Written in the first person Venetia almost thirty, unmarried (still a stigma from the 60's to the 80's) comes from an aristocratic upper crust English family. Almost ignored by her family in what seems to be typical upbringing for her age - Venetia falls in love with a clergyman in his sixties, married to a highly strung, controlling woman with over 5 children - some almost her same age The story set in 1963 is told from 20 years later which adds a poignancy to the story.
Howatch has written several books set amongst the hierarchy of the Anglican clergy - this is one more. The stuffiness and traditions some set in stone, apparent in the clergy, are at the same time at variance with Aysgarth's views on love and life - that you can be madly in love and still only have a platonic relationship with the love of your life seems peculiar. As long as no one is hurt and the love affair is not consummated seems to be ideal for Aysgarth. Howatch shows how dangerous such ideas could be.
How Venetia gets trapped in this mess of lies and how the whole affair erupts is the love story part of Scandalous Risks. Lots of detail- both of the times as well as life in the hierarchy of the Anglican church, the politics, the back biting and behind the scenes activities in the church all add a great deal of interest to the book and form the balance part of the story.
As usual a very good book.