The Darling Stumpet by Gillian Bagwell
It's funny, just a few days ago I wrote how I first discovered King Charles II and her I am writing about him again. If you've never heard of Nell Gwynn before her story is truthfully a tale from rags to riches. As a teenager Nell was forced to start working at a whorehouse in order to survive. From their she was able to change her life course by selling oranges at a playhouse, and go on to be an actress on stage. As an actress she caught the eye of the King, and become of one of his favorite mistress, and even mother to his children. She may be the only one who litterally started as a street urchin and became a countesss.
In some ways I felt like I read the whole first half of the novel weighting for King Charles II to enter the picture. Except once he did, the story seemed to slow down. Looking back it makes sense. After all it is more exciting to read about someone's rise to the top, and by the end the center of Nell's life was well....
There are a few scenes that come off as a little graphic, but do make sense considering Nell's upbringing. I'm not completely sure some of them were completely neccessarily, but it does make sure to provide a stark contrast between the life Nell was living, and how it changed.
While I did enjoy the overall story, and how Nell and King Charles II were protrated, I didn't quite feel the connections with some of the minor characters. I wanted to get to know Nell's sons and friends more. And while I felt we got to know her sister, Rose, in the first few chapters, but the end of the novel I had almost lost my feel for Rose.
But even with my complaints I really enjoyed this and pretty much devoured it. I think Nell's story is in some ways a real life fairy tale, and if you've never heard of her or don't really know the story of King Charles II, I do think this would be a good place to start. As for the author, this was her debut novel, although she does have a new book coming out telling the story of another of King Charles II's mistresses, which I'd love to read as well.
1 hour ago