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Born during a tumultuous period in England’s past, Nell Gwyn caught the eye of King Charles II, the newly restored, ...
Born during a tumultuous period in England’s past, Nell Gwyn caught the eye of King Charles II, the newly restored, pleasure-seeking "merry monarch" of a nation in full hedonistic reaction to Puritan rule. Their seventeen-year love affair played out against the backdrop of the Great Fire of London, the Great Plague, court scandals, and the constant threat of political revolution. Despite his other lovers’ Machiavellian efforts to win the king’s favor and humiliate Nell, the selfproclaimed "Protestant whore" earned the devotion of her king and the love of her nation, becoming England’s first "people’s princess." Magnificently recreating the heady and licentious, yet politically charged atmosphere of Restoration England, Nell Gwyn tells the true-life Cinderella story of a common orange salesgirl who became mistress to a king.
Posted July 5, 2011
For any serious student of history, this book is a poorly constructed, little cited foray into the author's fantasy about who his ancestress was. The only chapter I've discovered that seemed to have a basis in concrete contemporary sources was a chapter about Nell Gwyn's household accounts.
Large segments of the book are devoted to 'what Nell must have thought/must have felt/must have done.' No proof is cited...
It's a frustrating read because it is impossible to tell if there really is any truth to what the author supposes. As a descendant of Nell Gwyn and Charles II, it's clear the author chooses to paint both parties and their relationship in the warmest light. He also denegrates Charles' relationships with other mistresses. All of these occur (again) without any proof.
The author hardly has any endnotes and his bibliography comes primarily from books far after the actual time.
Overall, it reads as historical fiction with an accurate timeline of events.