Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Darling Strumpet

Gillian Bagwell

Witty and beautiful, Nell Gwynn was born into poverty, and traded her mother's treacherous grasp for the grim life of a prostitute at a precious young age.  But before long she finds herself drawn into the enthralling world of the theater, where her saucy good humor and sensuous charm earn her a place in the King's Company.  As one of the first actresses in the newly opened playhouses, her comedic talents and endearing personality catapult her to fame, winning the affection of legions of fans--and the heart of her leading man.  But it is when she catches the eye of the most powerful man in all of England--the king himself--that her life is transformed in ways she could never have imagined.  Surrendering her body and heart to Charles, Nell with be forced to maneuver the ruthless and shifting allegiances of the royal court--and discover a world of decadence and passion she never dreamed was possible...

My Take:

Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Nell Gwynn, so basically any book with her at the center is alright by me.  I think that Nell is such a rich and fascinating historical figure and The Darling Strumpet definitely did her justice.  The most important thing for me, when I read a book focusing on Nell, is if the author properly catches the sense of humor, generosity and caring personality she was famous for.  I think Ms. Bagwell has done so in spades. This book was just all around solid.  The characters were rich and complex, the plot was paced well and the period language felt natural.  Thankfully, the politics of the time were not too heavily discussed and the focus remained on Nell.  I will say one thing I didn't love (something that is 100% my own personal taste) was I felt that some of Nell's *wink*wink* "encounters" were told in a bit too much detail too often.  I just would have preferred that aspect been a little more tame.  Yes I know she was a prostitute and it wasn't a pretty profession, but that doesn't mean I want to hear about all the details.  Anyway, overall, I LOVED it.  As with all historical fiction, creative license must be taken to create a full and vibrant character, and I felt that the little things added or changed were very tasteful and were not distracting at all.  It is important that if you change and add things, you don't take away from the overall spirit of the person, as perfectly demonstrated in this book.  You saw Nell for what she was: unashamed to do what she needed to do to support herself and her family (because let's face it, being born into poverty at that time left a woman with very few options other than the road Nell took).  She was flawed, she was funny, she was faithful, she was generous, and last but not least, she was absolutely outrageous as gorgeously captured in this book.  If you are a Nell fan, or a fan of historical fiction in general, this is a must read.  If you haven't read much his/fic, this book would be a great introduction for you! 1 Pay Full Price

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If The Darling Strumpet was a movie, it would be rated R for sexual content and some violence.

***FTC Disclosure:  This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***

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Regi:Create said...

I Love love love the premise of your blog. I'm wasting so much time just going through the archives! LOL. Following you now from bloggymoms!

Gillian Bagwell said...

Thanks for the lovely review, Kate! Much appreciated.


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