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Playing the Jack

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  • Stephen Copson
    I have been reading rather than posting just lately, but here s one I must mention; Playing the Jack by Mary Brown. This was one of Shirley s recommendations
    Message 1 of 21 , Oct 2, 1999
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      I have been reading rather than posting just lately, but here's one I
      must mention; Playing the Jack by Mary Brown. This was one of Shirley's
      recommendations some time ago and I finally got round to ordering it
      from the library (only copy in the county, special reservation;
      Hertfordshire seems to have only one copy of anything more than five
      years old).

      Anyway. It was a fantastic read! Really unputdownable; I stayed up late
      last night to finish it. Now I am grieved to find it is out of print; I
      want my own copy! It's a picaresque romp through 18thcentury England
      with a group of travelling players; vivid, exciting and funny, with lots
      of plot twists and some romance too. The central characters are very
      lively and I was sorry to get to the last page. It's a chunky book, and
      a very good answer to "what shall I read while waiting for the next
      Gabaldon". My library copy is a hardback from around 1980; does anyone
      know if it was ever a paperback? Thanks for this recommendation Shirley;
      did anyone else try it?

      Belinda
    • Shirley Skinner
      Is this where I say told you so ?! Everything else she s written is fantasy, btw. I did have a paperback of it, Belinda, but I m afraid I got rid of it when
      Message 2 of 21 , Oct 3, 1999
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        Is this where I say "told you so"?! Everything else she's written is
        fantasy, btw.

        I did have a paperback of it, Belinda, but I'm afraid I got rid of it when I
        got hold of a hardback. If I find another copy I'll let you know.

        Shirley

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Stephen Copson <xvc85@...>
        To: <histfict@onelist.com>
        Sent: Sunday, October 03, 1999 5:40 AM
        Subject: [histfict] Playing the Jack


        > From: Stephen Copson <xvc85@...>
        >
        > I have been reading rather than posting just lately, but here's one I
        > must mention; Playing the Jack by Mary Brown. This was one of Shirley's
        > recommendations some time ago and I finally got round to ordering it
        > from the library (only copy in the county, special reservation;
        > Hertfordshire seems to have only one copy of anything more than five
        > years old).
        >
        > Anyway. It was a fantastic read! Really unputdownable; I stayed up late
        > last night to finish it. Now I am grieved to find it is out of print; I
        > want my own copy! It's a picaresque romp through 18thcentury England
        > with a group of travelling players; vivid, exciting and funny, with lots
        > of plot twists and some romance too. The central characters are very
        > lively and I was sorry to get to the last page. It's a chunky book, and
        > a very good answer to "what shall I read while waiting for the next
        > Gabaldon". My library copy is a hardback from around 1980; does anyone
        > know if it was ever a paperback? Thanks for this recommendation Shirley;
        > did anyone else try it?
        >
        > Belinda
        >
        > >
      • Stephen Copson
        For those of you (Shirley and others) who are Playing the Jack devotees, I know you will share my pleasure when I say I have just got hold of a copy via
        Message 3 of 21 , May 4, 2000
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          For those of you (Shirley and others) who are Playing the Jack devotees, I
          know you will share my pleasure when I say I have just got hold of a copy
          via abebooks. (Hardback rp with lovely dw in practically perfect condition
          at a very reasonable price. )

          This is the first time I have used abebooks and I had a very good service
          from the bookseller concerned with my book arriving by return of post. Now
          can't wait to reread it!

          Belinda
        • shellelr@aol.com
          Just finished Mary Brown s Playing the Jack. Very enjoyable, romantic tale of traveling entertainers in late 18th century England. Great period detail and
          Message 4 of 21 , May 28, 2000
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            Just finished Mary Brown's Playing the Jack. Very enjoyable, romantic tale
            of traveling entertainers in late 18th century England. Great period detail
            and characterizations, and often very amusing dynamics between the lead
            characters. I found myself surprisingly moved, the last couple of pages --
            poignantly and very satisfyingly written.

            Thanks to Shirley and Belinda (and Jo?) for the recommendation.

            I turn now to The Lodestar, to be followed by The Rich Earth. My copy of
            Here Be Dragons just arrived. What would I do without all of your wonderful
            reading ideas?

            Happy Memorial Day to all.

            Shelle
          • Stephen Copson
            This one has come up before, but I am rereading Mary Brown s Playing the Jack at the moment and must recommend it to the newcomers amongst us. A gorgeous
            Message 5 of 21 , Dec 1, 2000
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              This one has come up before, but I am rereading Mary Brown's Playing the
              Jack at the moment and must recommend it to the newcomers amongst us. A
              gorgeous picaresque romp through 18th century England, taking in strolling
              players, thieves and vagabonds, a handsome hero and various dark
              secrets.....a great read for cold wet December evenings! I think it was
              Shirley recommended this to me some time ago and I have enjoyed it
              enormously. Sadly it's not currently in print - but not too difficult to
              find secondhand ( I got mine through abebooks) and certainly not expensive.
              Well worth getting if you are looking for a fun, chunky holiday read.

              Welcome to all the new people, by the way; good to see more people joining.
              I haven't had a look at the database yet - my TBR list is already pages
              long - but will no doubt succumb at some point!

              Belinda
            • LFortier
              Have you read Invitation to a Funeral, also by Molly Brown? I ve been hearing good things about it on another list. I ll have to try to get to both sooner
              Message 6 of 21 , Dec 1, 2000
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                Have you read Invitation to a Funeral, also by Molly Brown? I've been
                hearing good things about it on another list. I'll have to try to get to both
                sooner rather than later.

                Lesley

                Stephen Copson wrote:

                > This one has come up before, but I am rereading Mary Brown's Playing the
                > Jack at the moment and must recommend it to the newcomers amongst us. A
                > gorgeous picaresque romp through 18th century England, taking in strolling
                > players, thieves and vagabonds, a handsome hero and various dark
                > secrets.....a great read for cold wet December evenings! I think it was
                > Shirley recommended this to me some time ago and I have enjoyed it
                > enormously. Sadly it's not currently in print - but not too difficult to
                > find secondhand ( I got mine through abebooks) and certainly not expensive.
                > Well worth getting if you are looking for a fun, chunky holiday read.
                >
                > Welcome to all the new people, by the way; good to see more people joining.
                > I haven't had a look at the database yet - my TBR list is already pages
                > long - but will no doubt succumb at some point!
                >
                > Belinda
              • pkmaynard@juno.com
                For those
                Message 7 of 21 , Sep 21, 2001
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                  << Sadly it is out of print (as are all her other books), and virtually
                  impossible to
                  find, and I believe that the author died about a year ago. >>

                  For those of you interested, there are preowned copies of 'Playing the
                  Jack' available for purchase on both www.half.com and www.addall.com. :-)

                  Pat
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                • C Morrison
                  ... I found a few copies at bn.com in the out-of-print area, ranging from $85 down to $10. There are also a few at half.com, starting at $2.00. I might have
                  Message 8 of 21 , Sep 21, 2001
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                    > Playing the Jack? sounds right up my cul-de-sac. Who is it by? I
                    > just had a quick look on Amazon and Barns & Noble but nothing - I'm
                    > assuming it's an old out of print book?
                    >
                    > Amy K - so little time, so many books
                    >

                    I found a few copies at bn.com in the out-of-print area, ranging from $85 down to $10. There are also a few at half.com, starting at $2.00. I might have to grab one of those myself!

                    :) Carie



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Susan Hicks
                    Hi all, Doing a spot of grinning here. I dropped in to the subscription library today while shopping in town and picked up Playing The Jack by Mary Brown.
                    Message 9 of 21 , Oct 30, 2001
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                      Hi all,

                      Doing a spot of grinning here. I dropped in to the subscription library
                      today while shopping in town and picked up Playing The Jack by Mary Brown.
                      Right next door to it, in pristine condition was The Heart Has Its Reasons.
                      I didn't get it out, but I will do so when I return Playing The Jack (if I
                      like PTJ, which I'm sure I will based on the glowing recommendations). I
                      have read a Mary Brown before but it was a fantasy. Can't remember the
                      title but it involved a witch who would make herself beautiful by the dark
                      arts and then kill the young men who came her way through sexual exhaustion!
                      Anyone remember that one? Have to add it wasn't particularly graphic!

                      Best
                      Susan :-)
                    • upscwru
                      Shirley and everyone else: I started Playing the Jack (Mary Brown) on one of my days to kill in London at Shirley s flat last fall. I enjoyed what I was
                      Message 10 of 21 , May 17, 2002
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                        Shirley and everyone else:

                        I started Playing the Jack (Mary Brown) on one of my days to kill in
                        London at Shirley's flat last fall. I enjoyed what I was reading,
                        but I didn't get a chance to delve back into it when I got home. So
                        last week I started over on it, getting a big chunk of time to read
                        on my trip up to and back from Toronto. I am now further than I was
                        before (page 222, to be exact), and it is really quite interesting.

                        Have others besides Shirley read this? It is set in the late 1700's
                        in England and thus far follows a character who joins up with
                        travelling performers. The book reads well and the plot is very
                        interesting to follow as this person matures and adapts to the
                        environment. Give it a shot if your TBR list isn't already miles
                        long!

                        Hilary
                      • Kelly S. Cannon
                        Hilary, How about that? I just joined the list yesterday, and already we re talking about one of my favorite books of all time! A friend lent me Playing the
                        Message 11 of 21 , May 17, 2002
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                          Hilary,

                          How about that? I just joined the list yesterday, and already we're
                          talking about one of my favorite books of all time!

                          A friend lent me Playing the Jack several years ago, and I have to say,
                          it's the ultimate romantic novel. The way romances should still be
                          written but, sadly, are not. The settings are original, the tension is
                          delicious, and the love story is enthralling. These are characters
                          that you just root for and root for. Some writers are good at
                          plotting, some at characterization, some at setting a scene, and still
                          others are simply good at crafting prose. Writers like Mary Brown who
                          "get everything right" are rare. She's what I want to be.

                          I loved this book so much that I paid a premium price for my own
                          yellowed paperback copy. I've looked in vain for other books by Ms.
                          Brown. (Her common name doesn't help!) I have found children's books
                          listed at Amazon that I think are hers, but that's it. I'm betting she
                          fell prey to the shift in the romance market away from substantive
                          plots and deep characters in favor of fluff and formula.

                          If anyone else knows of any other adult novels she's written, I'd love
                          to hear!

                          Kelly

                          --- upscwru <UPSCWRU@...> wrote:
                          > Shirley and everyone else:
                          >
                          > I started Playing the Jack (Mary Brown) on one of my days to kill in
                          > London at Shirley's flat last fall. I enjoyed what I was reading,
                          > but I didn't get a chance to delve back into it when I got home. So
                          > last week I started over on it, getting a big chunk of time to read
                          > on my trip up to and back from Toronto. I am now further than I was
                          > before (page 222, to be exact), and it is really quite interesting.
                          >
                          > Have others besides Shirley read this? It is set in the late 1700's
                          > in England and thus far follows a character who joins up with
                          > travelling performers. The book reads well and the plot is very
                          > interesting to follow as this person matures and adapts to the
                          > environment. Give it a shot if your TBR list isn't already miles
                          > long!
                          >
                          > Hilary
                          >
                          >
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                          =====
                          ---
                          Kelly Cannon
                          scriptoress<delete_this>@...

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                        • Susan Hicks
                          Hilary, I read Playing The Jack several months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I understand that the author is now deceased which is a great pity because she
                          Message 12 of 21 , May 17, 2002
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                            Hilary,

                            I read Playing The Jack several months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I understand that the author is now deceased which is a great pity because she was a wonderful story teller. She manages to write wonderfully sensual love scenes without going over the top or chickening out! My library has the next book along to Playing the Jack - The Heart Has its Secrets. I keep promising myself that I'll read it when I get time!

                            Best
                            Susan :-)



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                          • Kelly S. Cannon
                            Wow, another one! Is it a sequel? Either way, I m off to find it! Kelly ... Kelly Cannon scriptoress @yahoo.com
                            Message 13 of 21 , May 17, 2002
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                              Wow, another one! Is it a sequel? Either way, I'm off to find it!

                              Kelly

                              --- Susan Hicks <Susan.Hicks1@...> wrote:
                              > Hilary,
                              >
                              > I read Playing The Jack several months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.
                              > I understand that the author is now deceased which is a great pity
                              > because she was a wonderful story teller. She manages to write
                              > wonderfully sensual love scenes without going over the top or
                              > chickening out! My library has the next book along to Playing the
                              > Jack - The Heart Has its Secrets. I keep promising myself that I'll
                              > read it when I get time!
                              >
                              > Best
                              > Susan :-)
                              >
                              >
                              >
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                              >
                              >
                              >
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                              > Service.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
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                              >
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                              >
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                              =====
                              ---
                              Kelly Cannon
                              scriptoress<delete_this>@...

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                            • shellelr@aol.com
                              In a message dated 5/17/2002 5:25:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... I read it a couple of years ago on Shirley s recommendation and thought it very
                              Message 14 of 21 , May 17, 2002
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                                In a message dated 5/17/2002 5:25:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                                histfict@yahoogroups.com writes:


                                > Have others besides Shirley read this? It is set in the late 1700's
                                > in England and thus far follows a character who joins up with
                                > travelling performers. The book reads well and the plot is very
                                > interesting to follow as this person matures and adapts to the
                                > environment. Give it a shot if your TBR list isn't already miles
                                > long!
                                >

                                I read it a couple of years ago on Shirley's recommendation and thought it
                                very entertaining. May reread, one day.

                                Shelle


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Stephen Copson
                                Yes, I loved Playing the Jack - a great bedtime/holiday read and one which will bear a couple of re-reads. I ve got a copy and also the sequel. Both are out
                                Message 15 of 21 , May 19, 2002
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                                  Yes, I loved Playing the Jack - a great bedtime/holiday read and one which
                                  will bear a couple of re-reads. I've got a copy and also the sequel. Both
                                  are out of print now - P the J is not too hard to find secondhand but the
                                  sequel is very hard to find - I think it was only in hb and a fairly small
                                  print run I expect.

                                  Belinda
                                • jeanette_finan
                                  ... say, it s the ultimate romantic novel. The way romances should still be written but, sadly, are not. The settings are original, the tension is
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Jun 3, 2002
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                                    --- In histfict@y..., "Kelly S. Cannon" <scriptoress@y...> wrote:

                                    > A friend lent me Playing the Jack several years ago, and I have to
                                    say,> it's the ultimate romantic novel. The way romances should
                                    still be written but, sadly, are not. The settings are original,
                                    the tension is delicious, and the love story is enthralling. These
                                    are characters that you just root for and root for. >>>>>


                                    With a recommendation like that I had no choice but to look for this
                                    book at the library. <g> Kept me up until all hours last night. It
                                    is a good book and I thank you all for the tip.

                                    Jeanette
                                  • Jennifer Haymore
                                    ... book at the library. Kept me up until all hours last night. It is a good book and I thank you all for the tip. LOL, I did exactly the same thing.
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Jun 3, 2002
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                                      >With a recommendation like that I had no choice but to look for this
                                      book at the library. <g> Kept me up until all hours last night. It
                                      is a good book and I thank you all for the tip.


                                      LOL, I did exactly the same thing. Just received notice that it arrived at my library. Can't wait to read it!

                                      Jennifer




                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • UPSCWRU@att.net
                                      I just finished Playing the Jack on my trip to Seattle this past weekend. A very good novel. At some point during the narrative I felt like I was reading The
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Jun 4, 2002
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                                        I just finished Playing the Jack on my trip to Seattle
                                        this past weekend. A very good novel. At some point
                                        during the narrative I felt like I was reading The
                                        Quincunx - another novel set primarily in London with a
                                        very naive protagonist. What more could happen to this
                                        character?!?!? But this book, unlike The Quincunx, had
                                        a much more satisfying ending.

                                        I've now started The Green Darkness (?) by Anya Seaton.
                                        My first read of hers beyond Katherine, which I loved.
                                        This one is pretty confusing (it has past lives melded
                                        in), but now that I'm in the past, the first 90 pages in
                                        the present (1968, actually, as it is an old book) can
                                        be set aside, to some extent. I'm interested in knowing
                                        what happens, but I was able to put it down a number of
                                        times on the plane yesterday.

                                        I hope you all had a great weekend. I left Seattle and
                                        it was 48 degrees (in the morning. The days were in the
                                        low 70s). I got back to Dayton, and it was 91 degrees
                                        and humid. I need to move back to Seattle...

                                        Hilary
                                      • daphnepf15
                                        ... I read Green Darkness eons ago! I ve got it upstairs, one of these days I ll re read it. I m in the middle of Howatch s Starbridge series right now and
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Jun 4, 2002
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                                          --- In histfict@y..., UPSCWRU@a... wrote:
                                          > I just finished Playing the Jack on my trip to Seattle
                                          > this past weekend. A very good novel. At some point
                                          > during the narrative I felt like I was reading The
                                          > Quincunx - another novel set primarily in London with a
                                          > very naive protagonist. What more could happen to this
                                          > character?!?!? But this book, unlike The Quincunx, had
                                          > a much more satisfying ending.
                                          >
                                          > I've now started The Green Darkness (?) by Anya Seaton.
                                          > My first read of hers beyond Katherine, which I loved.
                                          > This one is pretty confusing (it has past lives melded
                                          > in), but now that I'm in the past, the first 90 pages in
                                          > the present (1968, actually, as it is an old book) can
                                          > be set aside, to some extent. I'm interested in knowing
                                          > what happens, but I was able to put it down a number of
                                          > times on the plane yesterday.
                                          >
                                          > I hope you all had a great weekend. I left Seattle and
                                          > it was 48 degrees (in the morning. The days were in the
                                          > low 70s). I got back to Dayton, and it was 91 degrees
                                          > and humid. I need to move back to Seattle...
                                          >
                                          > Hilary

                                          I read Green Darkness eons ago! I've got it upstairs, one of these
                                          days I'll re read it. I'm in the middle of Howatch's Starbridge
                                          series right now and it's excellent!

                                          Jani
                                        • cadurdin
                                          Read Green Darkness. Glad that is over. Felt like an uphill battle. Felt very unsatisfied when it was over. The ending was ok but it was like eating a
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Jun 4, 2002
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                                            Read Green Darkness. Glad that is over. Felt like an uphill
                                            battle. Felt very unsatisfied when it was over. The ending was ok
                                            but it was like eating a clear broth soup. I was full for a few
                                            minutes then I wanted something else. Anything else.

                                            OK - someone tell me about Pigs Don't Fly (I think that was the
                                            name). That is the only other Mary Brown book at my library.

                                            Carol
                                          • Deb Andolino
                                            Hilary, GREEN DARKNESS is one of my favorites! I think you will like it better as you get into it -- at least I hope so! Let me know how you get on, please.
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Jun 4, 2002
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                                              Hilary,

                                              GREEN DARKNESS is one of my favorites! I think you will like it better as
                                              you get into it -- at least I hope so! Let me know how you get on, please.

                                              Now that you've mentioned it, I'll have to go back and read it again.

                                              I just got a copy of PLAYING THE JACK and will start it after my mom and
                                              sister leave (they are visiting from Austin, TX for a couple of weeks).

                                              Deb in HOT, HUMID Columbia, SC
                                              -----Original Message-----
                                              From: UPSCWRU@... [mailto:UPSCWRU@...]
                                              Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 8:34 AM
                                              To: histfict@yahoogroups.com
                                              Subject: [histfict] Playing the Jack


                                              I just finished Playing the Jack on my trip to Seattle
                                              this past weekend. A very good novel. At some point
                                              during the narrative I felt like I was reading The
                                              Quincunx - another novel set primarily in London with a
                                              very naive protagonist. What more could happen to this
                                              character?!?!? But this book, unlike The Quincunx, had
                                              a much more satisfying ending.

                                              I've now started The Green Darkness (?) by Anya Seaton.
                                              My first read of hers beyond Katherine, which I loved.
                                              This one is pretty confusing (it has past lives melded
                                              in), but now that I'm in the past, the first 90 pages in
                                              the present (1968, actually, as it is an old book) can
                                              be set aside, to some extent. I'm interested in knowing
                                              what happens, but I was able to put it down a number of
                                              times on the plane yesterday.

                                              I hope you all had a great weekend. I left Seattle and
                                              it was 48 degrees (in the morning. The days were in the
                                              low 70s). I got back to Dayton, and it was 91 degrees
                                              and humid. I need to move back to Seattle...

                                              Hilary

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