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.
Entertaining Mr Pepys, the third in Deborah Swift’s series based on the lives of women in Pepys’s Diary, is published by Accent Press on 21 November, 2019.
Deborah’s written about the research behind this story, with a particular emphasis on the fate of London’s animals during the Great Fire of 1666.