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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read !
Nell Gwynne is a ragged ten year old when she watches King Charles II make his triumphant return to London in the Spring of 1660. London is rejoicing following the end of Cromwell's rule and the city is soon to become the debauched centre of Europe. Into this world of prostitution and corruption young Nelly makes her way, first as an orange seller in the flourishing...
Published on 14 Sep 2011 by jaffareadstoo

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING FICTIONAL BIOGRAPHY
This is an interesting historical novel inspired by the life of Nell Gwynn. The story starts from Nell's childhood and describes her rise to fame as one of the first English actresses and the favorite mistress of King Charles II. The atmosphere of 17th century London is beautiful and the descriptions of the everyday life of the poor as well as the life at Court, during...
Published on 26 Feb 2012 by Eleni


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING FICTIONAL BIOGRAPHY, 26 Feb 2012
By 
Eleni - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Darling Strumpet (Paperback)
This is an interesting historical novel inspired by the life of Nell Gwynn. The story starts from Nell's childhood and describes her rise to fame as one of the first English actresses and the favorite mistress of King Charles II. The atmosphere of 17th century London is beautiful and the descriptions of the everyday life of the poor as well as the life at Court, during the Restoration are very vivid and well researched. Naturally, as a great part of Nell's fame is associated with the theatre, there are fascinating descriptions of the theatres, references to plays and players and important events of Restoration Theatre. However, more emphases is given on Nell's career as a prostitute than as an actress, which I found disappointing. Graphic sex dominates this otherwise well written novel, which makes sense up to a point, but it is way too much and sadly overshadows everything else. Sex was essential to Nell's survival and success, and although personally I found it too graphic, I understand why the author chose to include it.

Nell is a very likable and well developed character but not very realistic, which is an interesting contradiction. She is well researched and vividly created, but her emotional reactions are not always believable, not even considering the circumstances of her life and upbringing. However, it seems that the author created Nell with love and that makes her a very likable character, which makes up for any shortcomings of this darling fictional strumpet.

The novel is not bad, but my main objection is that there is no mention, either on the description or the actual book, of the extended and sometimes disturbing graphic sex scenes. On the contrary, on the back cover it has a "Content Guide" that includes, "Tear-jerker, Thrills, Drama, Love, Historical, Humor, Friendship", but makes no mention of sex whatsoever. The book is advertised as a historical novel and Nell Gwynn is a very appealing historical figure, so anyone including underaged readers can decide to read it. Clearly, graphic descriptions of things like, the gang rape of a ten year old girl, a lesson instructing Nell how to perform oral sex, or group sex, can be disturbing or even damaging and the readers should be warned what to expect from this, not so innocent, historical romance novel.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read !, 14 Sep 2011
By 
jaffareadstoo (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Darling Strumpet (Paperback)
Nell Gwynne is a ragged ten year old when she watches King Charles II make his triumphant return to London in the Spring of 1660. London is rejoicing following the end of Cromwell's rule and the city is soon to become the debauched centre of Europe. Into this world of prostitution and corruption young Nelly makes her way, first as an orange seller in the flourishing theatres, and then as one of the first female actresses.
Nell is soon a very popular attraction, and as such is the focus of quite raucous male attention, but it is her relationship with King Charles that will alter the course of her life forever.

The book is a beautifully written and lively romp through Restoration England. Gillian Bagwell has captured the very essence of the period with a charm and wit that keeps you turning the pages.
It's saucy and sexually explicit throughout, but overall the humour and the sheer joie de vivre emphasises the utter glory of being alive and young in one of the most glittering of Royal courts.

I loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely love this book would recommend it to anyone who loves historical novels, 8 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Darling Strumpet (Kindle Edition)
Got lost in the world of The Darling Strumpet, completely took me back to the days of the wonderful Nell Gwynn
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so good i shall read it twice, 17 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Darling Strumpet (Kindle Edition)
i loved this book i brought the paperback to take on holiday and read it on the beach, i couldnt put it
down.i loved the history the romance and even shed a tear, i felt like i knew all the characters.ive now got it on my kindle and i
shall read it again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracker of a book, 4 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Darling Strumpet (Kindle Edition)
The tale of Nell Gwynne's life almost from the beginning right to the end, a real emotional roller coaster.

In parts the language is very ripe - but it would be; she was a whore after all so for once I didn't have a problem with it.

Nell's early years were terrible and as you sit in the comfort of your own surroundings you can only be glad of the life that is your own, with all of its imperfections.
Nell's life improved drastically when she caught the eye of the King and she was able to leave the theatre and prostitution behind for a life that seemed happy although not without its niggles in the form of the King's other mistresses.

The ending of this story is nicely written, it wrings you out emotionally and absorbs you completely as you feel Nell's raw grief and ecstatic joy.

A rare 5*
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 1 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Darling Strumpet (Kindle Edition)
I love historical novels generally and this one did not fail to engage me. I feel that I have come to know Nell and empathise with the ups and downs of her life. Worth reading.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to more from Gillian Bagwell, 15 Aug 2011
Perhaps my favorite author in this genre is Diana Gabaldon and I am happy to see that she gave this book a positive review. Indeed, Gillian Bagwell has the same knack of providing the right amount of descriptive prose so the reader can really picture the times, without detracting from or slowing down the story.

This book brings to light the role of women in the 17th century in an intimate and revealing way. What is intriguing is that this is accomplished by telling the tale not from the perspective of a member of the privileged class but from the perspective of a woman born to poverty who makes a better life for herself by the only means she sees as an option, becoming a whore and eventually a mistress. Even as mistress to the king, she can never forget where she came from. It is perhaps her connection to the "common" folk that she never loses sight of that makes her so beloved by the people.

There are some explicit scenes where the reader almost feels like a voyeur, but those are integral to understanding what was expected of a woman in those times who was meant solely to satisfy the whim and domination of men. It is touching that out of all this there develops a true love story between Nell Gwynn and King Charles II.

The story centers on Nell and her path from abuse by her mother to abuse as a whore to finally winning respect as an actress only to end up as a kept woman out of the fear that she would lose all she had gained. As an outcome, however, she discovers many different kinds of love.

I enjoy historical novels because I learn something about the times in addition to reading a good story. This book succeeds in meeting my expectations as it integrates events of the times, especially with regard to the evolution of the theatre. I am gratified to have learned a lot reading this book--some of it disturbing, as will always be the case with the time period and makes one even more grateful for the times in which we live, and other parts were enlightening and also helped me learn more about the monarchy leading up to the time frame of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series.

I am grateful to my sister-in-law Donna Stevens (who is also mentioned in the acknowledgements in the book) for sending this to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read!, 18 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Darling Strumpet (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book, couldn't put it down! A bit near the knuckle in some parts, but hey ho, that's what our Nellie was all about. You can't help but love Nell after reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Historical Novel, 6 Mar 2014
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This book based on the life of Nell Gwyn is a really enjoyable historical romp. I recommend this highly. Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good first novel, 2 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Darling Strumpet (Kindle Edition)
Really great read gave insight to life as Nell Gynn and all the facts lots of detail too. Now reading The Kings Mistress lots of history
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