Review & Giveaway: Entertaining Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift

Entertaining Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift

Publication Date: September 12, 2019
Hachette Book Group
eBook. Paperback, Audiobook; 400 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

London 1666

Elizabeth 'Bird' Carpenter has a wonderful singing voice, and music is her chief passion. When her father persuades her to marry horse-dealer Christopher Knepp, she suspects she is marrying beneath her station, but nothing prepares her for the reality of life with Knepp. Her father has betrayed her trust, for Knepp cares only for his horses; he is a tyrant and a bully, and will allow Bird no life of her own.

When Knepp goes away, she grasps her chance and, encouraged by her maidservant Livvy, makes a secret visit to the theatre. Entranced by the music, the glitter and glamour of the surroundings, and the free and outspoken manner of the women on the stage, she falls in love with the theatre and is determined to forge a path of her own as an actress.

But life in the theatre was never going to be straightforward - for a jealous rival wants to spoil her plans, and worse, Knepp forbids it, and Bird must use all her wit and intelligence to change his mind.

Based on events depicted in the famous Diary of Samuel Pepys, Entertaining Mr Pepys brings London in the 17th Century to life. It includes the vibrant characters of the day such as the diarist himself and actress Nell Gwynne, and features a dazzling and gripping finale during the Great Fire Of London.

The third in Deborah Swift's atmospheric trilogy, bringing to life the women in Pepys' Diary. Each novel features a different character and can be read as a stand-alone book.

'A remarkably beguiling read. It transported me to the glitter and filth of seventeenth century London' - Martine Bailey, author of The Almanack

'The fusion of historical facts and fiction is so flawless that it is hard to know where reality ends and fiction begins' - Readers Favourite Review

Amazon | Book Depository

Praise for the Pepys Trilogy

'Swift is a consummate historical novelist, basing her books on immaculate research and then filling the gaps between real events and real people with eloquent storytelling, atmospheric scene setting and imaginative plot lines' - The Visitor

'A novel that transports readers with astonishing and engrossing detail' - Readers Favorite 5*

'Pepys and his world spring to vibrant life… Gripping, revealing and stunningly imagined' -Lancashire Evening Post


Entertaining Mr. Pepys is a page-turning historical set in Restoration London and the third book in Swift's Women of Pepys' Diary series. Though I haven't read the first two books in the series, I didn't feel lost at all. Each book can be read as a stand-alone and features women that were mentioned in the diary of the real Samuel Pepys.

In Entertaining Mr. Pepys we meet Bird, a young woman still living with her father. Her mother is passed and her father remarries. Bird and her step-mother don't get along and while she is desperate to get away from the house, she is unable to bring herself to be excited to marry the man her father has chosen for her, a local businessman named Knepp. Well, I say marry but really they just sold her off like a Christmas Ham. So, Bird's odious father and odious step-mother marry her of to the odious Knepp and wash their hands of her. Poor Bird is strong though and wants to make the most out of her new life, but her new husband only wants her for her dowry and has no plans on trying to make her happy. For a while, she is content and has her friendship with their servant, Livvy, but on a rare evening out they go to the theater and her world suddenly opens up. She has a wonderful singing voice and wants to be on stage. At this time in the theater, more roles for women are opening up so she takes a chance to auditions. Knepp is not thrilled about this to say the least, but it's helping his business so he acquiesces.

At the theater, she meets Pepys and they soon become friends. He is fascinated with her singing and pays for her to perform at his gatherings. I loved the theater scenes - they are always fun! And we get to meet my all-time favorite actress from back then, Nellie Gwynne!

In addition to Bird, Livvy, Knepp, and Pepys we also hear from Pepys' wife, Elizabeth. Her and Bird have much in common as they are both trapped in loveless marriages. I felt awful for these women. To be at the whim of a man and have no legal rights to anything must have been a nightmare. I cannot even imagine. Some of the scenes made me so livid I had to put the book down and decompress a bit :)

I can't wait to go back and read the first two books in the series. While I'm not a fan of Pepys I would love to read about the women in his life.

Swift's writing is phenomenal and the plot gripping and exciting. Highly recommended!

About the Author

Deborah Swift is the author of three previous historical novels for adults, The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance, all published by Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, as well as the Highway Trilogy for teens (and anyone young at heart!). Her first novel was shortlisted for the Impress prize for new novelists.

She lives on the edge of the beautiful and literary English Lake District – a place made famous by the poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.

For more information, please visit Deborah Swift’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, November 21
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Reading the Past

Friday, November 22
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Monday, November 25
Review & Excerpt at Book Reviews from Canada

Tuesday, November 26
Review at A Book Geek

Wednesday, November 27
Guest Post at Short Book and Scribes

Thursday, November 28
Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, November 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Monday, December 2
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 3
Excerpt at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, December 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 6
Excerpt at Donna's Book Blog

Monday, December 9
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Tuesday, December 10
Excerpt at Words and Peace

Wednesday, December 11
Review at Hopewell's Public Library of Life

Thursday, December 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a signed copy of Entertaining Mr. Pepys! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Entertaining Mr. Pepys

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