Review: Wicked Company by Ciji Ware

by Ciji Ware

Publication Date:  October 1, 2010
Sourcebooks Publishing

SYNOPSIS:  In 18th century London the glamorous Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres were all the rage, beckoning every young actor, actress, playwright, and performer with the lure of the stage lights. But competition and back-biting between theatre owners, patrons, actors, and writers left aspiring playwrights with their work stolen, profits withheld, and reputations on the line. For a female, things were harder still, as the chances of a "petticoat playwright" getting past the government censor was slim.

In this exciting and cutthroat world, a young woman with a skill for writing and an ambition to see her work performed could rise to glory, or could lose all in the blink of an eye...

In Ciji Ware's signature style, real-life characters of the day create a backdrop for a portrait of a glittering era, a love story, and a compelling glimpse into what life was like for a strong and independent-minded woman in an emphatically man's world.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

REVIEW: Author Ciji Ware earned a lifelong fan in me ever since reading Island of the Swans(READ MY REVIEW) last year and was reinforced when A Cottage by the Sea (READ MY REVIEW) was re-issued by Sourcebooks earlier this year. So, when I got an email about reviewing the latest Ware re-issue, Wicked Company, I jumped on it quick!

In her author notes Ciji Ware states that the inspiration for writing Wicked Company came up unexpectedly while conducting research for Island of the Swans. The main character of Island of the Swans, Jane Maxwell, had a sister who had written and produced several plays. Ciji then researched further and found that there were about 98 women who wrote plays and had them run in London’s most famous play houses between the years 1660-1800. And even though they were among the most popular writers of the day most of us know little about these extraordinary women.

In Wicked Company, Ware brings 18th century London and the struggles of a woman playwright to life. Sophie McCann is the daughter of a Scottish printer from Edinburgh who eventually comes to London and finds herself immersed in the theatrical world of Drury Lane and Covent Gardens. Ciji has a great talent for creating awesome and unforgettable characters and while Sophie’s naiveté got on my nerves a smidge I still really enjoyed her. Her tenacity and ambitiousness was inspiring and you really rally for her. My only issue with this book was that after a while it seemed that everything and anything bad happened to Sophie, but I think the author was just trying to show the various obstacles that playwrights had to deal with at the time and for that I think she did a bang up job.Wicked Company is a great read and I very much recommend it!

For more information, please visit Ciji Ware's WEBSITE.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for review from the gracious people at Sourcebooks.



  1. I am halfway through this one now and am thoroughly enjoying it.

  2. Thanks for the review Amy! I agree, Ciji Ware does an excellent job of creating vivid and emotional characters.

  3. Great review, I really want to try Ware one day

  4. I'm reading this now -- glad you enjoyed it!

  5. 98 women! Just fascinating! Wishlisting this one!


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