I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar
Published by Touchstone on February 1, 2011
Genres: Historical Fiction
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.
Words can not describe Priya Parmar’s novel Exit The Actress, it is so rich and vibrant that I felt like I was actually in the audience watching Nell perform and wanted to reach out for one of her oranges. While reading Nell’s journal entries I wanted to be her friend, with her tell it like it is attitude she would be a wonderful acquaintance to sip tea with and discuss the eyes and ears of Ambrose Pinky Esq. and his latest exposé. Throughout the novel there is the subtle climb to Miss Gwyn’s love affair with King Charles II, and because of such reads as a suspense novel. Although, no matter how deletable Exit The Actress is this is not a book to be rushed into but instead must stop and smell the flowers, leaving the reader hungry for the last word.