Paula Allardyce/Actress Novels

Paula Allardyce's Rogue's LadyIn the sixties, Paula Allardyce wrote several Regency and Georgian novels that empoyed Shakespeare. In her version of the "actress novel," The Rogue's Lady (1961) and Paradise Row (1964), the heroine is typically an actress who has retired from the stage to marry. In Rogue's Lady, that marriage is as disastrous as her acting career during which Garrick hires and mocks here as Celia in As You Like It. Rozel Masurier, rescued from the inevitable pelting fruit, marries her rescuer, Lord Dacre, only to discover that he is the worst of wife abusers. Her rescue and flight to Jersey with an unwilling highwayman comprise the bulk of the book, and Shakespeare appears principally in her stray quotations or her rescuer Ahab Smith's observations about her: "He looked up at her as she stood there on the third stair, a miniature Lady Macbeth or more like Katherine, ripe for her taming" (123). Shakespearean quotations and allusions are dismissed along with her acting or rather histrionic abilities by the end of the novel.

Paradise Row presents both a happier marriage and more congenial Shakespearean allusions. Cassandra Shelbrooke remains a self-dramatizing woman even after her marriage to Francis Shelbrooke. Their marital problems dissipate in the wake of several adventures in the London criminal world, and their reunion occurs through the invocation of Shakespearean heroines:

Her playacting and her Shakespeare naturally give away before the renewal of her marriage, even though that playacting is part of what enabled them to survive the threats to their lives throughout the novel.