A Question of Trust

Written by Penny Vincenzi
Review by Janice Ottersberg

Penny Vincenzi has written another drama of numerous interlinked characters in her final novel, which takes place in London between 1936 and 1955. We follow the main characters through love, marriage, class division, ambition, divorce, death, heartache, secrets, scandal, and affairs. In other words, everything that makes a juicy read. Tom rises from a working-class family to be a solicitor with aspirations to a political life, married but drawn to Diana; Diana is beautiful, rich, and self-centered and learns some hard lessons; Ned will lose his career as a prominent pediatrician if his secret is revealed; Jillie breaks with tradition as she studies to be a doctor and plans for a life with Ned; Julius is engaged to Nell, but falls in love with Jillie. Josh is a journalist who crosses paths with many of the characters. We see the characters through the war years with most of the novel covering the post-war years. It tackles the political issues within the Labour party and the development of the NHS (National Health Service) through the character of Tom. We see how the criminal laws against homosexuality affect the secret gay community and the efforts to change those laws when Josh bravely writes a series of articles on London gay life. The medical establishment goes through changes as Ned challenges old ideas and hospital practices.

This is a wonderful epic which moves quickly from chapter to chapter without confusing the reader. There is a list of characters and their relation to each other at the beginning that is helpful in getting to know them. The joy in reading this book is watching these realistic characters live their lives while making good and bad choices. This is a perfect book to settle in with for a lengthy, immersive read.