Review of The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys by Jack Jewers

I received a review copy of this book for the purposes of this post, all thoughts and comments are my own. 

I love the diaries of Samuel Pepys, which give us vital, first hand accounts of events surrounding Charles II's court, Dutch wars, the plague and Great Fire. But they did stop suddenly in 1669, didn't they (wasn't it something to do with his eyesight)?

A new novel by Jack Jewers picks up where Sam left off, and imagines what Pepys' diaries would contain if he had continued writing. It's described by the publishers as 'Bridgerton meets Sherlock' and they kindly sent me a review copy so I could let you know what it's like. 

The book is written with chapters in the style of Samuel's original dairy entries, so it immediately has a personal, vulnerable feel about it, like you're reading the story from his point of view. Although the author does say at the back of the book that his Pepys is not THE Pepys (we'd never really know what his personality was like really), the character and flow of the story sounded exactly like I would have imagined him to be from the original diaries. 

I won't give the story away, but in the plot we're treated to back-stabbing (sometimes literally), plots, murder and royalty. The book is set, quite rightly, against the backdrop of Charles II's navy, which is where the real Pepys worked as an administrator. 

The writing style is terrific: it reminds me of the style of CJ Sansom. It's so easy to visualise the characters and hear them speak in your head - you really feel as if you are watching events unfurl in a dusty old tavern that smells of ale, or a street rattling with coach wheels and horse's hooves. Jewers really sets the scene, and I found myself unable to put the book down so I could escape back to the seventeenth century as the mysteries unfolded. 

There were some parts of the plot that I thought were a little predictable but then that would be normal coming from someone who has read a lot of historical fiction, like me. There were also many other parts that had me gripped, wide-eyed and turning pages to find out what happens. It's written at a good pace, includes a good selection of interesting characters and, most importantly, the scenes are written in a believable way, painting a setting so the reader feels like they're there.

It's a chunky book, and I very much enjoyed it. It felt good to be in Sam's world, with all its colourful characters, even just temporarily. You also get a 'notes' section at the end of the book which explains the historical context of the story and its inspiration. I read the book in about three to four days, start to finish, as a bedtime book. 

It's Jack Jewers' first novel, so do go and check it out, on (affiliate link-->) Amazon, Waterstones or contact your local bookshop. Also, let me know what you think. I'd be seriously keen to read a sequel if one is written. 

Have you read the book? What do you think. Let me know in the comments below.