2011 Release: Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar

by Priya Parmar

Release Date:  February 1, 2011

SYNOPSISWhile 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.


Priya Parmar, a former dramaturg and freelance editor holds degrees in English Literature and theatre and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She divides her time between Hawaii and London. Visit her website at PriyaParmar.com.



  1. I can't wait for this one! Nell is such a fascinating character to me!!

  2. Is it strange that the one thing I noticed on that beautiful cover is that they used a quote from Philippa Gregory? I am a fan of PG, so if she has positive things to say about it then this book will hopefully make it onto my reading shelf soon. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Nell Gwynn is certainly a popular person lately

  4. This is a really special novel. I love the idea that she's an actress during that period in history. Great review.

  5. Even I noticed the Gregory comment! This sounds good as well. Thank you for this review.

  6. Love the cover for this one. I agree with Pricilla, Nell is quite popular as of late!

  7. Is this the author that did Watermark? (I think that's the novel.) Regardless, this looks great!

  8. This one has been on my radar for some time because of the South Asian author connection!


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