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Wicked Company Paperback – October 1, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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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. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 609 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402222718
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402222719
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,709,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
How could any woman, from childhood thru adulthood, endure what this woman went thru and remained so active and achieved her passion in life. Ciji Ware is an excellent author and brings her charters to life in interesting situations. It was hard to stop reading so I could take care of family responsibilities. Enjoy. Crossword
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an interesting tale of the theatre and how women playrights were treated during the period. What was also interesting was the fact the authors had to have their works passed by the government, often with many deletions and alterations, in order for them to have their plays presented. The rivalry between Covent Garden and Drury Lane was also interesting. I believe Ciji has done a lot of research to ensure this novel was interwoven with facts and fiction.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 anything from her actions and decisions. Ending was a bit predictable and one questions why the characters did not make this choice sooner.
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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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Format: Paperback
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 with her father in a bookstore and print shop. The church is not very happy with the bookstore, because it sells books that the church doesn’t consider appropriate. There is also the matter of the etchings. Between the two, the father is arrested and sentenced to prison, where he dies.

Meanwhile, Sophie has met a young man, Hunter, who is a street performer. She introduces Hunter to the local theatre manager, and Hunter rapidly becomes an important actor, as well as dancer, singer, and ultimately manager of theatres.

After the death of her father, Sophie is spirited out of Edinburgh to London, where her aunt has another bookstore, and also dementia from syphilis. Sophie gets the bookstore in order, while also trying to take care of her aunt. Sophie gets printing contracts with a nearby theatre, and that becomes the center of her life. Even when Hunter reappears and becomes a romantic interest.

Over twenty years or so, there are episodes involving Bedlam (an asylum), ocean voyages, journeys throughout southern England, many theatre performances, theft, blackmail, a marriage and some murders, births, and deaths, and more. Much more. Sophie discovers that she has a talent for writing drama, and though it is a struggle to do so, she successfully earns a living doing it.

This is probably a book that is better enjoyed by women, because there is a romantic interest that simmers throughout. But this is not a simpering romance. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical novels, particularly those with an interest in the theatre and the struggles of early female dramatists.
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