Book summary: The Vizard Mask

1994 BY DIANA NORMAN

Bound up in righteousness as tight as a parcel, she journeys from Puritan America to find her aunt, and steps into a city full of rogues, hell-fire and fleshly pleasures. When she discovers her aunt is running a brothel in St Giles-in-the-Fields, Penitence has no option but to point out the wickedness.

The Plague releases its horror over London's stress and rookeries and, one by one, the inhabitants of Dog Yard die - many with a wild, rollicking bravery - forcing Penitence to acknowledge that courage and a paradoxical decency are to be found among the wicked as much as the saintly. Her former morality shaken, she meets Aphra Behn, playwright and spy for Charles II, who introduces her to the wicked Restoration stage, where nearly all England's first actresses are somebody's mistress, and Penitence is changed forever.

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