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ANOTHER WOMAN by Penny Vincenzi

ANOTHER WOMAN

By Penny Vincenzi

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59020-357-6
Publisher: Overlook

A runaway bride leaves behind a thicket of family secrets and betrayals in Vincenzi’s (The Decision, 2011, etc.) latest export.

Set in 1990s England (and originally published in 1994), this novel features several situations that could only exist in an era without ubiquitous cell phones. When Cressida, delicate daughter of society gynecologist James Forrest, disappears the morning of her wedding day, she’s well and truly incommunicado. Unfolding over two days, the Cressida debacle wreaks no end of recriminations (and accompanying flashbacks) among James’ overprivileged and ingrown circle of family and friends. James himself is at the epicenter—his only brush with malpractice resulted in the birth of Ottoline (now 20, a supermodel, and for reasons that defy cursory explanation, a wedding guest) and the stillbirth of her twin sister. Cressida’s older sister Harriet has always resented her—for being their parents’ favorite and for causing Harriet's banishment to a bleak boarding school. Now Harriet’s fashion business teeters on the brink of bankruptcy. James’ oldest friend Theo, a billionaire, unwittingly abetted Cressida’s escape by paying for her flying lessons, and was, until his marriage to fifth wife Sasha, carrying on an affair with Harriet. Their mutual attraction lingers. Elderly but still vital godparents, world traveler Sir Merlin and French sophisticate Janine, attempt unsuccessfully to lighten the prevailing gloom. The younger generation, including Theo’s dissolute son Mungo, Rufus, son of James and his long-term mistress Susie, and Oliver, the American groom left at the altar, are as mired in melodrama as their elders. Facts emerge revealing Cressida to be less English rose than shrewd operator. As the search for Cressida intensifies, we learn interesting information about the other characters.

A brisk and engaging read that manages to demonstrate that there are some problems no amount of money can forestall, or rectify.