Wednesday, 19 December 2012

PENNY VINCENZI AND HER “OLD SINS”


I can confirm it: good things do come in threes. That’s how many tries it took me to read Penny Vincenzi’s first opus OLD SINS. Not that it wasn’t compelling the first time. This multi-layered saga of a handsome tycoon and the many women that surround him over the years is a page-turner from the get-go. The thing is, I rarely invest in lengthy novels these days, since I tend to get bored very easily. Ask the many novels in my house, and they’ll tell you: this guy has unfinished business with many best-sellers. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the way I am. So imagine how surprised I was when I decided to give Penny’s baby one last chance. I say last, because I figured it was then or never. If I couldn’t go all the way, I was definitely done for good.
 
 
At first I wanted to continue on where I left off the last time (more than halfway through), but I said what the heck, I might as well start from the top again. Crazy idea, I know, but it’s so me. However, something unexpected happened before venturing into it: I suddenly came across a copy of the hardcover edition while visiting my local used book shop; the USA version, in near mint condition no less (as shown below). So the trooper that I am gave it a go. Bought the thing, sat in my reading room and plunged in—but not for long. Something else was bugging me. Color me delusional but it seemed that this American version was incomplete. And I’m not talking about missing pages, here. No, what I’m saying is that chunks of narration seemed to be omitted. Could this be an abridged version of the UK edition? Easy to check. I took out my Arrow original and did the comparing thingy, and, wouldn’t you know, I was right.
 
 
Of course there was no way I was about to choose this hardcover edition. Such an insult to the author and her work… Or was it? Suddenly it didn’t seem such a bad idea. It wouldn’t be like I was dissing the original since I had already read more than half of it—twice. But in the end the lengthy version won. A no brainer, really, since I truly wanted to honor the author’s novel. And do I regret my decision? Not at all. Because when it comes down to it, I had a ball making it to the very end. I admit, the temptation to toss it aside still kept beckoning me (such bad habit), especially during the last 100 pages or so, but I stuck with it and was rewarded not only by a powerful and very realistic conclusion but also by a great sense of accomplishment. I’m so glad I revisited OLD SINS. It is truly a magnificent piece of commercial art, and I applaud Ms. Vincenzi for having written it. It must have been a strenuous job, I must admit. Now that I’m done, I kind of feel I should return to some unfinished novels of mine and give them their rightful due. You never know, there might be some other mea culpa in the works.




Until next post—Martin


US hardcover edition



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