Deborah Swift has been writing successful historical fiction novels about an age less frequently chosen by other writers. We've read plenty of tales set in the fascinating eras of the middle ages or the Tudor years - which Swift herself chose for a few of her novels - but we seldom find adventure or romance set in the 17th century.
After publishing The Highway Trilogy based on the life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, the highwaywoman, sometimes known as The Wicked Lady, a tale of adventure and budding romance set in the turbulent English Civil War and meant to delight teens and adults alike, Deborah Swift's research focused on a different project still based in the 17th century: The Pepys Trilogy.
The first book in the new trilogy, Pleasing Mr Pepys, was published in September 2017, while book two, A Plague on Mr Pepys has just been released!
|A portrait of Samuel Pepys|
The diary of Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) gives us a very detailed account of London life in the 17th century – from the triumphant return of Charles II to the catastrophes of the Great Plague (1665) and the Great Fire of London (1666). Debora Swift has given centre-stage to some of the women mentioned in Pepys' diary and revealed some of the least known details or anecdotes.
Pleasing Mr Pepys
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.
NEW! A Plague on Mr Pepys
The Great Plague has London in its grip. As the summer heat rises, red crosses mark the doors, wealthy citizens flee and only the poor remain to face the march of death. Ambitious and attractive, Bess Bagwell is determined her carpenter husband, Will, should make a name for himself and schemes to meet Samuel Pepys, diarist, friend of the King and an important man in the Navy shipyards. But Pepys has his own motive for cultivating Bess, and it s certainly not to benefit her husband. With pestilence rife in the city, all trade ceases. Will is forced to invest in his unscrupulous cousin Jack s dubious cure for the pestilence which horrifies Bess and leaves them deeper in debt. Now they are desperate for money and the dreaded disease is moving ever closer. Will Pepys honour his promises or break them?