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No Angel

Penny Vincenzi

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Orion Books Ltd

Published : 2000

Copyright : Penny Vincenzi 2000

ISBN-10 : PB 0-75284-310-9
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-75284-310-0

Publisher's Write-Up


Celia Lytton, strong-willed, tough and courageous, moves through life making difficult and often dangerous decisions - with the most far-reaching consequences for everyone...

For her husband, Oliver, head of the great family publishing house of Lyttons; for Sylvia Miller, whose life of relentless poverty is transformed by Celia's intrusion; for Oliver's daunting elder sister, who is not all she appears to be; and for author Sebastian Brooke, with whom Celia makes the most dangerous decision of all.

From the Edwardian era, to the First World War and finally the outrageous glamour of the twenties, No Angel is a powerful story of divided loyalties, family politics and moral dilemmas.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (300601) Rating (7/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
This was one of a pair of books which I picked up to take away on holiday with me. I had never read any of Penny Vincenzi's books, but thought that they would be easy reading for relaxing while Nigel was recovering from his hangovers. (Nigel is not a morning person, and I tend to find myself with a couple of hours in a morning when he is dead to the world but I have time to read).

No Angel is the story of Celia, a headstrong woman of the early part of the century, a forerunner of the modern emancipated woman I suppose. Celia has a habit of arranging events to suit herself, as we see right from the beginning when she deliberately gets pregnant in order to be able to marry someone that her parents do not really feel is suitable for her station in life.

Her quarry is Oliver, who is from a publishing family, whereas she is from one of the old aristocratic families. They are very much in love, and Celia finds that she wants to participate in the business, and against Oliver's objections, she finds that she is really rather good at it all.

When the First World War breaks out, Oliver volunteers and goes off to France, fighting in the trenches, Celia is pregnant but does not tell him because he will worry. Celia and Oliver's sister run the publishing house, trying to maintain the business in the face of mounting business pressures. Oliver eventually returns from the war but is a changed man. Celia finds this very difficult to accept, and becomes personally involved with an author whose book she releases.

It all gets very difficult for her, being an unfaithful wife, she finds the conflicts between marriage vows and personal happiness difficult. Celia is a nice lady and you can feel for her how difficult it all is, it was not the done thing to be divorced, especially among the upper classes, and the way that she is expected to live causes a great deal of strain for her.

It is interesting to read about the early part of the century and find out about the way that women had to live, and it is of particular interest to realise the effect that the First World War had on the issue of women's rights in England. Women took on that the jobs while the men were away but were expected to return to being housewives when they came home again. You can imagine how that went down, and can see that being given the vote went only a small way to compensating them for the effort made.

The book is good, and is excellent holiday reading but I felt that I got quite annoyed with Celia because she vacillates terribly towards the end, and you just want her to make her decision and get on with her life, but much is made of the indecision she faces.

All does end well, and perhaps not in the way that you expect, but that is of no detriment.
Chrissi (30th June 2001)

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