Customer Review

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
This review is from: The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II (Paperback)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Aug 2011 19:26:02 BDT
Thank you, Betty!

Posted on 19 Nov 2012 21:06:26 GMT
Obviously a friend of the author!
Disinterested reviews should only be posted
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