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The Dilemma Hardcover – October 4, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover (October 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585679496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585679492
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 6.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,821,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The prologue to this robust, complex family drama-first published in the U.K. in 1996 by the bestselling author of Sheer Abandon-finds wealthy, charismatic entrepreneur Isambard Channing forced to ask his much younger third wife, Francesca, to say he wasn't in London that day. If she won't, it's likely that Bard will be ruined and imprisoned. The story then jumps backwards to 1982, when Francesca, at 21, writes to magnate Isambard after he appears on TV. After a five-year extended courtship, she becomes his third wife. The marriage is soon tested by Bard's rages, his vindictive adult son, his reticence on business matters and the couple's sick infant daughter. At page 385, the book arrives at the prologue scene: Bard's business practices catch up with him, putting him, for the first time, in Francesca's power-and deliciously so. Fans of Sheer Abandon, prepared to read at Vincenzi's demanding scale, will find all of her plotting and characterization skills serving a familiar but very satisfying story. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

One of Britain's most dynamic real-estate moguls, Bard Channing is so arrogant, ruthless, and egotistical, he makes Donald Trump look like Mr. Rogers. Verbally abusive and dismissive of everyone around him, Channing saves his special brand of venom for those closest to him—his third wife, Francesca, and his grown children. Maligning the people who need you the most is never a wise thing to do, but in Channing's case, such alienation has disastrous consequences. When an official investigation into the corporation's finances threatens, at the very least, to bankrupt Channing, Bard begs Francesca to lie for him. Whether she will or not is only one of the dilemmas at the heart of Vincenzi's ambitious debut novel. Originally published in the UK in 1996, it is now being offered to her growing American fan base. Although it would have benefited from some judicious editing, it nonetheless categorically establishes Vincenzi's mastery of intricate plots and large, if stereotypical, casts of characters. Readers who have recently discovered Vincenzi (Sheer Abandon, 2007) will delight at being able to go back to her beginnings, while those who have yet to read her will welcome getting in on the ground floor. Haggas, Carol

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Customer Reviews

This 600+ pages book is so tedious, repetitive and boring.
Cathy
If there is absolutely no printed matter available and you have absolutely nothing to do for several days, read this book.
happy reader
I love her books, but it got a little boring about half way through the book - not her best.
reader/love reading

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Carol Madsen on October 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Dilemma was my first book by Penny Vincenzi, which, in fact, made me seek a chance to read all the books she wrote. Franchesca, a smart and independent woman, when marries an overpowering real-estate tycoon Bard Channing confronts his possessive and selfish attitude to save her marriage and love. You start reading one story, but gradually with all various absorbing plot strings ultimately find yourself reading several stories at a time that do not distract you from the main line. It is not at all like a typical romance story centered round the only perfect woman, which in the end gets what she wants like in Danielle Steel's novels. A true-to-life narration involves a great number of diverse characters, which are not episodic, but integral, especially, Kate, a sensual and vivacious red-haired girl being confused and misled in her life by her tycoon-father's blind rage and trying to re-establish herself and regain her self-esteem. The reading is such a mellow and pleasant experience, which spares you the biggest fear of a reader that the pleasure will end up all too soon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on December 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Overlook Press was the first American publisher to introduce the novels of Penny Vincenzi, a bestselling author in her native England, to American audiences. Although U.S. readers have yet to give Vincenzi the attention she deserves, her most recent novels have garnered the attention of a major U.S. publisher, Doubleday. Overlook Press, however, has continued its efforts to bring Vincenzi's backlist to American readers, and their latest endeavor is to release Vincenzi's debut novel (originally published in 1996) to the United States for the first time.

At the start of THE DILEMMA, Francesca is a young and ambitious, but still rather insecure, woman at the very beginning of her career. In an act of bravado, she responds to a televised "advertisement for a wife" delivered by business tycoon Bard Channing. It takes several years of miscommunications, missed opportunities and many missteps before she is finally able to take up the charismatic Channing on his offer of marriage.

Despite the wealth, fame and luxury afforded her by becoming Mrs. Isembard Channing, Francesca experiences difficulties adjusting to her new life. She's passionately in love with her husband, of course, but the ambitious Francesca has a hard time giving up her own prominent career in advertising in order to be a full-time wife and, soon, mother.

The fact that Bard categorically refuses to share anything about his business with his new wife, let alone hear her advice on professional matters, doesn't make things any easier. Nor do Bard's four children from his two previous marriages, who view Francesca with varying levels of tolerance, ridicule, bitterness and disdain.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marcia on November 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read Penny Vincenzi's trilogy and loved it. The Dilema was disappointing for me. Maybe it was a little too soap operaish?
There were times it just kept going on and on and I wanted it over.
Francesca was not an appealing character at all. A woman in this day and age giving up her career because hubby wanted this? Please! Francesca never seemed to know what she wanted. Bard was so tyrannical with his family and employees that it was scary. Lots of character and lots of story lines so it does keep you interested. I stuck with this to the end because I did want to see what happened. However, did not like it as much as her other books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By happy reader VINE VOICE on June 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
You can read it ....I had always considered Penny Vincenzi my very favorite author but The Dilemma was a real disappointment. Wordy is an understatement.....the story could have been completely told in far less pages. Like the Energizer bunny....it just kept going and going and going.. with so many characters it was hard to keep track. I know this was her first novel and apparently she got MUCH better as she went along. If there is absolutely no printed matter available and you have absolutely nothing to do for several days, read this book. Otherwise, you'll be forever reading it....if you stay with it that long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris on February 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
I just finished this book and have read several of her others ones, including the entire Lytton "trilogy." This was just one available at the library I hadn't read. It does include the author's ability to have a lot of characters, easy dialogue and the story moves along so it isn't a difficult read, but the problem I had with this one compared to her others is that the plot was almost a little too confusing and several of the characters all seemed alike (some of the men). But the main thing I didn't like about it was the main character was not very likeable (Francesca) and the problems in her marriage seemed contrived/forced.

But the biggest issue is that one of the main plots was really rather sordid and disgusting, and I think it was stooping too low. I don't want to spoil the plot, but it made the entire story and ending which wrapped things up unbelievable.

I know the author wanted sensationalism, but this was too much. I would not recommend this book, her others are better.
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