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.)
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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 himhis 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