Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: Pleasing Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Publisher: Accent Press
Pub. Date: September 28th, 2017
Pages: 407

Genre: Historical Fiction


London 1667.

Set in a London rising from the ruins of the Great Fire, Pleasing Mr Pepys is a vivid re-imagining of the events in Samuel Pepys’s Diary.

Desperate to escape her domineering aunt, Deb Willet thinks the post of companion to well-respected Elisabeth Pepys is the answer to her prayers. But Samuel Pepys’s house is not as safe as it seems. An intelligent girl in Deb’s position has access to his government papers, and soon she becomes a target of flamboyant actress Abigail Williams, a spy for England’s enemies, the Dutch.

Abigail is getting old and needs a younger accomplice. She blackmails Deb into stealing Pepys’s documents. Soon, the respectable life Deb longs for slides out of her grasp. Mr Pepys’s obsessive lust for his new maid increases precisely as Abigail and her sinister Dutch spymaster become more demanding. When Deb falls for handsome Jem Wells, a curate-in-training, she thinks things cannot possibly get worse.

Until – not content with a few stolen papers – the Dutch want Mr Pepys’s Diary.

What Did I Think About the Story?

Something I love most about historical fiction is the fact that there are just so many stories to be told, from such a variety of perspectives. As many stories as I've read centered around some point of English history, I can't think of another novel I've read that's set against the rebuilding of London after the great fire. How I've missed this I don't know, but Deborah Swift does an excellent job of setting our characters within this topsy turvy world of upheaval and growth and showing just how dangerous this world can be if you take a wrong step.

Right off the bat the novel pulls the reader in with a whip-quick murder, one that had me wondering just what other thrills the novel would have in store for me. The story soon moves to Deb Willet as we see her leaving her domineering and cruel aunt's home for a post with the Pepys's and I began to will this sweet and intelligent girl end up embroiled in the violent action that the story opened with? I've read a number of novels that deal with historical spy rings and the dangers and benefits that can come from being pulled into this exciting yet vicious world, however I was particularly drawn to this aspect within Pleasing Mr. Pepys mainly due to the fact that Deb Willet seemed so unlike the typical person ensnared into this sort of environment. She comes from a well-to-do family, is well-educated, and seems so innocent at first, wanting simply to do well in her new circumstances and to make a better world for her and her sister. If she's able to find her mother, who abandoned her and her siblings and who, she believes, ran off to London, more's the better. Watching Abigail, so adept at intrigue and deception, pull Deb into this sinful hidden domain, against everything Deb wanted for her life, was gripping and entertaining.

Something else I very much enjoyed was seeing London from two distinct perspectives. We get to see the opulent theatres and homes of people like the Pepys, but we also get to see the dank, dirty, and dangerous back alleys of the city, where people turn to sin to feed their families and plot intrigue against a King that refuses to pay them for work done to protect his throne. It's this aspect that really excited me as the double dealing and intrigue was absolutely fascinating. Seeing people brought as low as nearly possible and then watching some of them try to right the wrongs they've committed made this a redemption story as well, and I always enjoy stories where characters scrabble back onto the right path.

Pleasing Mr. Pepys is scintillating and exciting historical fiction, all the more so since many of the character were actual people living and breathing this story. Like with all my favorite historical fiction, Swift includes historical notes at the end to flesh out fact from fiction. Having turned the last page on Deb, Abigail, the Pepys', and all the rest I now want to read more about their lives and the world they lived within. This is always a sign for me that the author did a great job of bringing their history back to life and I think historical fiction lovers will find much to enjoy in this story.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I think it's GORGEOUS!! It's the perfect cover for historical fiction! I know a lot of people don't like when a woman's head is cut off on a cover, however having the eye's above the edge of this cover makes the woman seem mysterious, which fits in well with this story of spies. The buildings at the bottom capture the location, and the gilt edging makes it feel old yet important. I really love it!

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Thank you to the lovely Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for sending me a free copy of Pleasing Mr. Pepys in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine alone. Continue on below for more information about the book, it's authors, and the rest of the blog tour!

Praise for Pleasing Mr. Pepys

“Swift brought Deborah Willet, the Pepyses, and the London of the 1660s to life in an exciting and sometimes touching way…I didn’t want to put it down, and found myself thinking about the story when I went about my day.” – Andrea Zuvich, Author of His Last Mistress

“Deb Willet, Elizabeth Pepys’s maid and the object of Samuel Pepys’s attentions, is finally given centre-stage after 350 years, and her tale was worth waiting for. This is exceptional story-telling.” – L. C. Tyler

“Laced with emotional intensity and drama, Pleasing Mr Pepys… (has) an intricate plot that features red herrings, unexpected twists, and surprises that will take readers on a very delightful ride.” – Arya Fomonyuy, Readers’ Favorite

Buy the Book


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 Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

It's Giveaway Time!!!


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed copy of Pleasing Mr. Pepys to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Good Luck!!

Pleasing Mr. Pepys HFVBT Schedule


Thursday, September 28

Review at The Maiden’s Court
Guest Post at Books of All Kinds

Friday, September 29
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, October 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 3
Wednesday, October 4
Feature at A Holland Reads

Thursday, October 5
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, October 6
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 9
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, October 10
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, October 11
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, October 13
Review at Poppy Coburn

Monday, October 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Tuesday, October 17
Review at Laura’s Interests
Interview at Suzy Approved Books

Wednesday, October 18
Review at Jo’s Book Blog

Thursday, October 19
Feature at T’s Stuff

Friday, October 20
Review at A Literary Vacation
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

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