Terry Tyler's Reviews > Entertaining Mr Pepys

Entertaining Mr Pepys by Deborah Swift
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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.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 24, 2019 – Shelved

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