Sheer Abandon by Penny Vincenzi

Posted on August 14, 2009. Filed under: Books, Personal Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , |

It’s quite evident through ‘My Library’ that I read a wide array of books. I can admit that sometimes I dislike a book simply because it has followed too closely on the heels of a book that really spoke to me, but unfortunately my displeasure in this novel was earned in it’s own right. I saw a review on Amazon.com that was titled “Sheer Boredom” and by the end I could not agree more.

This author is highly recognized as a leader in women’s fiction. Her plot lines twist and turn in directions that no reader can anticipate. Women love her fiction. Somehow I don’t feel that this novel reflects the work she is most known and praised for.

Sheer Abandon begins on a trip abroad with three girls who were formerly strangers. These English girls are heading for a year of traveling abroad and seeing the world, they know they may meet up along the way but they have no plans for sticking together for any amount of time and they never imagined that their lives would be intertwined many years down the road.

Martha is the practical girl. She grows up to be wealthy, famous and beautiful, but always slightly cold. Jocasta is a party girl, she is quick witted, free loving and a little reckless. Clio is a doctor who has always had self esteem issues though she is beautiful in every way. The story details each of their lives and in the beginning there are so many close calls where they almost come together and meet, but never quite make it. Of course they inevitably meet up and are surprised at how they have each changed but there is always a secret that the reader knows looming over head of these three girls.

We find out in the beginning that one of the three gives birth to a baby girl, dubbed Baby Bianca, in the Heathrow Airport. This is a highly publicized news article and we are also able to follow this abandoned child, who now refers to herself as Kate through her life with her adoptive family. Kate struggles with not knowing her birth parents from the beginning of the book, but at this point the reader also doesn’t know which of the 3 girls is the parent.

Vincenzi leads you down one road where you are certain the mother is one of the girls and then suddenly the road takes a huge detour in the other direction and you are certain it is another one of the girls. In the end you are blatantly told which girl it is, though you will have been certain and figured it out for at least 50 pages or more.

Each woman is successful in her career and has a love interest. When the love interest falls out of sight for these women they are seemingly unable to cope and their will to live is just considerably cut down. This is disenchanting for independent women of the world to read about. There is hope in love, but women can survive with out it as well. Jocasta is a successful journalist that works for a gossip magazine. Her looks and charm open many doors, and it seems that her heart causes a few to close. Martha is a lawyer, which is a stark contrast from her Father who is a Vicar in a small community. Clio is a geriatric doctor which seems to be an odd calling for any young doctor, but she is dedicated to her patients. They meet up through a series of interviews and work interests and eventually find a bond, though finding that bond was a very big struggle. It is then the secret is able to be told and to fully come out to both their circle and possibly the public. The story then shifts out of focus and goes a little wild, which is where I started to loose interest.

There are quick loves, and then longer lasting loves. There are women looking for revenge and there are unhappy relationships. For the last 150 pages or so I was eagerly waiting for this story to come to a close. It seemed that the loose ends we needed tied up were and those last chapters was the author just spending too much time trying to evolve characters that were recently introduced. If I were to not finish books I would’ve put this down after the major plot twist had been fully uncovered and settled. Beyond that point the book just got wordy, and the characters dragged around their feet a bit.

If you are one for good chick lit this isn’t a horrible book, but it’s nothing above average either. What starts out truly gripping and wonderful slowly drags itself out and eventually beats all the characters into a bloody predictable pulp. I would like to try one of her other books in the future, but I don’t think I’ll pick one up for at least a few months.

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