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Wicked Company [Kindle Edition]

Ciji Ware
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

All of life's a wicked stage and love a dangerous drama...


"A fascinating portrayal of London's theatrical milieu...Ware again proves she can intertwine fact and fiction to create an entertaining and harmonious whole."

-Publishers Weekly


If Shakespeare had a sister...


In 18th century London the glamorous Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres were all the rage, beckoning every young actor, actress, playwright, and performer with the lure of the stage lights. But competition and back-biting between theatre owners, patrons, actors, and writers left aspiring playwrights with their work stolen, profits withheld, and reputations on the line. For a female, things were harder still, as the chances of a "petticoat playwright" getting past the government censor was slim.


In this exciting and cutthroat world, a young woman with a skill for writing and an ambition to see her work performed could rise to glory, or could lose all in the blink of an eye...


In Ciji Ware's signature style, real-life characters of the day create a backdrop for a portrait of a glittering era, a love story, and a compelling glimpse into what life was like for a strong and independent-minded woman in an emphatically man's world.


"A historical novel so lively and intriguing, you don't realize you've learnt anything till after you close the book. Exciting, entertaining, and enlightening."

-Literary Times



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her second novel, Ware ( Island of the Swans ) again proves she can intertwine fact and fiction to create an entertaining and harmonious whole. Sophie McGann wants to earn her fortune as a playwright, but London's theater world in the mid-18th century is not a propitious place for women writers. First among those thwarting Sophie's ambitions is Peter Lindsay-Hoyt, a duplicitous and dissolute gentleman who hopes, by becoming her husband, to steal the credit and profits her writing brings. Further, she must either accommodate or evade Edward Capell, the eccentric censor of plays, who tends to dislike those by women. Sophie acquires a mentor in David Garrick, actor and manager of the Drury Lane Theatre, but her career is as tumultuous as her personal life: although married to Peter, Sophie loves actor Hunter Robertson, a romantic hero whose shortcomings are as realistically and winningly drawn as his charms. Ware tantalizingly tosses obstacles in the path of true love until the very end, while also offering a fascinating portrayal of London's theatrical milieu, with characters such as Capell, Garrick and Frances Sheridan--mother of Richard Brinsley and a playwright herself--convincingly drawn from history.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

An enjoyable read for fans of historical entertainment.

The author does a wonderful job at keeping a nice pace to the story and gives us a realistic look at what Great Britain might have been during the 1700's.

A thick historical novel set in the 18th century with a wickedly strong heroine and with a great view of the gritty world of the theatre.

Author Ciji Ware weaves a tale of intrigue and passion filled with secrets, betrayal, and danger all set against a theatrical background. While some of the characters are fiction, the author also intertwines historical characters along the way adding to the story.

Fascinating... The author has a knack for engrossing the reader in the details.

Ciji has a great talent for creating awesome and unforgettable characters.

The characters are enchanting, determined, real life, strong, independent and will sweep you off your feet... A wonderful story. A keeper.

The novel is rich in fascinating historical detail.

[An] epic feel and intricate historical detail, but with an admirable protagonist.

Ms. Ware's writing style is such that you find yourself drawn into the time period.

Wicked Company is chock full of interesting characters like James Boswell and David Garrick and I absolutely loved the descriptions of the Drury Lane theater community with their squabbles and rivalries

Ciji Ware is one of those rare authors who never has a misstep. Every book of hers is extremely well-written, historically detailed and well plotted.

Ware has artfully blended the historical players of 18th-century London theater... Her details of time and place are extraordinary, allowing readers to experience the cold, the smells, the scenery, and the costumes of the time. This is a must- read.

Wicked Company has made me a Ciji Ware devotee, this author not only rights beautiful stories, her text is a lyrical experience throughout. As the melodic plot unfolds she adds unique and charming characters who offer the perfect counterpoint.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1931 KB
  • Print Length: 626 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042JU7KS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,157 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Look at Female Playwrights October 30, 2010
Format:Paperback
This is a tale of a young woman who finds herself without her father. A young woman who was brought up educated at a time when women were not thought to have brains. After her father is arrested for selling books the church finds offensive Sophie writes a tract against those that convicted him and finds herself in serious trouble. Helped out of town by her actor friend she runs to London to seek out her aunt and uncle only to find more problems. Being strong and smart Sophie uses her writing and print making skills to survive.

Ms. Ware's writing style is such that you find yourself drawn into the time period. It was rather like watching a movie in my head. Her descriptions of place, attire and even persons are detailed but not so that you feel like you are reading a list. It's all drawn together so well in the whole of the story. The characters are well conceived and interesting. I did get a bit annoyed with Sophie though; as smart as she was portrayed to be it seemed she just never learned when it came to men. I also found it a touch hard to believe a young girl would survive so unscathed in this time period. But those minor niggling thoughts aside I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I was not aware that there were so many female playwrights in this time period. It did not surprise me that they were looked down upon and generally dismissed. The descriptions of the theatres and the backstage goings on were fascinating and added so much to the story. I am a theatre lover so it doesn't matter the time - a play is a play!

The central love story was full of challenges. I truly wonder if two people would really survive what these two went through over the course of so many years. There was an appalling lack of communication although I suppose back in this time period women WERE supposed to be seen and not heard. heh.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5) Great story, a bit too much melodrama at the end August 18, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Edinburgh, 1761. Sophie McGann's bookseller father runs afoul of the law as well as a vengeful nobleman and she finds herself in need of a quick getaway out of Scotland before she lands in the clapper as well. Coming to her rescue is the ever-so-handsome Hunter Robertson who hides her in his friend James Boswell's trunk and she's off to London to start a new life with her Aunt and Uncle (who also run a bookshop), but she finds her uncle dead and her aunt well on the road to insanity. Never one to let her spirits down for long, Sophie bucks up and puts the bookshop and printing business to rights. Located near the Covent Garden theater district, Sophie soon finds herself thoroughly entrenched in the theatrical community, including the famous actor/manager David Garrick who encourages her to pen her own plays. Eventually Sophie needs to get out of Dodge in a hurry and retreats to the theaters at Bath where she meets up with old friend Hunter (who is surprised at how nicely Sophie has grown up), as well as two lords with a great interest in the theater business, Roderick Darnly and Sir Peter Lindsay-Hoyt.

Since this is a romance, you know that just as our pair discover true love there's going to be complications and separations, and Sophie finds herself at the mercy of our two debauched noblemen. Is Sir Peter really the dear knight in shining armor he seems, or does he desire Sophie for other reasons? What deep dark secrets does Darnley hold and what it his compelling interest in Sophie? The story from here on out takes plentiful twists and turns and ups and downs as Sophie and Hunter fight the baddies, have numerous Big Misunderstandings and separations whilst trying to keep their true love alive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Author Ciji Ware earned a lifelong fan in me ever since reading Island of the Swans (READ MY REVIEW) last year and was reinforced when A Cottage by the Sea (READ MY REVIEW) was re-issued by Sourcebooks earlier this year. So, when I got an email about reviewing the latest Ware re-issue, Wicked Company, I jumped on it quick!

In her author notes Ciji Ware states that the inspiration for writing Wicked Company came up unexpectedly while conducting research for Island of the Swans. The main character of Island of the Swans, Jane Maxwell, had a sister who had written and produced several plays. Ciji then researched further and found that there were about 98 women who wrote plays and had them run in London's most famous play houses between the years 1660-1800. And even though they were among the most popular writers of the day most of us know little about these extraordinary women.

In Wicked Company, Ware brings 18th century London and the struggles of a woman playwright to life. Sophie McCann is the daughter of a Scottish printer from Edinburgh who eventually comes to London and finds herself immersed in the theatrical world of Drury Lane and Covent Gardens. Ciji has a great talent for creating awesome and unforgettable characters and while Sophie's naiveté got on my nerves a smidge I still really enjoyed her. Her tenacity and ambitiousness was inspiring and you really rally for her. My only issue with this book was that after a while it seemed that everything and anything bad happened to Sophie, but I think the author was just trying to show the various obstacles that playwrights had to deal with at the time and for that I think she did a bang up job.

Wicked Company is a great read and I very much recommend it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best books
Not one of her best books as the plot was slower than her others. The main character seemed to repeat her mistakes in judgement one too many times for me and seemed to never learn... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Beejay Williams
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Did not enjoy as much as some of her other work
Published 1 month ago by smc
5.0 out of 5 stars Ciji Ware is an excellent author and brings her charters to life in...
How could any woman, from childhood thru adulthood, endure what this woman went thru and remained so active and achieved her passion in life. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Crossword
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Edges of Society
Wicked Company, by Ciji Ware is about as much fun as I have ever had in the 18th century. The novel introduces us to a young Scot girl, Sopie, whose mother is dead, and who works... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Victoria H
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Edges of 18th Century Society
Wicked Company, by Ciji Ware is about as much fun as I have ever had in the 18th century. The novel introduces us to a young Scot girl, Sopie, whose mother is dead, and who works... Read more
Published 2 months ago by lizzie
1.0 out of 5 stars BORING!!!
I bought this because of Island of the Swans. What a huge disappointment. Sophie was a dope on so many levels. I thought this story dragged on for far too long. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Michael Raspa
5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction read
I fell in love with the characters in this novel which portrayed theater life in 18th century London. Read more
Published 11 months ago by DrCatcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I love the manner in which Ciji Ware writes. She writes about her characters with such depth that I feel like I've known them and can relate to what they are going through. Read more
Published 13 months ago by DianeJ
5.0 out of 5 stars New author for me
I found this author from a friend and was looking forward to getting more from her. The book was brand new and came in a timely maner.
Published 13 months ago by forkas
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic formula story
I enjoyed the book but find the authors style to be predictable. Good light reading about an interesting time in history.
Published 22 months ago by owlmom
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More About the Author

CIJI WARE is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling novelist, an Emmy-award winning television producer, reporter, writer, lecturer, and host. Her latest work is the novella "The Ring of Kerry Hannigan," part of the RING OF TRUTH anthology with novelists Diana Dempsey and Kate Moore, published in July 2014.

Ware has won numerous awards for her 9 works of fiction, including the Dorothy Parker Award of Excellence; the 'Golden Quill' award for Historical Fiction;'Best Fictionalized Biography' for ISLAND OF THE SWANS and 'Best Historical Novel nomination for WICKED COMPANY from Romantic Times magazine. Her novel, A RACE TO SPLENDOR debuted in April, 2011 on the 105th anniversary of the devastating 1905 San Francisco Earthquake and Firestorm and was short-listed for the WILLA (Cather) Literary Award in 2012. Her first all-contemporary work of fiction, THAT SUMMER IN CORNWALL, was published in January, 2013, and is a stand-alone sequel to her bestselling "time-slip" novel, A COTTAGE BY THE SEA. The second in Ware's Four Seasons Quartet, THAT AUTUMN IN EDINBURGH--also a contemporary, stand-alone sequel to ISLAND OF THE SWANS--was published in November, 2013. For the latter novel, she was bestowed the honor of FSA Scot, of which she is exceedingly proud.

Ware's most recent nonfiction, RIGHTSIZING YOUR LIFE: Simplifying Your Surroundings While Keeping What Matters Most was named by the Wall Street Journal as "One of the Top 5 Books on Retirement Issues." For seventeen years Ware was heard daily as a commentator on ABC Radio & TV in Los Angeles. During her noted career as a broadcaster, she has worked for PBS and all three major network affiliates, covering a wide range of topics in the areas of health, consumer and lifestyle subjects. Ciji Ware is also a sought-after event speaker, print journalist, (AARP, Travel & Leisure and other national magazines) and has the distinction of being elected as the first woman graduate of Harvard College to serve as President of the Harvard Alumni Association, Worldwide. The author lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Visit Ciji's website at www.cijiware.com; her Facebook page: Ciji Ware, Novelist
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ciji-Ware-Novelist/102621349810555 and her Pinterest page at http://pinterest.com/cijiware/

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