Exit the Actress: A Novel

Exit the Actress: A Novel

4.9 12
by Priya Parmar
     
 

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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 sprightlySee more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Part epistolary and part faux memoir, Parmar's debut brings a lesser-known bit of English history to life. Nell Gwyn's name has come down through history as an actress who became Charles II's mistress. Despite her humble beginnings, Nell rises quickly with a gift of mimicry, talent for dance, and a unique loveliness. Charles's charisma, meanwhile, is matched only by his reputation as a libertine, and once he realizes Nell wants him as a man and not a king, he falls for her, though their love must survive his scheming ex-mistresses, Nell's love of independence, and a tumultuous political backdrop. What separates this from other royal mistress tales is the real-feeling relationships between Gwyn, Charles, and Queen Catherine: Parmar resists the easy way out of polarizing the reader against either the cheating husband or the cuckolded wife, and Nell is a thoughtful protagonist and narrator. While the epistolary passages can feel contrived, this is a solid debut from a writer readers will want to see more from. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
A real triumph….A vivid imagining of the restoration London of Charles II with Nell Gwynn as a powerful and engaging heroine set in the busy world of the theater. This debut novel captures the glamorous world of the amoral court and the struggle of the city. Priya Parmar is a writer to watch.”

—Philippa Gregory

Author of The Other Boleyn Girl

"Clever ... a delight ... irresistible ... I loved this book."

Sharon Kay Penman, author of Devil's Brood

“Nell is irrepressible, spunky, delightful: who wouldn’t fall in love with her? Her story unfolds through diary entries, letters, news announcements, recipes. It's a tasty and often amusing confection, sure to please. I absolutely adored it.”

—Sandra Gulland, author of the Josephine B. Trilogy and Mistress of the Sun

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439171189
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
02/01/2011
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
304,975
File size:
4 MB

What People are saying about this

Philippa Gregory
A real triumph….A vivid imagining of the restoration London of Charles II with Nell Gwynn as a powerful and engaging heroine set in the busy world of the theater. This debut novel captures the glamorous world of the amoral court and the struggle of the city. Priya Parmar is a writer to watch." --(Philippa Gregory Author of The Other Boleyn Girl)
Sandra Gulland
"Nell is irrepressible, spunky, delightful: who wouldn't fall in love with her? Her story unfolds through diary entries, letters, news announcements, recipes. It¹s a tasty and often amusing confection, sure to please. I absolutely adored it." --(Sandra Gulland, author of the Josephine B. Trilogy and Mistress of the Sun)
Sharon Kay Penman
"Clever ... a delight ... irresistible ... I loved this book." -- (Sharon Kay Penman, author of Devil's Brood)

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