More Than You Know

Written by Penny Vincenzi
Review by Nanette Donohue

Eliza Clark expects more from her life than marriage and parenthood. In the early 1960s, careers are opening up for women, and class distinctions are starting to blur as business booms and opportunities abound. As a wealthy, beautiful upper-class woman, London is Eliza’s oyster, and she demands the best of everything – including employment. Her stylishness makes her a natural as a fashion editor, and she moves up rapidly from assistant to fashion editor at one of London’s up-and-coming fashion magazines.

Eliza has the glitzy job, the fabulous wardrobe, and the wealthy (and handsome) boyfriend, but she feels strangely unfulfilled until a chance encounter with her brother’s military buddy, Matt Shaw, shakes her life up. Matt is a self-made millionaire who took advantage of the London real estate boom to make a fortune, and Eliza gives up everything that she has worked for to be the wife and mother that Matt wants her to be. When their marriage falls apart, each blames the other, and a messy divorce and cut-throat custody battle follows.

More Than You Know is typical Vincenzi, with plenty of glitz and glamour, tragic secrets, and doomed relationships. The characters are a little over-the-top sometimes – it’s hard to believe that Matt could be such an uncompromising chauvinist, and it takes a long time for Eliza to figure out that she can, and should, stand up for herself – but they do mature a bit as the book progresses. This book won’t teach you anything new or expose you to a different perspective, but it is enjoyable escapist literature that makes some of the major social issues of the 1960s and early 1970s into a personal story.