Friday, November 11, 2011

Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar

"While selling oranges in the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, Ellen "Nell" Gwyn impresses the 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 luminaries of Restoration England.
Ellen grows up on the stage, experiencing first love and heartbreak and eventually becoming 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."

(from the publisher)

my thoughts:

Darn it, I really wanted to love this book!

It has all the ingredients of a great big juicy read about everyone's favorite orange-girl-turned-actress-turned-favorite-mistress-of-Charles II, but for me, it didn't quite all come together. It's quite a lovely novel to behold, from the gorgeous cover to the interior which consists of diary excerpts, playbills, letters, gossip columns, recipes, and other snippets of seventeenth century life. However, I found myself skimming and scanning, trying to find the real "meat" and was a little disappointed that the pieces, while interesting, didn't make for a satisfying whole. A strong beginning, a large cast of players and characters, but would have liked a bit more depth.

A pleasant read, perhaps good for someone just beginning to explore Restoration England or the mistresses of Charles II. (I'm always glad to give a balanced review, and Exit the Actress has received many 5 star ratings, so this is just my view.)


Title: Exit the Actress
Author: Priya Parmar
Simon & Schuster
446 pages


Anne said...

Too bad you didn't enjoy it more, it sounds like it would be a great book to read. Thanks for the honest review.

Svea Love said...

Thanks for the honest review, Joanne! I've read a lot of mixed reviews on this one as well. The book is on my shelf waiting for me; I wonder where my view will land. Hope you love your next read!

Carole Rae said...

Ah, boo. I'm sorry you couldn't love this book. It sounds sooooo good. Great review!

Anjuli said...

I'm thankful for an honest review.

Unknown said...

I have this one as well as The Darling Strumpet on my shelf to read. I have been told by people who have read both that Exit the Actress is the better read. I obviously don't have my own opinion on this tho. Thanks for the review!

Staci said...

I wanted to read this one too..until I read your thoughts on it! I trust your opinions and with so many great books out there to read I'm sticking with your 4.5 + books!!!

Elysium said...

I'm sorry you didn't like this more! I have this but haven't read it yet but I hope I'll like it more. Thanks for your honest review!

Carole Rae said...

Hey! I know I already commented on this, BUT I wanted to let you know that you won the Liebster Award! Congrats! =D

Joanne said...

Thank you most kindly, Carol Rae! I appreciate the award very much, and am tickled that you thought of me!

Blodeuedd said...

I saw that you got an award so i came on over to have a look at your pretty blog :)

Well you still liked it, even if you did not love it :/ A shame though

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Too bad you didn't love the novel. I enjoyed the style and thought it was a good book, although I would like to read something with a little more historical depth on the subject matter.

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