A steamy tale for a cold winter night

Nell Gwynn was the most popular actress on the stage in Restoration England.She was also widely known as “the protestant whore” to distinguish her from Charles II’s French Catholic mistress Louise De Kerouaille.

The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell, a “novel” of Nell Gynn is as bawdy and engaging as Nell herself was reputed to be. Nell was born in a bar to an abusive, alcoholic mother. She caught the eye of the king as she and her older sister Rose were selling oranges in the theater. A petite porcelain beauty with red hair, blue eyes, and a quick wit, Nell soon found lovers among the king’s young bucks. It wasn’t long before she was the king’s mistress. Nell eventually bore the king two sons. Nell and the king remained friends and lovers until his death. She was one of the few people at his side when he died.
Bagwell’s well-researched novel accurately captures the rowdy, sexy Restoration period. She paints a detailed picture of a spirited young Nell, her theater friends, and courtly lovers.
The Darling Strumpet sizzles with sexuality. I have read several biographies of Nell Gynn, but none was as vividly painted with detail as The Darling Strumpet. Bagwell has an ear for the bawdy Restoration England. Romantics will devour this engaging, sexy page-turner.