Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: Wicked Company by Ciji Ware


Sixteen year old Sophie McGann is the only child of a widowed Edinburgh printer and bookseller. Since Mr. McGann had no son he taught his daughter all that a printer's apprentice should know. She is bright, quick and eager to prove that she is a good assistant.

One day while out on a delivery Sophie happens to pass a small traveling minstrel family: a blind grandfather, worn mother and handsome son. Hunter Robertson instantly captures Sophie's interest. Her dainty stature make her seem younger that her years, so while Hunter is drawn to Sophie it is more as a brotherly protector. And she needs one, her tendency completely disregard diplomacy and speak her mind get her into one scrape after another.

When Sophie's sharp tongue brings her into serious peril, she is forced to escape to London in search of an elderly Aunt and Uncle, who also own a print and book shop. Unfortunately her relatives have had their share of hardship and Sophie must use all of her vivid imagination to earn her daily bread. Eventually her talent leads her to write plays for the lively London theater, making her one of a small circle of successful female playwrights. Hunter finds his way to London too, though it will take years for them to untangle their complex relationship.

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. It is very much Sophie's story, there were times when I wished for a little more from Hunter's story and a bit less from Sophie's. And it was just a tiny bit long...it did seem that there was not one more thing that could possibly have happened to keep these two apart. But overall I really enjoyed this lively tale, I liked it just as much as the author's earlier book, Island of the Swans, which I reviewed in February (click the title for my review).

I will definitely be reading the rest of Ciji Ware's books, they are very detailed and well researched. I'm especially looking forward to A Race to Splendor, set in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. It will be published by Sourcebooks in April 2011. For more information about Ciji Ware and all of her books, please visit her website. Many thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for sending me Wicked Company for review!

Wicked Company is published by Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-4022-2271-9

7 comments:

Mystica said...

Sounds as good as her other books. Thank you for this post.

Misfit said...

I agree about the last of it going on just a tad bit too long. I could have used a slight pruning, but that's a common complaint I have about many books from this era - not just Ware.

The San Fran book sounds interesting. Off to check the library catalog...

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I am all about the San Francisco book coming up....what a great setting idea!

Zibilee said...

Oh, this one sounds particularly good, and like something that I would really enjoy. Thanks for the very insightful review. This book goes to the top of my wish list now!

CLM said...

I am a big fan of Ciji Ware; we are fellow alumnae of Radcliffe and I have run into her a couple times. She is as vibrant in person as are her books.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Never heard of the author but the books sound amazing!

Beth F said...

I remember when this one first came out. Great review.

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About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.