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Extended Audio Sample An Absolute Scandal: A Novel, by Penny Vincenzi Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,062 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Penny Vincenzi Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2008 ISBN: 9781415949191
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Penny Vincenzi, master of the contemporary blockbuster, returns with a moving, engaging portrait of people coping with a notorious financial disaster and its unpredictable emotional repercussions.

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.

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. Written in what has become her signature style of both wit and candor, Penny Vincenzi draws back the curtain and offers an inside view of the greed and social power plays that occur behind the closed doors of upper-crust society...where money isn't everything. Sometimes, it's the only thing.

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Quotes & Awards

  • ABSOLUTE RAVES FOR SHEER ABANDON
  • Everything is outsized in Vincenzi’s fiction: sex, money, personality, emotions, plot. And yet she gets all the details—about human behavior and women’s conflicted lives—just right. USA Today
  • Penny Vincenzi is poised to fill a gap in the American realm of Cinderella fiction. With so few current writers able to summon the quaint allure of such women’s fiction without stooping to sensationalism, Ms. Vincenzi really is an anomaly. Janet Maslin, New York Times
  • “Soap opera? You bet – but with her well drawn characters and engaging style, Vincenzi keeps things humming. Joanne Kaufman, People

    “Transcends the testosterone-drenched nature of a typical thriller, delivering vivid female characters through crisp, clean prose and in-depth coverage of their relationships, families and personal anxieties . . . fascinating. Sheer Abandon is what the British call hammock reading: a brick of a book to while away a country afternoon or two.
  • “Penny Vincenzi’s Sheer Abandon is the work of a master, offering a large cast of amazingly three-dimensional characters involved in an expertly manipulated plot . . . Full of snappy dialogue and provocative moral implications, Vincenzi’s novel makes it very hard not to care. Marion Winik, Newsday

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Reba N. | 2/19/2014

    " Lots of characters so I'm glad for the cast list at the start of the book but really moves along well. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bill | 2/13/2014

    " Too long and too much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellie Revert | 2/11/2014

    " Great summer read! We have spent a fair amount of time in England, and have heard about the Lloyd's of London travesty--this helps and I will google to learn more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanne | 2/11/2014

    " I love Penny Vincenzi. Excelloent escape reading. She makes you feel right at home in Britain. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Omnia Kadura | 2/5/2014

    " Extremely long .. yet worth every paper cut , it taught me patience and the value of the company of books , shared a crazy year with this book in my bag all the time , i practically lived 2 lives , the real world & penny's world "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adriana Hauser | 1/31/2014

    " My very favorite from all the Penny Vincenzi books! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynda Kelly | 1/26/2014

    " I've always enjoyed her books-very easy reading ! And they're usually tremendous value for money as they're HUGE books !! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bess | 1/25/2014

    " Okay, but not as good as her other books "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/20/2014

    " Why oh why did I insist on finishing this book? Nothing much happens -- certainly nothing unexpected -- and every time I closed the book, I was surprised at how many pages I had left to slog through. Vincenzi's book has been publicized as a "summer" book, and put with "chick lit," but light beach reading it is not. Well, unless financial disaster, people with way more money than you, and working mother diatribes are your idea of beach reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenny | 1/15/2014

    " This book was ok...nothing spectacular, and even a bit cumbersome at times. Wouldn't recommend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Flavia | 1/14/2014

    " Interesting could be the word. Definitely compelling, otherwise I wouldn't have read such a big book in such short time, though the subject is not compelling for me (finance and so forth). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 1/9/2014

    " 3.5 Again I really like her style and character development. I just wish she could tell the story with fewer pages. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 12/26/2013

    " I felt this book kind of waffled on then dribbled out at the end. I mean, what happened to the court case that was such a big part of the first half? She's written better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lucy | 12/10/2013

    " It got me through a 23-hour train ride. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tina | 11/15/2013

    " Her trilogy still holds out as her best books. That may also be because I read them first. This had a different plot but similar themes- surprise death, many affairs. I still enjoyed it and will continue to read her others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa Kayden | 10/19/2013

    " I'm a big fan of Vincenzi and this one wasn't bad! I was skeptical about reading a novel/drama about the financial markets but the characters were likeable and even though it was 400+ pages, I breezed through it. Would definitely recommend it, as well as her others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sgitt2214 | 10/18/2013

    " took a little while to get into, but once I did I could not put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ange | 8/22/2013

    " bloody long but god it was good, appropriate that I read it just after the 2008 crash "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gemma | 7/5/2013

    " In a word this book is too long by about 300 pages, i'm used to her longer stories but i'm usually kept captivated (sheer abandon for example) i only finished this to tie up the loose ends and not because it was a 'page turner'. Its a shame! only read this if you have a spare month!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 5/23/2013

    " A fun read for the train, but not my favorite Vincenzi. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paige | 1/19/2013

    " I really enjoy Penny Vincenzi's books. But as always, she has so many characters. I always have to go back to the front of the book where thankfully she has listed all of them out...But other than that, a great book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 susan funk | 12/8/2012

    " was an ok book..not actually my kind of reading but good enough now onto another "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristy | 11/24/2012

    " Not the best Vincenzi...a little slow at the beginning, but its still a good story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue | 7/1/2012

    " Funny and easy to read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Max | 5/4/2012

    " How the meltdown at Lloyds affected families. Very realistic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lissa | 9/23/2011

    " Amazing novel. I read in within a week. I was hooked with at the beginning. A definately must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A.J. Barnett | 9/9/2011

    " Another great story from a great story-teller. As usual, a BIG read. I don't know how she does it. She must be exhausted by the time she's finished writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A.J. | 5/23/2011

    " Another great story from a great story-teller. As usual, a BIG read. I don't know how she does it. She must be exhausted by the time she's finished writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dianne | 4/29/2011

    " This book kept my interest all the way through. I could not wait to find out the end. The characters and events are quite interesting and even captivating.
    I only gave it a 3, however, because I didn't really like the way it ended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ange | 4/28/2011

    " bloody long but god it was good, appropriate that I read it just after the 2008 crash "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paige | 4/27/2011

    " I really enjoy Penny Vincenzi's books. But as always, she has so many characters. I always have to go back to the front of the book where thankfully she has listed all of them out...But other than that, a great book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Manu | 4/26/2011

    " omg. it was and absolute scandal trying to read this alright! lol! i mean there were so many things going on i was just like "wait..... huh slow down" but i the end i was in tears! but i loved how Blue and Lucinda ended up together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mom | 3/31/2011

    " Set in the last days of England's Thatcher era, story of the fall of several rich families who invested in Lloyds parallels recent economic conditions in US. Very readable, soap opera style pacing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 susan | 3/18/2011

    " was an ok book..not actually my kind of reading but good enough now onto another "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eliza | 2/19/2011

    " I picked this up off a friends bookshelf when I didnt know what to read and My gosh I was hooked. Penny's writing style was so easy to read and relate to I really enjoyed this novel! Very interesting plot and chaacters too, Worth the time I think. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nicole DC | 2/17/2011

    " I tried to get into this book as I had read another of Penny Vincenzi's books and remembered enjoying it, but when it took me a week to read 100 pages, and I found myself glancing around the room in boredom whenever I finally gave up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 2/3/2011

    " I'm a big fan of Vincenzi and this one wasn't bad! I was skeptical about reading a novel/drama about the financial markets but the characters were likeable and even though it was 400+ pages, I breezed through it. Would definitely recommend it, as well as her others.

    "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 William | 2/1/2011

    " Too long and too much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/23/2011

    " Am re-reading this - have to re-read my Vincenzis every so often! Good escapism, don't need to think about it, just wallow and enjoy! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea | 12/15/2010

    " Penny Vincenzi is a great author- never has written a bad book, in my opinion. I LOVE long family sagas and this one was great! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lauren | 7/29/2010

    " This is the book that never ends. I could not believe how long it took the last 200 pages to pass. It's a shame too since I really was enjoying the first 400 or so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Siddy | 5/19/2010

    " some parts of it did drag on but loved it :D "

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