Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell

Gillian Bagwell brings Nell Gwynn to life in this Cinderella tale. Nell runs away from her abusive alcholic mother as King Charles II arrives back to claim his throne. Nell immediately begins a way of life that is familiar to her, prostitution. Nell soon finds herself selling oranges in the King's Company Theatre, much to the disdain of current benefactor, Robbie Duncan. Nell then catches the eye of several actors, including Charles Hart, who soon teaches her to act and to love. But with Nell, the show must go on, and so must life. Nell soon lands in the bed of several members of nobility, including the Duke of Rochester. At this time,  Nell is taken under wing by the Duke of Buckingham, who helps her into the King's bed. The book continues to follow  Nell through the rest of her life from her children with Charles, her rivalries with Squintabella and losing Charles.
This book was phenonmally written. One feels love and kindredship with an extremely young Nell, selling herself and her wares. Bagwell's characters are perfect. Rochester is perfect. Being labeled in history as a libertine, Bagwell paints him as such, but with more of a heart and brain. I felt sympathy for Robbie and Charles Hart in losing Nell, and Buckingham is perfect.
Bagwell used a lot of historical accurate details as well, from Nell's quotes to the uprisings and problems between the King and the rest of the government.
This book is an excellent read and I am glad to have read it. Highly recommended. I won this book from Lizzy at Historically Obsessed! Check her out here!

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