Exit the Actress

Exit the Actress

Book - 2011
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From the critically acclaimed author of Vanessa and Her Sister , the debut novel hailed by New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory as "a vivid imagining of the restoration London of Charles II with Nell Gwynn as a powerful and engaging heroine."

While selling oranges in the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, sweet and sprightly Ellen "Nell" Gwyn impresses the theater's proprietors with a wit and sparkle that belie her youth and poverty. She quickly earns a place in the company, narrowly avoiding the life of prostitution to which her sister has already succumbed. As her roles evolve from supporting to starring, the scope of her life broadens as well. Soon Ellen is dressed in the finest fashions, charming the theatrical, literary, and royal luminaries of Restoration England.

Ellen grows up on the stage, experiencing first love and heartbreak and eventually becoming the mistress of Charles II. Despite his reputation as a libertine, Ellen wholly captures his heart--and he hers--but even the most powerful love isn't enough to stave off the gossip and bitter court politics that accompany a royal romance.

Telling the story through a collection of vibrant seventeenth-century voices ranging from Ellen's diary to playbills, letters, gossip columns, and home remedies, Priya Parmar brings to life the story of an endearing and delightful heroine.
Publisher: New York : Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2011.
ISBN: 9781439171172
Characteristics: 446 pages ; 21 cm


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Dec 06, 2013

The story is told primarily through Nell's personal diary, but between chapters the book adds snippets of gossip, recipes, and correspondence between other characters to get in world events and to add authenticity to a lot of the beliefs people held. I had expected more of her life with Charles, but really that was only the last third of the book. It focused a lot on her early life and her life as an actress. I think this is a great book both for historical fiction lovers and for those new to the genre. It's very readable, and it's rekindled my need to go read all the historical fictions! For the full review, head to my blog at OboeChica books (so long and thanks for all the fish).

Aug 13, 2011

I didn't want to put this book down. The characters were so real and jumped off the page. I especially liked the use of real letters and news articles from the time period. A great first novel.

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