The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II

( 21 )

Overview

A thrilling debut novel starring one of history's most famous and beloved courtesans.

From London's slums to its bawdy playhouses, The Darling Strumpet transports the reader to the tumultuous world of seventeenth-century England, charting the meteoric rise of the dazzling Nell Gwynn, who captivates the heart of King Charles II-and becomes one of the century's most famous courtesans.

Witty and beautiful, Nell was born into poverty but is drawn ...

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The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles

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Overview

A thrilling debut novel starring one of history's most famous and beloved courtesans.

From London's slums to its bawdy playhouses, The Darling Strumpet transports the reader to the tumultuous world of seventeenth-century England, charting the meteoric rise of the dazzling Nell Gwynn, who captivates the heart of King Charles II-and becomes one of the century's most famous courtesans.

Witty and beautiful, Nell was born into poverty but is drawn into the enthralling world of the theater, where her saucy humor and sensuous charm earn her a place in the King's Company. As one of the first actresses in the newly-opened playhouses, she catapults to fame, winning the affection of legions of fans-and the heart of the most powerful man in all of England, the King himself. Surrendering herself to Charles, Nell will be forced to maneuver the ruthless and shifting allegiances of the royal court-and discover a world of decadence and passion she never imagined possible.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[A] richly engaging portrait of the life and times of one of history’s most appealing characters!”—Diana Gabaldon, author of The Scottish Prisoner

“Bawdy and poignant...An ebullient page-turner!”—Leslie Carroll, author of Royal Romances

“Hard to resist this sort of seduction.”—C. C. Humphreys, author of Shakespeare’s Rebel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425238592
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,135,617
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Gillian Bagwell began her professional life in theater and united her lifelong love of books, British history, and the stage by writing The Darling Strumpet. Her second novel, The September Queen (U.K. title, The King’s Mistress) recounts the perilous and romantic odyssey of Jane Lane, who risked her life to help the young Charles II escape after the disastrous Battle of Worcester in 1651. Venus in Winter is a sweeping and romantic novel of Bess of Hardwick, the formidable four-times widowed Tudor dynast who is the forebear of numerous noble lines including the current royal family of Britain.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(14)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This historical biography of Nell Gwynn is a terrific tale

    In 1660 following a decade of bleak Cromwell gray, thirty year old Charles II is crowned king. In London as the monarchy returns, young Nell Gwynn was beaten by her partially intoxicated mother Eleanor for losing her oyster barrow when the girl was caught up in the royal festivities. She vowed no more beatings and she will find a way to escape from the smell and oil of oysters that Nell believes has penetrated her brain. She flees to her sister Rose the whore who advises her to leave their termagant mother and the Golden Fleece tavern but must get the money first.

    Nell turns to whoring working for Rose's employer Madam Ross though she only recently started her courses. The patrons love her deprecating cheeky humor. She goes to watch the return of The King's Company performing Shakespeare's Henry the Fourth after years of being shut down. There she meets Robbie Duncan who takes her away from the brothel. Soon her bawdy commentary leads to her performing on the stage. When King Charles II sees her act, he makes her his favorite courtesan. Nell understands that she is the Protestant whore of the king, but also is fond of her kind lover while maneuvering the deadly royal courtesan court. She "captures the heart of England and Charles II" as even when he is dying, the monarch wants his beloved taken care of after he is gone.

    This historical biography of Nell Gwynn is a terrific tale from the invigorating different perspective of a courtesan who rose from abject poverty and family abuse to become the nation's Darling Strumpet. Decades before Fielding's "lewd" classic Tom Jones, Nell's real life witty ribald comments about herself and the life in the men (paraphrasing Mae West) wanting her make for a fun look at the Restoration.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Fun!

    The Darling Strumpet details the life of Nell Gwynn in the late 1660's in England. Nell started life as a child of poverty, never sure if she would have enough to eat or whether she and her drunken, abusive mother would have a place to live. She escaped that life by becoming a prostitute at an early age, probably around eleven or twelve.

    She and her sister meet a group of actors, who with the return of King Charles II, are reviving the London theatre. She leaves the whorehouse for the theatre, starting as an orange-seller but then getting her heart's desire and moving to the stage where she became London's darling. She also caught the attention of royalty and became the mistress of several lords and dukes.

    Over time, she met and settled into a long-term relationship with King Charles himself. They had two sons together and she was his mistress from her early twenties to the end of his life in her late thirties. Although Charles had other mistresses and children, he always came back to Nell, who was his comfort. She was also loved mightily by all who knew her and popular with the crowds of London

    Gillian Bagwell has created a book that will be a delight to readers of historical fiction. She does not attempt to hide the harshness of life--the plagues, the crime, the uncertainty of fortune. The political atmosphere was charged as this was the start of the tension between Protestants and Catholics. Succession to the king was always a charged issue, especially as in Charles's case, where he did not have a legitimate heir. Although these issues are discussed, the tone of the book is rollicking and merry for the most part, drawing the reader along and entertaining as it educates. This book is recommended for historical fiction readers.

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  • Posted February 17, 2011

    AN IMPRESSIVE STORY OF FROM RAGS TO RICHES! FROM A STRUMPET TO A KING'S MISTRESS! THE DARLING STRUMPET:NELL GWYNN,WHO CAPTURED THE HEART OF ENGLAND AND KING CHARLES II BY GILLIAN BAGWELL

    THE DARLING STRUMPET: NELL GWYNN, WHO CAPTURED THE HEART OF ENGLAND AND KING CHARLES II by Gillian Bagwell is a historical romance set in 1660 London. It is this author's debut novel and one to keep an eye on.It is written with history,depth,and details.The characters and plot are well designed,engaging and will have you wanting more. It has saucy humor,prostitution,actress,betrayal,sensuality,abuse,passion,trust,love,romance,ruthlessness,the tumultuous world of seventeenth-century England and of course King Charles II. Nell Gwynn,went from poverty to being an abused child by her mother. To prostitution to survive. To being a beloved saucy actress.To the Kings's mistress.To the most fameous courtesan in all of England.as the mistress and beloved mother of two of King Charles II illigientment sons.She was forced into prostitution to survive,forced to maneuver the ruthless,shifting allegiance of the royal court and was the most loved courtesan of England.She never forgot her routes,her people or where she came from.She had caught the eye of some of the most powerful gentlemen of England,but to most fortunate enough to catch the King.Although,he had numerous mistresses,Nell was his favorite and most beloved to him.This is a powerful story of survivial during harsh times, bound by society,standing on the sidelines,while others paraded in the forefront.Nell was loved by many,for she was generous,kind,loving and never throught herself better than others.She was often called a whore,but was loved by all of England. She was one of history's most compelling, engaging,and appealing characters.If you enjoy historical charcters,England during harsh times,love,romance and the true meaning of love forever this is the story for you.I would highly recommend this story.It is heartwarmin,heartbreaking,fast paced and full of emotional heart.This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and author and details can be found at Berkley Publishing Group,published by the Penguin Group and My Book Addiction and More.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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