Monday, April 2, 2012

Review: More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Pages: 608
Received: Received from publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: April 3, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

When I started this book I was not quite sure what I was getting into, I've heard a lot about Penny Vincenzi but never actually read anything by her. I also really enjoy books by European authors, especially English/Irish ones, I just seem to enjoy the different setting. I was expecting this to be a big court battle (a little like Jodi Picoult's novels). What I actually got was something so different and yet amazing! I found myself continually surprised with what the characters did, no matter how much I thought I knew them.

When I saw how large this book was I was a little nervous, but for me, once I started reading I couldn't put it down and didn't realize the page count (helped also that I had an ebook version). Penny goes into a startling amount of detail about each character and their families. She writes her characters so you really understand everything about them. You watch as they go through years of experiences, and see how they grow from those experiences. Penny goes deep into the emotional issues of the characters and really makes her readers feel those emotions.

It was really nice to see a huge build up to the relationship between Matt and Eliza. I kept wanting to see what would happen next with these two characters. And how would they find each other once more. I found that the way Penny wrote out this story was to really let you get into the characters' heads and really understand how they feel about things.

I will admit I got confused quite a few times while reading this book. There was a habit of jumping around to the many different characters quickly, and I was confused with who I was with at first. I enjoyed the many different characters (and how they all connect with one another in some way). But I felt that the jumps came out of nowhere at times.

I really enjoyed the time period that this story was written in as well. Penny has a talent for writing very strong female characters that fight for what they believe in. This book really shows how women's rights still aren't where they should be (though this is written in the 60's and the 70's) a lot of men still believe the things that many of the male characters in this book do, that once women are married with children they should no longer be working.

I definitely enjoyed this book, and will be looking more into Penny's other novels, even though they are all huge. If you're looking for a fun adult book, that still can get your emotions riled up I definitely suggest this book!

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