Love in the Afternoon and other delights by Penny Vincenzi

In brief: A group of short stories and essays focusing on love and relationships.

The good: It’s Penny Vincenzi.

The not-so-good: I have now read everything by her!

Why I chose it: The last Penny Vincenzi book on the shelf to read.

Year: 2013

Pages: 193

Publisher: Headline Review (Hachette)

Setting: England

My rating: 9 out of 10

In general, I’m not too much of a short story fan but I will read absolutely anything that Penny Vincenzi writes. I adore her grand novels of love, family, fortune and loss but of course, they take time to write. Love in the Afternoon and other delights was the last of her books I had on the shelf. It seemed a perfect time just before Christmas to dip in and out of these short stories and writings as it was such a busy period.

I was a little sceptical about how Penny Vincenzi would be able to tie up everything in a story over 20 pages instead of 600. I was also a bit worried if they would have the same sparkle as her novels. Of course, I worried needlessly. The stories are instantly recognisable as Vincenzi’s and the endings work beautifully. The main theme is as the title suggests, love. But it’s not just romance. There is the love between father and son (The Mermaid) and the reluctance of the son to allow a new woman into his father’s life. There are a few affairs too (Love in the Afternoon and The Glimpses, which has the best ending!). The Brooch explores sisterly love and the argumentative side that crushes it. There are also some articles by Penny Vincenzi, on getting older to her favourite books. I really enjoyed this part of the book, as I really don’t hear too much about authors themselves, let alone in written format! She proves that she is just as sparkly and witty when writing fact in addition to fiction.

Sadly, this was a fast read but it confirmed that I will definitively read anything of Penny Vincenzi’s work. I love the British tone of her novels, and the peek into the big houses and lavish parties. But most of all, I loved the twists in this short stories – they were truly delightful.

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