Sheer Abandon, by Penny Vincenzi
Published by Headline Review, 10th October 2005
Genres: Fiction, chick-lit, romance
Three young women meet at the airport, at the start of a backpacking trip around the world. They become fast friends, agree to spend various parts of their travels together and to meet up at the end of the year to share stories, memories and photos.
A year later, a baby is abandoned at Heathrow airport. The women, Jocasta, Clio and Martha, have returned from their travels and embarked on impressive careers, but they never did meet up and have not seen each other since. But why? And who abandoned a baby at the airport!?
Wow! What a page-turner! And, with 720 pages, that’s saying something.
I adored this book; I got completely swept up in the stories of these women’s lives, all the time trying to figure out who the mother was and what the circumstances were. There are hints along the way so if you are paying attention you can work out, by about two-thirds of the way through, who is who. But the story is still captivating until the end. Lots of unexpected surprises!
I really enjoyed the author’s exploration of the three main female characters, the intricacies of female friendships and the difficulties that women face both at home and in the workplace.
Clio is a successful doctor, who is pressured into moving and, in the end, leaving her job because of her bullying husband. I have to say, I developed an instant dislike towards Jeremy and was disgusted by his behaviour and comments.
“Well. That you should be thinking about your career at all. (…) I Thought we had agreed that any work you did was temporary and a means to an end. I hope you won’t be working at all soon. As you very well know.”
Urgh, it just puts my teeth on edge! Especially because I know full well that there are many men out there today who believe and act exactly like Jeremy.
Jocasta is a hard-hitting journalist who always manages to get the great scoop or interview. Although very successful at work, she struggles with her love life and makes several spontaneous and disastrous decisions.
Martha is a career woman and control freak. She is a lawyer and, as the novel develops, takes an interest in politics. What she soon comes to realise, is that you really cannot control every single aspect of your life and things are going to come unravelled at some point.
I really enjoyed this book. Besides the central mystery about the baby, there was humour and romance and sadness. I don’t often tear up at books or films, but I did towards the end of this one! Read it for yourselves and find out why! And find out who’s the baby is!!
I also have a personal connection, as Penny Vincenzi was one of my Granny’s favourite authors. She gave me this book a few years ago, having read it and loved it and thought I would too. As always, she was right.
My rating: 5/5