Terry Tyler's Reviews > Entertaining Mr Pepys

Entertaining Mr Pepys by Deborah Swift
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
9107600
's review

it was amazing

What an excellent trilogy this is! Three books set in the Restoration era London of Samuel Pepys, with him as a secondary character. I think #2 is still my favourite (actually one of my favourite books of the past ten years), but I loved this one, too.

This is the story of Mary Elizabeth 'Bird' Knepp, a young woman stuck in a ghastly prison of a marriage, until one day she goes to the theatre, and knows straight away that this is where she is meant to be. But this is no drudgery-to-diamonds historical romance, despite her flirtations with Pepys; it's 17th century London at its most filthy, squalid and hungry. Each time I read one of Ms Swift's books set in London during this time, I think 'I really must read Pepys's diary' - I really AM going to, this time!

The book is not just about Bird, but also Livvy, her Dutch maid, living in England at a time when being Dutch is almost as bad as being Catholic. Then there is Stefan, a young theatre player who realises something about himself when he is no longer allowed to play female parts - and Christopher Knepp, Bird's taciturn husband. There are some other wonderful secondary characters, too, such as Knepp's cantankerous old mother, and Bird's horribly superficial father - and 17th century theatre itself; such a vivid, fascinating picture is painted.

The climax of covers the last twenty per cent, with the Great Fire of London - I was utterly gripped all the way through; it brought the horror of those days to life in the way that no other account I've read ever has.

The books intertwine but are complete stand-alones, so you can read them in any order. They're SO worth reading; I read this in three days because I didn't want to put it down. Do give this series ago - you'll feel as if you're in Pepys's London with the turn of every page. Honestly.



2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Entertaining Mr Pepys.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 24, 2019 – Shelved

No comments have been added yet.