Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pleasing Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift

Pleasing Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift

Publication Date: September 28, 2017
Accent Press
eBook & Paperback; 407 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

London 1667. Set in a London rising from the ruins of the Great Fire, Pleasing Mr Pepys is a vivid re-imagining of the events in Samuel Pepys’s Diary. Desperate to escape her domineering aunt, Deb Willet thinks the post of companion to well-respected Elisabeth Pepys is the answer to her prayers. But Samuel Pepys’s house is not as safe as it seems. An intelligent girl in Deb’s position has access to his government papers, and soon she becomes a target of flamboyant actress Abigail Williams, a spy for England’s enemies, the Dutch. Abigail is getting old and needs a younger accomplice. She blackmails Deb into stealing Pepys’s documents. Soon, the respectable life Deb longs for slides out of her grasp. Mr Pepys’s obsessive lust for his new maid increases precisely as Abigail and her sinister Dutch spymaster become more demanding. When Deb falls for handsome Jem Wells, a curate-in-training, she thinks things cannot possibly get worse. Until – not content with a few stolen papers – the Dutch want Mr Pepys’s Diary.
"Swift brought Deborah Willet, the Pepyses, and the London of the 1660s to life in an exciting and sometimes touching way...I didn't want to put it down, and found myself thinking about the story when I went about my day." - Andrea Zuvich, Author of His Last Mistress
"Deb Willet, Elizabeth Pepys's maid and the object of Samuel Pepys's attentions, is finally given centre-stage after 350 years, and her tale was worth waiting for. This is exceptional story-telling." - L. C. Tyler
"Laced with emotional intensity and drama, Pleasing Mr Pepys... (has) an intricate plot that features red herrings, unexpected twists, and surprises that will take readers on a very delightful ride." - Arya Fomonyuy, Readers' Favorite

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For lovers of historical fiction that reads like fact this is a book not to be overlooked.

Set during the Restoration Era in London, the late 1660s, after the Great Fire, this novel is both a story of personal and political upheaval. It is a coming of age novel, about discovering how to survive as a woman in a man's world, and doing whatever is necessary to survive.

Espionage, social upheaval, a clear portrait of the times, often ignored by those living in them, and a tale about learning to accept what life offers or throws at one. Between the deception and survival efforts, this is also a romance with many obstacles.

Abigail Williams is an actress, both on and off the stage. While not old by any current measures, she is mature and past her prime for her period of time. Although she is a Dutch spy, she has fallen into a comfortable position and cares for her mark, Lord B. She knows her position is a precarious one, her life in imminent danger.

Deb Willet, the main protagonist, begins as an innocent young woman, not much more than a girl, dependent upon her Aunt's kindness for the survival of herself and her younger sister, Hester. When placed as a companion with the difficult to please Elisabeth Pepys, who is actually a character for whom I felt sympathy, not a strong woman and very much a victim of her time and circumstances, Deb has her first realization that she is responsible for her own life. Some things are out of her hands but she must take control when and where possible. Difficult choices must be made and consequences dealt with. In all, the women of this story are well written and quite remarkable, whether you admire or dislike them.

Mr. Pepys is the center of the complications. His position, his deeds and connections, as well as his discreet writings, tie everything together. He is the most well known of the historical figures presented. The author does a masterful job of building a believeable backstory and filling in the gaps of life based on his known writings.

 About the Author

Deborah Swift is the author of three previous historical novels for adults, The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance, all published by Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, as well as the Highway Trilogy for teens (and anyone young at heart!). Her first novel was shortlisted for the Impress prize for new novelists. She lives on the edge of the beautiful and literary English Lake District – a place made famous by the poets Wordsworth and Coleridge. For more information, please visit Deborah Swift's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your excellent review & for hosting Deborah's Blog Tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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