Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Book Review: THE DARLING STRUMPET by Gillian Bagwell

In historical fiction everyone has their top favorites; favorite heroines, favorite time periods, and especially favorite locations. Hands down my favorite rag to riches heroine naturally goes hand in hand with my favorite king of England the legendary Charles II and witty Nell Gwynn. Nelly always has held a special place in my heart and she will stay there indefinitely. You can only imagine how elated I was when I got wind that “The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II” would be hitting bookstores January 4th 2011 which happens to be today.

What a realistically sexually charged read and I mean that in the best of ways possible. This book made me realize that to love Charles II a woman had compete with his “troupe” of mistresses and a whole gaggle of recognized bastards. It is one thing to bed him on his whim but it was a completely different thing to keep his fancy. I now realize that Nell held his heart for so long because she loved him deeply and had to have been one very hot sex kitten in the bedroom. This novel proves that Nelly’s passion lives on even today and like I thought Rochester likes it freaky. “The Darling Strumpet” was a rocking Restoration England read that brought the nasty out in everyone and I whole heartily enjoyed every second of it.

Nell from the beginning lived a hard life of poverty in the 17th century. Her mam ran a bar slash brothel house and poor Nelly was forced into scouring for oysters in the sea and hawking her wares on the street for her livelihood. At this time the level of poverty was at a high point in England and in this life Nell was determined to step up her game and make something of her-self. Even with traumatic events like the plague sweeping London and the great fire of 1666, Nell never stopped picking herself up off the ground and kept moving forward. From violent brothels to charming all of England in the theater stages, Nell managed not only to earn the undying devotion of the people of London but she also captured the heart of the king and kept it.

For all of you Restoration England lovers this book is a must. Really it is a must! What made this book so unique from my past Nell novels you ask? I would have to say it was the sexualization of Nelly. It really was the most in depth novel about what the real hot Nelly was more than likely like than I ever realized it would be. In the end I felt this book was a true complement to Restoration England and Nelly novels.

5/5++++Really GOOD, what a way to start out the new year with a bang. What shocked me the most is this is a debut novel of Gillian Bagwell’s. To go up from what I just read is incomprehensible to me. Really the sky is the limit for Gillian’s future in historical fiction. As many of you know I am obsessed with history and Restoration England is one of my favorite obsessions. In the past year I have had the pleasure of reading numerous novels set in this period and I have to admit that this book in my mind is right up there with the reigning queen of Restoration England novels, Susan Holloway Scott. I must recommend this book to all HF lovers who love the sexually charged bawdiness that was a large part of the social life of Restoration England. I do have to state though that if you are not into reading about sex this is not the novel for you but I can say that Gillian really did cover it with class and dignity.

X-Rating for graphic sexual encounters.
FTC-Book was sent to me by the publisher.

The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II
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  1. It sounds like an amazing book! What a way to start your 2011 reading year. I can't wait to read this book!

  2. I haven't read anything from this era and I have this one for review so it should be interesting!!

  3. I have this one coming for review and I am looking forward to it. I too have long admired Nell for her ability to survive and succeed in an almost impossible time.

  4. Svea, really it was the best way to kick off the new year. You will love it Nelly is so hot.

    Daphne, that is really hard to believe since you read so much. I can not believe you have not read about Nelly. OMG you are going to fall in love with her. The first one that turned me on to her was "The perfect Royal Mistress" by Diane Haeger. I love that book and this one is right up there with it. Nelly was very lovable, I hope you love her after you finish the read.

    Pricilla, no kidding she is defiantly a survivor. I love reading about her. Really what is most shocking is that this is Gillian debut, really she is going to be one to watch out for she already is on goodreads as the number one most anticipated release for 2011. I love the cover too is it not to die for? Nelly sure was sexy.

  5. I LOVE the restoration as well! If I could meet any king in history, it would be Charles II- he's so fascinating!
    I just finished 2 books about Sarah Duchess of Marlborough and have several Susan Holloway Scott titles on my TBR including THE KING'S FAVORITE. I've just added THE DARLING STRUMPET to my Amazon wish list as well.

  6. I've never read a book from the Restoration period. Which novel do you recommend to get me started?

  7. Emery Lee, what a pleasant surprise visit! I have to agree Charles is my favorite and if I could only pick one King to meet it would for sure be him. Oh I have Susan Holloway Scott's novel on Sarah, I really want to read it because I read The Countess and the King and both of them tie in together with Sarah. I still have yet to read The Kings Favorite but I heard it is to die for.

    Renate, I would highly recommend The Darling Strumpet and The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger. Diane was my first Restoration read and it made me fall in love with the time period. If you want to get really into the period Susan Holloway Scott is the Queen of Restoration novels, all of hers are very good. If you want to go with an in depth on on Charles II the I would go with The Loves of Charles II by Jean Plaidy it covers every woman he ever loved and trust me that was a lot of ladies. At a whopping 700+ pages the book is fabulous. One of my other favorites that is really obscure to find was written by Jean Plaidy under her pen name Kathleen Kellow Rochester: The Mad Earl is a really good read that is really hard to find. I hope that gives you a start off point all the ones I mentioned are favorites that I think you would really enjoy. Once you get going on Charles you will never be able to walk away from him.

  8. First stop here. Thanks for the headsup, I will have to get the book. Have a wonderful new year
    and a great day.


  9. La Petite Gallery, I have noticed in the past few days that the blogs and reader sites like goodreads, everyone is raving about it. I am glad so many other people loved this one too. I hope you love it and happy new year also.


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