The Vizard Mask
by Diana Norman
Publication Date: 29 Apr 2019
‘Penitence Hurd and the Plague arrived in London on the same day. Penitence was eighteen and carried a beaded satchel. The Plague travelled by fur-lined carriage and was old as sin…’Penitence, a Puritan from the Americas, arrives in London 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. At first the lawlessness and squalor confirm all her prejudices. Yet there’s humanity too, and Pen’s beliefs are shaken.
When she meets Aphra Benn, 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 II’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 II’s reign in joyous detail. This is a boisterous story, richly peopled and told with a wicked turn of wit, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Chadwick and Kate Mosse.
’Diana Norman always strikes gold’ The Times