Author:  Priya Parmar
ISBN:  978-1-4391-7117-2

Click Here To Purchase Exit the Actress: A Novel
 
From a debut novelist comes this extraordinarily funny, wise, dramatic, romantic, and historical novel that I truly could not put down.  Over the years I’ve read and reviewed many books that focus on the English crown.  Hundreds of authors have written books regarding almost every King who has ever sat on the throne, as well as their family, wars, mistresses, mistakes, and deaths.  But what Ms. Parmar has cleverly done is offer readers a character that is so intoxicating everyone will want to follow her every step of the way.
 
Her name is Ellen.  Ellen is a small, quiet, calm girl who lives with her mother and her older sister Rose.  Her mother is constantly out of the house until all hours of the night serving (and consuming) drinks at the local tavern.  Her mother has the ability to spend almost everything the family has, which isn’t much, on drink instead of clothes and food for her girls.  However, when their grandfather comes into town and moves in with the family, he begins to educate Rose and Ellen, as well as buy them soap and shoes so that they at least have something.  Although Ellen loves her Grandfather and chooses to study to become a better person, she has to watch her sister Rose go down the wrong path.
 
Rose chooses to serve drinks with her mother at night in order to make more money than she gets now by standing on the street selling smelly oysters.  Unfortunately, waitressing doesn’t seem to be all that she gets herself into.  Rose quickly goes into the business of selling herself in order to get better clothes, shoes, and baubles.  Not only does her mother agree to Rose’s chosen profession, she is also the Madame, bringing her own daughter into the seedy world just to make more
money for more drink.

 
Ellen can’t stand what’s going on around her and wants nothing to do with that life.  Instead, she continues her education as well as moving up from oysters to oranges.  A woman in charge of selling high-priced China oranges hires Ellen and sends her into the Theatre Royal to make money during the plays.  Not only does young Ellen sellout her parcel of oranges every night, she also stands out to the actors, actresses, and owner of the theatre.  Her humor is undeniable, and her ability to sing and learn to dance makes her an absolute shoo-in to join the illustrious cast.  As she begins dating a man named Hart, who is one of the high-standing theatrical people, Ellen finds herself being taken care of for the first time in her life.  Hart, although a jealous man, loves to buy Ellen things and take her to shows, and offer her a way into society that Ellen can hardly believe.  He even helps her save her sister Rose from prison by taking Ellen to the King to beg for mercy for her sibling.  That is the first meeting of Ellen and King Charles II, but it is certainly not their last.
 
As Ellen matures, she not only becomes the pride and joy of the Theatre, but she also encounters everything from the war between England and the Dutch, to the gossip regarding the King’s mistress who seems to be everywhere – even when the King brings home his Portuguese Queen.  Ellen watches the plague sweep through the streets of England and experiences opening night jitters, curtain calls, first loves, and absolute heartbreak.  From the stage to the bed of a King, Ellen Gwyn faces triumphs and disasters that stem from gossip and political backstabbing, to bitter women who want to rid the King of the young woman he completely falls in love with.
 
Not only has Ms. Parmar written a book that is a true joy to read, she also writes in such a fashion that readers get to experience letters between the King and his family located across the land, offering historical background on everything from King Louis in France to his own mother demanding Charles to love his Queen, dump the mistresses, and make sure he sires a boy who will keep the throne.  Playbills, gossip columns, letters – all different types of “voices” tell the story of Ellen Gwyn, and readers will find themselves absolutely enveloped by the creativity of the characters and the amazing storyline.  If this is a debut I, for one, can’t wait to see what else is inside this author’s mind.  Enjoy!

 Click Here To Purchase Exit the Actress: A Novel