cover image A Question of Trust

A Question of Trust

Penny Vincenzi. Overlook, $28.95 (608p) ISBN 978-1-4683-1614-8

The late Vincenzi (A Perfect Heritage) demonstrates her talent for weaving a dizzying cast of characters together into a historical epic that spans the middle decades of the 20th century. Born in England in the wake of WWI, Tom Knelston is a postmaster’s son whose intelligence and ambition help him rise to a position of prominence in the Labour Party following WWII. That position sustains him following the death of his wife in childbirth. Diana Southcott is born into a stifling life of privilege but leaves her husband to forge a modeling career. As Tom’s second marriage falters, he and Diana tumble into an affair that jeopardizes Tom’s family and his career. A secondary plot featuring Jillie, a promising obstetrician, and Ned, a gay pediatrician who fears for his professional prospects if he’s outed, is far more emotionally gripping, but the imbalance between their story and Tom’s leaves the work feeling off-kilter and unfulfilling. The story is solid, but each scene plays out like a snapshot, with plenty of color but no real depth. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Aug.)