Penny Vincenzi Something Dangerous

ISBN 13: 9780755332410

Something Dangerous

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9780755332410: Something Dangerous

Something Dangerous is a riveting drama about an embattled dynasty, and a passionate, multi-layered tale of love and politics.

The dazzling Lytton twins, Adele and Venetia, are born into the great Lytton publishing empire. In 1928, on their eighteenth birthday, they are rich and admired, with a confidence verging on arrogance. But the specter of Nazi Germany is growing...Gradually their privileged world darkens in unimaginable ways―but it is not just the twins whose lives have been irrevocably changed. Barty Miller, rescued from the London slums in babyhood by Celia Lytton, is clever, ambitious, and a complete contrast to the twins―and she faces temptation of the most unexpected kind...

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About the Author:

Penny Vincenzi, before becoming a novelist, worked at such magazines as Vogue, Tatler, and Cosmopolitan. She is the author of The Dilemma, Almost a Crime, No Angel, Something Dangerous, Into Temptation, Sheer Abandon, An Absolute Scandal, An Outrageous Affair, Windfall, and Forbidden Places, all available from Overlook.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Acknowledgements

 

Part One - 1928 – 1939

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 24

 

Part Two - 1939 – 1942

CHAPTER 25

CHAPTER 26

CHAPTER 27

CHAPTER 28

CHAPTER 29

CHAPTER 30

CHAPTER 31

CHAPTER 32

CHAPTER 33

CHAPTER 34

CHAPTER 35

CHAPTER 36

CHAPTER 37

 

Part Three - 1943 – 1946

CHAPTER 38

CHAPTER 39

CHAPTER 40

CHAPTER 41

CHAPTER 42

CHAPTER 43

CHAPTER 44

CHAPTER 45

CHAPTER 46

CHAPTER 47

CHAPTER 48

CHAPTER 49

CHAPTER 50

CHAPTER 51

 

EPILOGUE

ALSO BY THE SAME AUTHOR

ALSO BY THE SAME AUTHOR

No Angel
Into Temptation
The Dilemma
Almost A Crime
An Outrageous Affair
Sheer Abandon
An Absolute Scandal
Forbidden Places

This edition first published in the United States in 2007 by
The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc.

 

141 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10012
www.overlookpress.com

 

For bulk and special sales, please contact sales@overlookny.com

 

Copyright © 2001 by Penny Vincenzi

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval
system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the
publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection
with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast.

 

Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available from the Library of Congress

 

Manufactured in the United States of America

 

ISBN: 9781590207963

 

For Paul. For an unfailingly pliant ear
and an astonishingly absorbent shoulder.
With much love.

Acknowledgements

A small army of people helped me get this book settled in a moderately tidy way between its covers: led once more by my agent and informant Desmond Elliott, walking research library that he is on the subject primarily of publishing, but on other crucial matters too, most notably New York between the wars. In that area I also have to thank Edna McNabney, who provided so many delicious anecdotes, and so much inside information and breathtaking detail about the city.

Many, many thanks to Mme Nicole Delava, who held me spellbound with her reminiscences of Paris before, during and after the war, and of her journey down some of the same road followed by Adele. And to Annick Salters and Laurence de Lasnerie for putting me in touch with her and for other hugely helpful suggestions, and to Noni Holland for acting so tirelessly as interpreter, translator and guide. For further assistance in Paris I have to thank my niece Rebecca Vincenzi and her friend Mathieu Lis, and for a particularly memorable evening at the Café Flore; and much gratitude also to Nina Salter and her colleagues at Calman Levy in Paris, which was the inspiration, but in no way a model, for Constantines, and also the wonderful archiviste at Hachette.

Hugh Dickens was not only an inexhaustible and patient military consultant but a most creative and imaginative one; and I am also deeply grateful to Beryl Thompson for her vivid and charming reminiscences of her war in the ATS and to Joanna Lycett for hers in the WRNS. And I owe a great deal to Matthew Parker for his knowledge of the battles waged by the flying aces, and indeed his book The Battle of Britain.

Special mentions to Helen Pugh and other archivists at the Red Cross in London; and to Kit Sparkes, Colette Levy and Sue Stapely, all of whom gave me their time and expertise most generously; to Clare Alexander who has been such a great support to both Desmond and me; and to my daughter Claudia who also acted as translator and researcher. And Maria Rice-Jones, who gave me a crash course in French, thus enabling me to do even a little translating of my own.

Several books were of great help to me: The Week France Fell by Noel Barber; Swastikas over Paris by Jeremy Josephs, Occupation by Ian Ousby; London at War by Philip Ziegler; The Viceroy’s Daughters by Anne De Courcy and The Great Crash by J. K. Galbraith.

As always, huge thanks to Rosie de Courcy, not only for her creative, inspiring and sympathetic editing, and her now legendary capacity never to so much as mention that the deadline has passed this many a long day/ week/month, but also for her ability to stop me panicking and make me laugh.

Much gratitude to lots of people at Orion: to Susan Lamb, Geoff Duffield, Dallas Manderson, Richard Hussey, Jo Carpenter, and Lucie Stericker, who between them produced, packaged, marketed, sold and dressed the book up so prettily; Emma Draude and the team at Midas who told the world about it, and last but absolutely not least to Kirsty Fowkes who saw the whole thing through with awe-inspiring calm and good cheer.

And of course, and as always, to my family for putting up with me and the bookmaking process for yet another year.

In retrospect, it all looks quite easy...

The Main Characters

LONDON

Oliver Lytton, head of Lyttons publishing house
Lady Celia Lytton, his wife and senior editor
Giles, twins Venetia and Adele, and Kit, their children
Margaret (LM) Lytton, Oliver’s elder sister and business manager
Jay Lytton, her son by her dead lover Jago Ford
Gordon Robinson, her husband
Jack Lytton, Oliver’s younger brother
Lily Lytton, his actress wife
Barty Miller, brought up in the Lytton family by Celia
Sebastian Brooke, bestselling children’s author published by Lyttons
Boy Warwick, Giles’s old schoolfriend
Abigail Clarence, a teacher, and friend of Barty
Cedric Russell, a society photographer

 

COUNTRY

Lord Beckenham, Celia’s father
Lady Beckenham, her mother
Billy Miller, Barty’s brother

 

NEW YORK

Robert Lytton, Oliver’s older brother and successful property developer
Laurence Elliott, his estranged stepson from his marriage to Jeanette, now dead
Jamie Elliott, Laurence’s brother
Maud Lytton, Robert and Jeanette’s daughter
John Brewer, Robert’s business partner
Felicity Brewer, his wife, a poet published by Lyttons
Kyle Brewer, their son, an editor
Geordie MacColl, an author published by Lyttons

 

PARIS

Guy Constantine, head of a French publishing house
Luc Lieberman, a senior editor
Madame André, Adele’s landlady

Part One

1928 – 1939

CHAPTER 1

Venetia Lytton was extremely fond of telling people that the whole country had gone into mourning on the day of her birth.

This announcement, although historically accurate, and guaranteed to win her attention in whatever company she chose to make it, gave nonetheless a slightly erroneous picture; it was left to her twin sister Adele, naturally inclined to a slightly more prosaic view of life, to explain that their birth had coincided almost to the hour with the death of King Edward the Seventh.

‘Oh – all right,’ Venetia would say crossly, ‘but it was still a terrifically dark day, Mummy said the nurses were sobbing harder and harder each time they brought in another bouquet of flowers and when Daddy arrived, the doctor actually greeted him wearing a black tie. So of course he thought something terrible had happened.’

Whereupon someone, usually one of the twins’ two brothers if they were present, would inevitably remark that indeed it had, and that she and Adele had been launched upon an unsuspecting world, then Venetia would pretend to sulk, Adele would smile serenely, and someone else (usually another young woman in search of a little attention for herself) would endeavour to change the subject.

It was not easy to divert attention from the Lytton twins; not only were they extremely pretty (beautiful, some even claimed) and very amusing, but they really were quite extraordinarily alike. It was said that the famous Morgan twins, Thelma and Gloria (better known as Lady Furness and Mrs Reginald Vanderbilt respectively), could not be told apart unless you were close enough to detect a small scar under Thelma’s chin, the result of a roller-skating accident when she was a child; the Lytton twins offered no such helpful clue. Venetia did have a small mole on her right buttock, and the twins had also observed, from the first moment such a thing was observable, that Adele’s nipples were darker and slightly larger than her sister’s, but since these were facts extremely hard to verify, and certainly of no use at all in normal social situations, most people had no idea much of the time which of the twins they were talking to, sitting next to, dancing with. Even their closer circle found it virtually impossible to tell.

It was a state of affairs that the twins still found amusing to encourage. They had gloried in it at school, each claiming constantly to be the other, confusing and enraging their teachers beyond endurance until their mother discovered what they were doing and, being immensely – and most unusually for her class and age – concerned for their education, threatened to send them to different boarding schools, which frightened them into submission, so deep was their dread of separation.

At their coming-out dance earlier that year, dressed in identical white satin dresses, large white roses in their gleaming dark shingled hair, they had produced so strong a sense of dizzy confusion that several members of the older generation at least had felt themselves to be rather more intoxicated than they were; and it was even rumoured that when they had been presented at court, they had changed places. But those who knew them best said not even Adele (at heart more outrageous if less extrovert than Venetia) would have dared do so appallingly dreadful a thing.

They were enjoying their season hugely; their mother had chosen one of the early Easter courts deliberately, feeling it would be more memorable, more distinguished: ‘By June it’s getting so dreadfully busy, you’re in danger of being just another dance.’

Not that the occasion, held at Celia’s parents’ London house in Curzon Street, was in danger of being any such thing: had the house itself been less magnificent, the guest list less distinguished, the champagne less fine, the music less fashionable, the very fact that it was a dance for the twins, with their almost eerie identical beauty, would have made it remarkable. They were, unarguably, two of the most popular and brilliant debutantes of their year, caught up in a heady haze of dances and parties and country house weekends, with all the excitement of the actual season – the Derby, Ascot, Henley and the rest – still ahead of them. Their photographs appeared constantly in the society papers, invitations were still arriving in large numbers, and they had even been awarded the great accolade of a whole page in Vogue, wearing their Vionnet presentation dresses. Their mother, while complaining ceaselessly (and fairly inaccurately) that their season was absorbing too much of her time, was extremely pleased with their success. To launch one beautiful and popular daughter would have been gratifying, to be able to claim two was triumphal.

 

Today, their eighteenth birthday, there had been even more reference to the country-in-mourning than usual; so much so that Giles, their elder brother by five years, said at breakfast that he would withdraw from the evening’s party if he heard any more about it.

‘And then you’ll be sorry, Venetia, because I shall tell Boy Warwick not to come either.’

‘I couldn’t be less bothered,’ said Venetia airily, pulling out a compact from her pocket, dabbing more powder to her small, perfectly straight nose. ‘It was you who invited him, not me, he’s your friend—’

‘Venetia, darling, don’t do that at the table, it is so dreadfully common,’ said her mother briskly, ‘and for heaven’s sake don’t do it tonight, your grandmother will have a heart attack. Now of course Boy will be coming, I can’t have the arrangements upset at this point in time. I will check with Cook that everything is in order for dinner this evening – we’re only nineteen I think, now that Barty can’t come—’

‘Such a shame,’ murmured Venetia to Adele, and then seeing her mother’s eyes on her, smiled brightly and said, ‘I was just saying what a shame that was. Still, I suppose it is a long way. From Oxford. Just for dinner.’

‘Well, she would have stayed a couple of days,’ said Celia, ‘over the weekend in fact, she said. But her finals are looming now, and she is very anxious about them. I think we must respect that, don’t you?’

‘Of course,’ said Adele.

‘Absolutely,’ said Venetia.

Their eyes met over their coffee cups: then fixed with sweet innocence on their mother.

‘We will miss her,’ said Adele, with a careful, quick sigh. ‘She’s so clever, I’m sure she’ll get her first anyway.’

‘Absolutely bound to,’ said Venetia.

‘Absolutely nothing of the sort,’ said Celia, ‘I cannot understand how you two can still have so little grasp of the connection between hard work and success. No achievement is automatic, and especially no academic achievement. However clever the person may or may not be. Your father got a first, but he worked unimaginably hard for it, didn’t you, Oliver?’

‘What’s that, my dear?’ Oliver Lytton looked up from The Times, frowning gently.

‘Apparently you worked very hard to get your first, Daddy,’ said Venetia.

‘I really can’t remember much about it,’ said Oliver, ‘I suppose so.’

‘Mummy says you did.’

‘As I hadn’t met your mother then, I really think it’s a little difficult for her to say.’

‘Mummy doesn’t find anything difficult to say,’ said Adele, and giggled; Venetia echoed her.

Celia glared at them briefly. ‘I really have more important things to do than engage in extremely silly arguments. And if I’m going to be able to be home in time for your birthday dinner I shall have to leave for the office in half an hour. Giles, do you want to come with me?’

‘I – think I might go on ahead,’ said Giles quickly, ‘if you don’t mind.’

‘Mind? My dear Giles, why shoul...

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Penny Vincenzi
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Descrizione libro Headline Publishing Group, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the international bestselling novelist Penny Vincenzi comes SOMETHING DANGEROUS, the second novel in her highly acclaimed SPOILS OF TIME trilogy. For any reader of Jilly Cooper, Daisy Goodwin, Santa Montefiore or Harriet Evans THE BUTTERFLY SUMMER. Reading her is an addictive experience Elizabeth Buchan The dazzling Lytton twins, Adele and Venetia, are born into the great Lytton publishing empire. In 1928, on their eighteenth birthday, they are rich and admired, with a confidence verging on arrogance. But the spectre of Nazi Germany is growing.Gradually their privileged world darkens in unimaginable ways - but it is not just the twins whose lives have been irrevocably changed. Barty Miller, rescued from the London slums in babyhood by Celia Lytton, is clever, ambitious, and a complete contrast to the twins - and she faces temptation of the most unexpected kind. Codice libro della libreria AA69780755332410

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Descrizione libro Headline Publishing Group, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the international bestselling novelist Penny Vincenzi comes SOMETHING DANGEROUS, the second novel in her highly acclaimed SPOILS OF TIME trilogy. For any reader of Jilly Cooper, Daisy Goodwin, Santa Montefiore or Harriet Evans THE BUTTERFLY SUMMER. Reading her is an addictive experience Elizabeth Buchan The dazzling Lytton twins, Adele and Venetia, are born into the great Lytton publishing empire. In 1928, on their eighteenth birthday, they are rich and admired, with a confidence verging on arrogance. But the spectre of Nazi Germany is growing.Gradually their privileged world darkens in unimaginable ways - but it is not just the twins whose lives have been irrevocably changed. Barty Miller, rescued from the London slums in babyhood by Celia Lytton, is clever, ambitious, and a complete contrast to the twins - and she faces temptation of the most unexpected kind. Codice libro della libreria AA69780755332410

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Descrizione libro Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Not Signed; From the international bestselling novelist Penny Vincenzi comes SOMETHING DANGEROUS, the second novel in her highly acclaimed SPOILS OF TIME trilogy. For any reader of Jilly Cooper, Daisy Goodwin, Santa Montefiore or Harriet Evans' THE BUTTERFLY SUMMER.'Reading her is an addictive experience' Eli. book. Codice libro della libreria ria9780755332410_rkm

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