebellious society woman who discovers a completely new dimension to herself when she falls in love with her dear "Mr Dean" - Neville Ayesgarth, the married Dean of Starbridge Cathedral. He too is carried away and it is quite alarming how both of they live in a cloud of self-deception as to the nature of their relationship... and more than once while reading this book the Clinton-Lewinsky affair came to my mind - especially when the question arises as to whether or not they have technically committed adultery.
This story takes place in the 60's, and is the first in the second trilogy; the first trilogy was set in the 30's and 40's so now the three major protagonists of those books are a greta deal older. Mr Dean could be Venetia's father, and in fact his daughter is her best friend, which only adds to the delusion (mostly HIS) that the relationship is mainly spiritual in nature.
I feel that of all the Starbridge books, this one works as well as a stand-alone as part of a series, and for anyone who would like a taste of post-saga Howatch but is not quite decided whether or not to plunge into an entire six-book series, I would recommend this one. Another great book for our online discussion group!
Neville Aysgarth is a classic study in self-deception - one of genuine faith, but blinded both by perceived personal needs and the desire to defend a Liberal Modernism credo. Susan Howatch brilliantly sets forth, in this character, how such conflict can not only justify behaviour one would insist was immoral with a clear vision, but glorify it by linking it to a supposed "higher ideal" which differs from the norm. The non-religious who thrive on characterisation will have ample food for thought in the depiction of Aysgarth's bizarre marriage.
Venetia, young, intelligent, and restless, provides the themes of the intense drives to find spiritual and sexual fulfillment. Though the reader is tempted to see from the beginning that Venetia's affair with Aysgarth is doomed to be a catastrophe, there is more to this than "love is blind" cliches. Aysgarth's intense personality, and brilliant (if flawed) integration of his self-deception with theological concepts, makes it both understandable and tragic that Venetia can both find the affair exciting and be led to believe that certain of its aspects are indicative of an extraordinary religious commitment and morality on Aysgarth's part.Read more ›
One real-life book becomes the focus for doing what you want as long as you do it with love, per a leadingAnglican bishop of the day...I was a basket case by the end of this book and that is the ultimate compliment. Had you given me the premise of the book as I've written above, I doubt I would have even read it, wondering why I'd want to read about a 26 year old and a 60year old. I'm so glad I'd made the commitment to read the whole series because this is one of the best novels I've ever read. Since this book packs an emotional wallop that far exceeds the first three books in the series, and since it is the only one involving a female narrator, I can't help but wonder if some or all of it happened to Howatch herself.
Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the 4th in the series of 6 of the Howatch series. All are deeply interrelated, but with each one derives a much more complex view of each of the characters. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Philip Wells
The whole series is tremendous and 'unputdownable' for anyone with even the slightest theological interest in the Anglican Church. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Julia D
"SCANDALOUS RISKS", the fourth novel in the Starbridge Series set in the English town of Starbridge, begins in 1988 with the reappearance there of Venetia Flaxton, a woman... Read morePublished 18 months ago by KOMET
Really like this entire series, which I am rereading. Psychological mysteries with theological history and Church of England settings. Great reading for Anglophiles.Published 21 months ago by Litfan
All of Susan Howatch books are in the end potboilers featuring Christians and academics losing themselves then coming back for redemption. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Richard Schwindt
Susan Howatch is a master story teller. Her entire six book series, including "Scandalous Risks" is a extremely well written. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Karen Hunter
I read most of Susan Howatch's books back in the 90's but gave it a break then found her when I was looking for something different to read. Read morePublished on January 23, 2014 by Margaret
The only other book in the series that I read was Ultimate Prizes which I enjoyed. This book is not as good, it is told from the perspective of a sheltered 26 year old woman who... Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by Michelle M
I have enjoyed this entire series by Susan Howatch. Being a minister, I have enjoyed the theological insights and historical perspective of the Church of England.Published on August 20, 2013 by Patrick N. Stotu