Sunday 21 August 2022

From The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys

I have an extract from you! And it's from a book I'm actually reading at the time of writing this (I'm not far in, but so far, I'm enjoying myself). 

The diaries of Samuel Pepys have been read for centuries due to their detail account of the Great Fire of London, his racy assignments and his detail and wit. But, at the age of 36, he stopped writing. Or did he?

It's the summer of 1669 and England is in dire straits. The treasury has very limited funds and tensions with the powerful Dutch Republic are beginning to boil over. An investigator for the Crown was sent to look into corruption in the Royal Navy, only for him to be murdered. Samuel Pepys has been asked to look into the corruption and the possible murder. 

As he begins to look into this, his health is on the turn and his marriage is very close to collapsing. Can Pepys discover the sinister truth and make sure England doesn't get into a war...

Like I said earlier, I am currently reading The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys by Jack Jewers and I'm enjoying myself, though I am not always the biggest fan of historical thrillers, but I am intrigued where this is going to go. 

So when I was asked by Midas PR if I wanted to share an extract, I jumped at it. I always like to share extracts from books that don't always fit my typical reading, but this caught my attention and as I am now (hopefully) out of a reading slump, this felt like the perfect time to try something new!

So, before I hand you over to the extract, just wanna thank Funmi from Midas for asking if I wanted a copy of Lost Diary and if you wanna know more about the book (or just wanna say hi to the author), you can go visit or @jackjewers on Twitter!

Now, ONTO THE EXTRACT (and yes, I picked this because this is, so far, one of my fave scenes! But it's so long, I picked this little scene, just because!)

‘You show me nothing but contempt in the way you speak. The way you behave.’

‘Contempt for what?’

‘Everything. Our marriage. My every opinion. Where I am from. What I believe.’

‘For goodness’ sake, leave the Pope out of this.’

‘Have you always thought yourself so superior, Samuel? Or is it just age that has made you this arrogant?’

‘You are my wife, Elisabeth.’

‘Come then, husband. Tell me you do not think yourself better than me. Truly.’

I tried to reply but I was caught so off guard by the strength of her attack that I foundered. Why, in God’s name, could I not find the right words? Why was she always so composed when we fought, and I so tongue-tied?

She continued, ‘Every morning you are up at dawn and to your office, where you stay all day, engaged in your great work with your important friends. Then you come home and are gone again. You return stinking of wine and sluts, if you return at all. I mean nothing to you.’

‘Enough. That “great work” pays for the fine dress you are wearing, wife.’

‘I made my vows. And I have kept to them. All of them. Have you?’

Again, I searched for the right words, but none came. Her weapons were too well aimed. She picked up the little book from the floor and opened it at a marked page. Only then did I recognise what it was.

‘“And so to Mrs Martin and there did what je voudrais avec her, both devante and backward, which is also muy bon plazer.”’ I began to speak but she held up her hand to silence me, then turned the page. ‘“ …And there nudo in lecto con ella, but though I did intend para aver demorado con ella toda la night yet when I had done ce que je voudrais, I did hate both ella and la cosa.’”

Her voice dripped contempt, but still she did not stop. ‘“And there naked in bed with her, though I did intend to have stayed with her all night, yet when I had done all that I wanted, I did hate both her and her body.” If you would write in code, Samuel, at least make it one that a halfwit child could not decipher.’ 

‘Damn you, woman.’

‘Damn me? A fine choice of words for one whose’ – she opened the book again – ‘“mind did courir upon Betty Michell, so that I do hazer con mi cosa in la eglisa meme.” You pleasured yourself? In a church?’

‘Elisabeth, I—’

‘And this is just ’66.’ She checked the first page. ‘From midsummer to Christmas. What else am I going to find, Samuel? How many have there been?’

Her lips trembled and I realised that she was fighting hard not to weep. I sank down onto the settle and buried my face in my hands. It had been two days since Elisabeth had discovered my private diaries. I have always known that a diary, in the wrong hands, could be a compromising document. Now I was learning how compromising it truly could be. This was the real reason I had been avoiding coming home. This was why she had threatened to leave me forever. All because the hiding place I’d chosen for my words was inadequate. And she was curious.

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