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Editor reviews

Iconic and best-selling British author Penny Vincenzi delivers a tremendous feat of storytelling in her latest release novel A Perfect Heritage, which has been narrated in this audiobook edition by Sandra Duncan. The House of Farrell have been a huge family name in cosmetics for decades. It’s only when modern technologies changing the face of cosmetics production that the House truly feared for its survival for the first time. Perhaps it will take the unraveling of family secrets and one very strong-willed new employee to bring the company and its family members back from the brink. Available now from Audible.

Summary

A family. A firm. A lifetime of secrets. The irresistible new novel from the No 1 bestselling Penny Vincenzi. The Original and The Best.

The House of Farrell - home of The Cream, an iconic face product that has seen women flocking to its bijoux flagship store in the Berkeley Arcade since 1953.

At Farrell, you can rely on the personal touch. The legendary Athina Farrell remains the company's figurehead and in her kingdom at the Berkeley Arcade, Florence Hamilton plies their cosmetics with the utmost discretion. She is sales advisor - and holder of secrets - extraordinaire. But of course the world of cosmetics is changing and the once glorious House of Farrell is now in decline, its customers tempted away by more fashionable brands.

Enter Bianca Bailey, formidable business woman, mother of three, and someone who always gets her way. Athina and Bianca lock horns over the future of the House of Farrell but it is the past that tells its devastating tale of ambition and ego, passion and wonder.

Here is a tale of survival...and a kind of promise.

©2014 Penny Vincenzi (P)2014 Headline Digital

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Not for me

I haven’t experienced this author before and on the strength of this book won’t be trying any more of her books. I realise I’m in a minority, but I found this book too full of unbelievable characters, riven with cliches and far too long with the same themes repeated again and again.

A reasonably interesting story about a takeover of an ailing cosmetics company didn’t have enough interest to sustain such a long book. This strand seemed like a girly version of a Jeffrey Archer novel without his gift for griping story-telling but is laden with his penchant for name-dropping and allusions to up-market products and venues. The latter even more prevalent in this novel. Did one really need an exhaustive list of the brands that of clothing, etc., worn by each character?

Most of the of women are drop-dead gorgeous and the men handsome and successful. Many verge on being caricatures such as the doyenne of the cosmetics company a monster of rudeness and insensitivity.

Far too much verbiage is spent on of what amounts to a teen-angst novel and there are several relationship side-themes with risibly over-blown descriptions of ecstasy.

There are too many abrupt switches from one theme to another and switching back and forth in time from the 1950s, 70s and present day without any signal flagging the change.

i gave up at chapter 44 of 60, long after I’d become exasperated by the book becoming even more of a ridiculous soap-opera revisiting the same scenes and scenarios again and again.

The narrator is really good

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz
  • Syresham, United Kingdom
  • 08-08-14

I LOVED this story!

Having either read or listened to all of Penny Vincenzi's books I was very pleased when this book was realeased in audio and snapped it up.

She never fails! Penny Vincenzi has the ability to mould a story with so many twists and turns, yet still manages to keep you on track and fully in the right place at the right time.

The characters in this book are so well described, so utterly recognisable that each one for me had a form, a face, a figure - I could SEE them! I knew what they looked like!

Bianca is an absolute fighter - as a working mum from when my children were babies to the youngest one getting married, I know only too well what the challenges are to a woman in management fighting for recognition in a man's world. But bianca does it! Against all the odds. What a woman!

Again, Sandra Duncan narrates beautifully - she brings the characters to life in wonderful three dimension. She perfectly compliments the excellent story.

Oh, and by the way reader - did I mention that I LOVED this story?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Steven
  • Leeds, United Kingdom
  • 19-01-15

a sweet story. .held me till the end.

I normally listen to crime or action..highly recommend this book wonderful narration. you will enjoy

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • L
  • 07-09-14

One for us ladies I think

This author was knew to me - I liked her a lot - certainly admired her for the depth of her writing - the fine but very appropriate smaller details - amongst other things, the book also highlighted the ever spoken conflict of us ladies and our career. All the story was beautifully concluded and summarised in the Epilogue. It kept me chained to my Ipod and looking forward to the next listen - I will definitely be listening to more of Penny's books and I must congratulate the narrator - a marvellous job considering how many characters popped in and out.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant, as always

Totally absorbing - the characters were compelling yet human, with human faults. The plot galloped along with exactly the right amount of sideshow. I just wish it didn't take Penny Vincenzi so long to do all her faultless research and wonderful writing...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Gripping and Frivilous in equal measure

Would you consider the audio edition of A Perfect Heritage to be better than the print version?

Yes - this is a long book and I've heard the print version is a bit of a heavyweight!

What did you like best about this story?

The detail - you can really lose yourself in this book. Despite its length there are many subplots and characters so you will not tire of it. I love the detail of the brand and the cosmetics industry.

Have you listened to any of Sandra Duncan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to another Sandra Duncan narration.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

One storyline had me in utter despair so yes! I loved the character Bianca and was cheering for her throughout.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sue
  • Evesham
  • 27-05-15

Usual Penny Vincenzi Brilliance.

Where does A Perfect Heritage rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Penny Vincenzi never fails to capture, and hold, my attention from first page to last. Her writing is superb and crafting of her characters enchanting.

Have you listened to any of Sandra Duncan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Sandra Duncan is an excellent narrator. She speaks with clarity and precision, neatly bringing every character in the book to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story

Loved it. Great story, well read. Thoroughly enjoyed it and will recommend it anytime. Dee

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great

As usual Penny Vincenzi delivers a fabulous compelling saga that keeps you completely hooked !!!!! Sandra Duncan is a great narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Perfect Heritage

Love it! And didn't want it to finish, very grand and an inspiring story line.

Don't think twice about listening to it, you will not be disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • parsnip
  • 31-08-15

Highly Entertaining

Compelling story, great narration, interesting characters. Although quite predictable, it somehow succeeded in being very engaging. Not a deep read, but a nice long one, with everything neatly tied up with a bow in the end.

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  • Marj
  • 17-10-14

Outstanding!!

Where does A Perfect Heritage rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best I've listened to.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bianca. Strong woman and yet very in tune with the needs of others.

What about Sandra Duncan’s performance did you like?

Her voice is very enjoyable to listen to and she does different characters extremely well.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Dynamic women at their best.

Any additional comments?

Give me more of Penny Vincenzi and Sandra Duncan. Perfect match.

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  • Marti
  • 11-09-14

Brilliant Narration

This is an engaging story filled with an interesting variety of characters.
The clever narrator makes each voice distinctive and original, with her talented display of nuance, timing and metre.
This is an audiobook to take you away from your own world and spirit you into the intrigues of another.