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Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King Hardcover – 10 Oct 2005
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'A history of the beautiful, quickwitted, sexually magnetic Gwyn...Beaclerk recreates the heady, politically charge atmosphere of Charles's court' -- Daily Express --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Beautiful, quick-witted, good humoured and sexually magnetic, Nell Gwyn remains one of England's great folk-heroines. The story of her exceptional rise from a poor, abusive childhood to the wealth and connections that came with being the lover of one history's most louche kings, is a highly charged mix of lust, money, high politics and love. Oyster wench, Orange seller, comic actress, court jester and loyal friend Nell was the original 'peoples princess'. Charles Beauclerk, a direct descendant of Nell and Charles II, has brilliantly recreated the heady, licentious atmosphere of court and brings new insights into Nell's Career as an actess as well as her domestic life. Probing beneath the suface of her reltionship with the king, the author reveals to us the true nature of Nell Gwyn's world and her unique impact upon it. This is both quintessential restoration romp and epic love story; an account that far exceeds the colour and excitements of the best historical fiction. 'revealilng and entertaining' - Literary Review 'a rich and deep knowledge of the period conveyed in warm, unstuffy and amusing style' - Daily Mail --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Charles Beauclerk has researched his book in great depth and detail but he wears his erudition lightly. The historical detail is abundant but never overwhelming. The book is a page-turner that brings Restoration England to life.
The style is as witty as Nell and Charles themselves. The author's humour and wise analyses continually shine out.
The relationship between the commoner Nell and the King really was revolutionary, a class-crossing affair of true love between two kindly, intelligent, humane people.
Their story is related with the same qualities evident in the author, their descendant.
Anyone fortunate enough to attend one of Beauclerk's powerful, inspiring talks on English literature and history already knows that here is a unique individual voice, destined to draw a wide following. Without hesitation I predict he will be counted among the brightest thinkers and writers of his generation.
Charles Beauclerk's first book could have no more fitting heroine than the incomparable Nell Gwyn, from whom he is directly descended. Finally this legendary mistress of Charles II has a biographer who knows his subject and can bring her to life. My advice is to grab a copy and settle into a comfortable chair and surrender to the capable hands of this brilliant young writer. Beauclerk's sharp eye never overlooks a significant detail and his ever-present sense of humor never misses the chance to share a smile or a laugh.
And when the inevitable movie comes out, you will say with conviction: "Oh, but you should really read the book!"
But were they so unlikely a pair? Both were children of hardship: Nell, scrambling from poverty and probable illegitimacy to theatrical stardom, then upward to precarious glamour as the King's mistress, and Charles, for eleven years an imporverished, apparent loser scrambling to keep himself going, even to stay alive, in Europe while the Commonwealth ruled.
This is the first time I've gotten much of a feel for what Charles was like as a person, and one of Beauclerk's special skills appears to be character analysis. What an interesting comment on Cromwell's real values was his desire to be adorned in royal regalia after his death. This account of Nell's story is full of similar colorful insights and anecdotes.
I'm familiar with the hardcover edition, and thought those color plates extremely good. Impressively, they are also very well done for this handsome paperback.
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