Vincenzi passed away in February 2018, leaving us with one final book – A Question of Trust. Vincenzi spent her whole career in the writing industry.
She started working for Vogue Magazine as a junior secretary before becoming a writer for the Daily Mirror, and eventually landing a spot as an editor across multiple fashion and beauty magazines.
Vincenzi wrote 19 books in her lifetime, most of which were stand-alone stories, although she did have one trilogy called The Spoils of Time.
These three stories were her most loved, but all of her creations followed a theme of humanity, conflict in society, and important moments in time.
Penny was one of the UK’s most cherished authors. Her first-ever fiction book was published in 1989. Old Sins discussed the power struggles of two ambitious women, a mysterious death, and a sense of glamor in the world of the wealthy.
Old Sins perfectly set up the long list of books that came after.
Other authors who explore the social dynamics and power struggles of women and families are Danielle Steel, Jeffrey Archer, Maeve Binchy, and Barbara Taylor Bradford.
Each of these authors either writes about social dynamics between women or about social dynamics which lead to corruption and even death.
Books By Penny Vincenzi
The first novel in The Spoils of Time series is No Angel. The main character is Celia Lytton, a daughter of a wealthy aristocrat who is used to getting her way.
However, that level of expectation leads her to dangerous waters which affect her whole family.
In the story we see Lytton judge the world she was born into and break down the pain of a society she once chose to ignore.
The concept of breaking down social aspects of our lives to understand how they affect us and impact our choices is a common theme in Penny’s novels.
We see it again in The Best of Times which is a stand-alone story about how a split second changed multiple people’s lives forever. The story begins in a traffic jam on an ordinary London afternoon when a truck crashes into 5 lanes.
Chaos and confusion ensue as each person’s life hangs in the balance. We are taken through the lives of everyone at the scene in a story of humanity.
In a more humorous setting, we find the stand-alone novel A Perfect Heritage. This story follows the decline of a popular fashion house.
Two businesswomen fight for the future of the House of Farrell but their egos and ambition get in the way. This is a story of modern survival and a fight for hierarchy.
Each of Penny Vincenzi’s stories discusses people and the struggles of life. Whenever you open one of her books you can instantly recognize the characters she has created.
Her world is real, her plots are devastating and her characters are believable.
Authors Like Penny Vincenzi
Danielle Steel is one of the best-selling authors of our time (If you like her works, check out authors similar to Danielle Steel here). Her name is synonymous with romantic fiction and even if you aren’t a fan of that genre, you would recognize her name and its meaning without much context.
All of Steel’s stories are stand-alone fiction, and although Penny Vincenzi doesn’t create romantic fiction, the two share a theme in humanity.
Danielle has done so well due to her amazing ability to create realistic people. She does this by touching on the mundane and the tragic parts of their lives, allowing us as readers to truly understand the people she has created.
The first book we suggest you read is Safe Harbour. The story follows a young girl called Pip who watches his mother fall to pieces from grief. An artist offers to teach Pip how to draw, and in doing so falls in love with her mother.
The story continues as we watch a child break down the confusing world of grief, love, and betrayal.
Another fan favorite is Sisters. In this story, 4 sisters separate from their families as they become successful in their careers. Every 4th of July they come back to see each other and reconnect, until one year they are hit with tragedy.
Again, Danielle walks us through the lives of 4 different people and their own perspectives on life. These social struggles and human dilemmas are what make Danielle Steel the perfect author for someone following Penny Vincenzi.
- Slow Build
- Realistic Characters
- Comedy As Well As Tragedy
- Steel Isn’t An Intense Writer
- Often Longer Than Needed
- Repetitive Stories
Themes: Romance, Social Struggles, Drama, Realism
Jeffrey might seem like a strange suggestion as a follow-on-author from Penny Vincenzi, however, this writer also discusses the social struggles of people.
Archer mostly focuses on men, and his novels are normally thriller fiction but that doesn’t mean they are without thought.
Take the Kane & Abel series. Kane is a son of a millionaire while Able is a penniless immigrant. Born on opposite sides of the world, these two unconnected people both struggle for success.
The story is filled with self-disgust, balancing power with ruthlessness, and understanding one’s triumph.
Another example is the Clifton Chronicles, which starts with Only Time Will Tell. This historical fiction follows Harry Clifton who was born in 1920.
Harry was told that his father died in the war, but when he was accepted into an exclusive boy’s school, Harry starts to uncover the truth about his father.
The story breaks down the idea of family, honor, distrust, and loyalty. It was nominated for the Best Historical Fiction novel in 2011 for the amazing journey of one family across multiple generations.
- Fantastic Writing
- Realistic Characters
- Ending Which Satisfy
- Uses Coincidences To Move Plot Along
- Some Of His Novels Lack Depth
- Older Novels May Now Be Considered Cliched
Themes: Thriller, Mystery, Social Struggle, Family
Leaving thrillers to one side, we move back into the romantic fiction world with Meave Binchy.
Maeve writes stand-alone novels which are based in Ireland. Her stories often touch on learning from one another as her characters are forced into walking in each other’s shoes.
This is particularly true in the novel Tara Road. In the story, two women who have gone through recent tragedies happen to reach each other on a chance phone call.
In a desperate desire to leave their own lives, they agree to switch homes for the summer.
During the change, they both discover secrets about each other while uncovering their feelings towards their life. It’s a story of friendship, grief, and self-discovery.
Following the concept of friendship and self-discovery is the novel Circle of Friends.
When two friends make it to the University of Dublin, they are pushed to the limits as romantic lives test their friendship and long-hidden lies come to the surface.
Although romance plays a part in these stories, it’s the friendship between women that makes Meave’s stories compelling.
- Easy To Read
- Realistic Characters
- Stories About People
- Rocky Endings
- Secondary Characters Aren’t Great
- Breadth Over Depth
Themes: Friendship, Self Discovery, Travel
Barbara Taylor Bradford
Barbara Taylor Bradford is another UK-based author but she normally writes in series format rather than stand-alone novels.
Her most loved saga is Emma Harte, which starts with A Woman Of Substance.
Bradford often writes historical romantic fiction, and in this collection of stories we see a servant girl who wants more in her life than her current circumstances give.
Through her determination, Emma learns what it means to survive, uncover treachery and make her mark on the world.
Bradford’s stories take a light-hearted approach to social discussion, with more sensual tension and romance than epiphanies on humanity. However, the idea of self-discovery is still powerful in her novels.
For example, you may enjoy the novel A Sudden Change of Heart. The story follows two women and their friendship through tragedy and secrecy.
Although some might call this novel a love story, the most important social relationships are between the two women and their own ideas about themselves.
Barbara mixed the concept of self-discovery, friendship as well as romance into her creations for a lighthearted look at humanity.
- Extremely Good Plots
- Realistic Characters
- Easy To Read
- Stories Often Longer Than Needed
- Stories May Be Considered Outdated Now
- Not All Main Characters Are Loveable
Themes: Friendship, Self Discovery, Romance, Lighthearted
Penny Vincenzi was a writer of people. She opened our eyes to the individual lives that are around us. Her stories allowed us to explore friendships, betrayals, and misunderstandings.
To find an author similar to Vincenzi you need to consider what the focus of their stories are; is it the plot themselves or is it the people we come to love along the way?
This connection to humanity is why we believe your next author binge list should include Danielle Steel, Jeffrey Archer, Maeve Binchy, and Barbara Taylor Bradford.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Old Was Penny Vincenzi When She Died?
Penny was 78 years old when she passed away peacefully in England, in 2018. Her family has not announced the cause of death.
What Was Penny Vincenzi’s Last Book?
Penny’s last book was A Question of Trust which was published in 2017.
She was several chapters into a new novel when she passed away, but these details haven’t been released as they weren’t finished.
What Was The Cause Of Maeve Binchy’s Death?
Maeve died of a heart attack in 2012. She was 73 years old and was struggling with various illnesses at the time of her death including osteoarthritis and a spinal infection.
- 20 Must-Read Genre-Blending Literary Fiction Books - May 26, 2023
- 32 Gripping Epic Fantasy Books To Transport You To Another World - May 26, 2023
- 12 Books Like Red, White, And Royal Blue You Will Love - May 17, 2023