Scandalous Risks : Church of England

  • by Susan Howatch
  • Narrated by Sian Thomas
  • Series: Church of England
  • 15 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1963, when traditional values are under attack, Venetia, a young woman, becomes involved with the Dean of Starbridge Cathedral. But as a married man, he has nothing to offer her, and Venetia finds herself trapped in a web of love and lies.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Starbridge sensation

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I first read Susan Howatch's series of novels about the Church of England back in the 1980s and was curious to see if they had stood the test of time. Listening to this one, beautifully interpreted in the voice of Sian Thomas, I was not disappointed. Starbridge and its Cathedral Close is the setting for a surprising tale of illicit clerical love in the swinging sixties. "Honest to God" has just been published and is rocking the church just as "Lady Chatterley's Lover" is shocking the country. So evocative of the "swinging sixties", this book is not only a very entertaining read but also a valid and serious look at social history.
I was sorry when it ended but happy that Venetia and her talisman reappear as the series progresses. Highly recommended for any who remember those times (and any who would like to have lived through them!).

What other book might you compare Scandalous Risks to, and why?

A bit of a twentieth century "Barchester" Chronicle (Anthony Trollope) - it is a tale of cathedral politics and clerical families with a twist of scandal.

Which character – as performed by Sian Thomas – was your favourite?


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

Hoping Audible is going to publish the entire sequence!

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- Kate

Starbridge series

I have read all of the Starbridge series of books and was delighted when I realized that they were available in audio. The first one I bought was my favourite in the book series - Glamorous Powers. This was a sad disappointment because the main character, Father Jonathon Darrow,who features in the whole series and whom I invariably found to be fascinating and attractive in the books, came over as a mysogynistic old bore on audio. This was interesting since the reader was reading exactly what Susan Howatch had written, but presumably his view of Darrow differed from my own, and it all came down to voice and inflection. With Scandalous Risks I found the main character in the book version, Venetia Flaxman, vapid and irritating while the behaviour of Neville Aysgarth, the Dean, (who also features in all the books) seemed extremely improbable. However, the audio version came over as quite the opposite. It was brillliantly and sympathetically read and one could easily identify with Venetia as the story unfolded. To me these books are a fascinating example of how audio and the characterisations of the characters by the reader can make or break a book utterly. I hope all the Starbridge books become available in Audio one of these days and also - forlorn hope - that they will re-record Glamorous Powers with someone else doing the narration!
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- Diana

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-09-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios