"The Decision" is primarily set in sixties London and the United Kingdom countryside but there is also significant focus on Milan and New York as the characters live and travel throughout these countries.
Eliza Clark, was raised in what might seem from the outside as an extremely wealthy family who has a country home that has been passed down through the generations. The truth, however, is that Summercourt is in desperate need of repairs that the family cannot afford and their hope is that Eliza will marry well so that they can survive without having to sell the estate.
Eliza, however, is much more interested in her career as a fashion editor and shows obvious talent in that field. She doesn't really have any intention of giving it up, at least until she meets her brother's friend, Matt Shaw. Matt is a self-made property tycoon who wants Eliza to be his wife and full-time homemaker. He is prepared to not only financially support her in a good style but also to take over the stress placed on the family by Summercourt.
Eliza is torn between wanting to reach her own goals and wanting to please the husband who she loves. She does not find parenting to be as satisfying as he would hope and, in fact, becomes involved in a very negative struggle with her young daughter, Emmie, who is quite manipulative. Both Eliza and Matt are devastated by the death of her son and neither knows how to deal with the grief.
As Matt, Eliza and Emmie go through a number of extremely stressful situations that ultimately lead to divorce, they struggle with their own feelings as well as the impact that their choices have on others around them.
Eliza's brother, Charles, and Matt's sister, Scarlett are two other very important characters in this novel. Each of them is also followed through their career, relationship, and personal dilemmas.
It is hard to believe but this book actually has sixty-four characters. Each of them plays a significant role that contributes to a complex but captivating storyline. You might think that it would be difficult to remember all of them and be able to keep everything straight in your head but the beautiful way that the author weaves information about them throughout the chapters makes the task not only simple but also captivating
I really enjoyed this book. The reader can easily relate to the people and situations that are described because they involve the type of everyday living problems that we all face at various times of our own lives.
I have always enjoyed the writings of Penny Vincenzi and even though I never thought that it would be possible, each book just seems to be better than the last one.
If there was a negative, it would only be the strain of holding this book - 757 pages make it both bulky and heavy but do not let this deter you from beginning the read. As you turn the pages, I think you will be glad that you did.