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The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles (Berkley Sensation Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – 4 Jun 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Books; Reprint edition (4 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425263428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425263426
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[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 "

Review

Praise for The Darling Strumpet: "Richly engaging portrait of the life and times of one of history's most appealing characters!" -- Diana Gabaldon "Bawdy and poignant ! an ebullient page-turner!" -- Leslie Carroll, author of Royal Affairs "Hard to resist this sort of seduction -- a Nell Gwynn who pleasures the crowds upon the stages of London and the noblest men of England in their bedrooms. A vivid portrait of an age that makes our own seem prudish, told with verve, humour, pathos! and not a little eroticism." -- C.C. Humphreys, Author of Jack Absolute "! an absolute triumph as a debut novel!. The Darling Strumpet is an absolutely brilliant addition to the historical fiction genre and might be the best novel on Nell Gwynn ever!. Nell would have applauded in approval and probably done a little jig to celebrate her tribute." -- Kayla Posney, Pittsburgh Historical Fiction Examiner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eleni TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Feb. 2012
Format: 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.
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By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Why oh why have other people written five star reviews for this book? It starts out reasonably promisingly, but soon gets tedious. Nell's character is one dimensional - like all the others in the book - and the plot 'twists' are 100% predictable. The writer seems to have spent a large amount of time filling in pages with dull scenes that add nothing to the story and leave the reader wishing they hadn't wasted 49p on the book. I'm three-quarters of the way through and can't be bothered to finish this.
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