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The Decision by Penny Vincenzi

The Decision

by Penny Vincenzi

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1792594,314 (3.36)4



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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This saga started off boring, then became too much like a soap opera; but it turned out to have good character development and an interesting story line. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
This was an interesting story to listen to as we follow the social circles of all the characters involved. Not only do we get an up close look at Eliza's life, but we also get to see things from Matt's perspective as well. Getting to know Matt and Eliza's siblings was like the icing on the cake.

After Eliza ends an engagement, she finds herself falling in love with Matt, a self-made entrepreneur. A whirlwind romance results in a wedding between the two, leaving Eliza compromising the life she led up until now. She has been very successful in the magazine industry, but Matt does not believe a wife should work outside the home. She does hold onto her job for some time, but with the arrival of children Matt demands she stay home as his children will not be raised by nannies.

Besides the relationship issues between Matt and Eliza, we also follow Matt's sister Scarlet's love life. I think the best way to describe Scarlet is to say she has been unlucky in love. She has a tendency to choose and fall in love with married men. Scarlet is such a sweet young lady and the reader can't help but desire that she finally finds a man that will give her the love she so richly deserves.

Circumstances eventually spin out of control within Eliza and Matt's marriage, leaving them both seeking a divorce. Through their marriage, they opened themselves to each other's family members, making the separation that much more painful. Things will never be the same between the two families.

Landor did a great job of narrating this novel. I loved how she took on different personalities and voices for the characters. Every now and then when a man was speaking, I thought there was a different narrator that was actually a man! With themes of love, betrayal, fashion, and high society this novel was very enjoyable to listen to. This book gets my recommendation as a great novel to pick up for personal leisure and listening pleasure. ( )
  jo-jo | Sep 2, 2012 |
I love Penny Vincenzi, though I can’t tell you exactly why.

Part of it is the rich world she delivers. I know little about London in the 1960s, or about fashion magazines, or about real estate, but I was immediately drawn into Eliza and Matt’s lives. I enjoyed reading about how they flit in and out of each others’ lives before they marry. I also liked seeing the social changes happening in the world during that time period.

A larger part of it is the dialogue. Vincenzi relies heavily upon dialogue to tell her story, with some sections having no exposition at all. It can get confusing at times — there were a few sections where it took a paragraph or two before I was certain who was speaking — but her dialogue is so natural and effortless that I couldn’t summon a care.

As for the characters, there are definitely a lot. Not only are there Eliza and Matt and their respective families, but several friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. Each of them works to show a different aspect of the story; no one is superfluous. I liked both Eliza and Matt, and could see each of their points of view, but I definitely thought Matt was a bit too boorish. I understand that Vincenzi was trying to root him solidly in out-dated mid-century views, but sometimes his bull-headedness was a bit overdone. But I guess it balances out when you consider how ridiculously helpless Eliza is at times. You can see why they were attracted to each other, but you can also see that it was doomed from the start.

That all may sound like I really have a beef with the book, but I definitely did not. I loved this, from beginning to end. It was an absolute joy to read. It made me think, and it made me feel, and I’m not sure what more you can ask for. ( )
  miyurose | Aug 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found this book to be a pretty frustrating read. While the storyline was good, I can't say I'm a fan of Vincenzi's writing style. She divided the book into three major parts rather than chapters. I've never read anything else by this author, so I'm not sure if this is the norm for her other works. There are a lot of characters to follow in the beginning. Fortunately, Vincenzi does narrow this down a bit as we get into the meat of the story. I think what made switching between character point of views confusing for me is the fact that Vincenzi often starts each paragraph with dialogue. Often I would read about three or four paragraphs of dialogue before any characters were named, causing me to go back and reread to understand what was going on.

What I also found frustrating was Eliza's situation. She is trapped in an abusive marriage in a time where women are only just beginning to be able to make careers for themselves. It was difficult to watch her husband, Matt, belittle her wants and needs again and again; all the while making it seem that SHE is the one who is being unfair. The feminist in me wanted to punch Matt in the throat throughout most of the book.

Matt wasn't the only bad one. All the characters seemed to have their good and their bad points. Nobody was portrayed as perfect. In fact, they all made some pretty bad decisions over the course of the story. This is probably why I just couldn't find it in me to invest much emotion into any of them. ( )
  brittanygates | Jul 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This novel is essentially a historical family drama à la The Tea Rose, only not quite as good. Vincenzi's details of 1960s England are great, but I was expecting a more epic tale. The first half or so of the book is the romance and the build-up of the characters ( who are all written well), and then the second half of the book becomes more of a courtroom drama than a family drama. That's where I began to lose interest. I appreciated that the characters were written realistically - there was no clear-cut "good guy" or "bad guy" when it came to the custody case. However, that meant that it was difficult to root for anyone. (Well, except Scarlett - I liked her throughout the book and was pleased by her happy ending. Actually, if the whole novel had just been her storyline, a true romantic drama, I would've probably liked this book more.) It was also difficult for me to read about a marriage falling apart, with a child stuck in the middle. This is most likely a personal issue, as I read it during the trip my husband and I took for our first anniversary while I was two months pregnant. Overall, I thought this was a fairly average novel. Not bad, but not spectacular. Not good enough for a re-read, but recommended if this is your preferred genre. ( )
  jenreidreads | Jul 4, 2012 |
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Eliza was in the middle of curtseying to the Queen when she decided it was time she lost her virginity.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385528256, Hardcover)

It all comes down to love or money in a harrowing custody battle over a little girl, set against the glossy backdrop of the magazine and advertising worlds in 1960s London.
A privileged girl from a privileged class, Eliza has a dazzling career in the magazine world of the 1960s. But when she falls deeply in love with Matt, an edgy working-class boy, she gives up her ritzy, fast-paced lifestyle to get married.
By the end of the decade, however, their marriage has suffered a harrowing breakdown, culminating in divorce and a dramatic courtroom custody battle over their little girl. Also at risk is Eliza's gorgeous family home, a pawn in the game, which she can't bear to give up.
True to form, Penny Vincenzi introduces a devious cast of characters seemingly plucked from the pages of sixties- and seventies-era magazines, as she deftly maneuvers between the glamorous, moneyed worlds of fashion and advertising, and a heart-wrenching custody battle going on in the courtroom where the social mores of the time are on full display.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A tale set against a backdrop of the glossy magazine and advertising worlds of 1960s London follows a harrowing courtroom custody battle between Eliza, who gave up her writing job to marry, and her ex-husband, Matt, an edgy working-class man.

» see all 4 descriptions

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