The Vizard Mask, Diana Norman

The Vizard Mask, Diana Norman

Well Read

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Condition:  WELL READ / GOOD

Publisher:  BCA 

Publication date: 1994 

First published 1994 

Format: Hardback 

Pages: 692 

Weight: 725g 

 ISBN: 000000014328


About the Book:  

Pentinence, a Puritan from the Americas, arrives in Charles II’s capital with nothing but a great many prejudices, a bible, and the last known address of her aunt, Margaret.  The address turns out to be a brothel in one of London’s least salubrious quarters: St Giles-in-the-Fields, which is a shock.  At first the lawlessness and squalor confirm all her prejudices – sin is in fashion and most of it parades through Dog Yard under Pentinence’s nose.  Yet there’s humanity too, even among the whores; a rollicking humour, crude but energetic; and charm – in the person of Henry King, an impecunious actor who weaves into the Yard trailing the whiff of sophistication and the stage.  

Pen’s beliefs are shaken.  And by the time the Plague has burrowed into the Yarders’ homes and she witnesses the raw courage with which they endure it, the naïve Puritan has gone for ever.  When she meets Aphra Behn, the eccentric playwright and spy for the king, she is inspired to become an actress and fight, like Aphra, to live her life free of men’s control.  But soon she is embroiled in the tarnished glitter of Charles’s court, with its vicious rakes and sexual intrigue, where the idea of an ‘independent woman’ is a contradiction in terms.  It is a battle Pen and Aphra may never win.   

The Vizard Mask illuminates the turbulent years of Charles and his brother James’s reigns in joyous detail.  Redolent of the politics and playacting of Restoration England, this is a boisterous story, richly peopled and told with a wicked turn of wit.  

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