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Royal Harlot

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,191 ratings  ·  77 reviews
London, 1660: Ready to throw off a generation of Puritan rule, all England rejoices when Charles Stuart returns to reclaim the throne. Among those welcoming him is young Barbara Villiers Palmer, a breathtaking Royalist beauty whose sensuality and clever wit instantly captivate the handsome, jaded king. Though each is promised to another, Barbara soon becomes Charles's mist ...more
ebook, 96 pages
Published July 3rd 2007 by Portfolio (first published 2007)
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Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Barbara's story begins with a "prequel" to her story and her first meeting with the exiled King Charles II. As she is the only one who can deliver to him letters of great support and promises of money destined for the royal pockets,she risks being damned a spy and tried for treason or worse convicted and executed. After constant nagging from her husband Roger ( he more concerned of the Villers name and a better future) Barbara embarks on a mission that will change her life forever,as well as tho ...more
Oct 14, 2008 Alaine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: To anyone who enjoys historical fiction. But be warned, it's very raunchy!
Recommended to Alaine by: Sheree
For me personally, what makes a historical fiction book fantastic is one that tells me so much about the period that is it written in, that I want to get straight onto Google and search for more information. Susan Holloway Scott truly brought these historical figures to life and left me wanting more. As with any good author she explains in her notes at the back of the book why she wrote the story the way she did and why she portrayed Barbara the way she did.
I have to say that this is a very raun
I always say that actors in films "do a good job" when they play a mean character I am supposed to hate and I indeed "hate" them while watching a movie. In the same respect, we are generally meant to hate Barbara Villiers, the famous greedy and sex-crazed mistress of Charles II. Susan Holloway Scott allowed her character to play a Oscar-winning performance because frankly: I hate this mistress (okay, granted I am a fan of Nell Gwynne).

A wonderfully saturated book including the sexual craving an
Rio (Lynne)
No doubt Barbara Villiers was a harlot, in all senses. Barbara was up for anything to climb the social ladder. She was King Charles II mistress (he had many) but she was the first and most important one when he returned to the throne of England. She had more influence at court than his queen and she was called the curse of the nation by her haters. She worked the system in every way to secure her future. If you want to read and learn about this time in history (when England was Republic and lost ...more
Marie Z. Johansen
I seem to be a serial reader. When I find an author I like - especially one that writes of a time period that I am exceedingly fond of - I seem to try to read every book written by them! This same propensity holds true for Susan Holloway Scott - whose novels never cease to please me. Her books transport me and I am always sad when I come to the end of one of her books. That's high praise from mew and is, perhaps, why I go on the hunt for the next title right away.

Since I generally read so much a
I picked this book up after I read Forever Amber. The book is about Barbara Palmer, Lady Castlemaine, ancestress to the late Princess Diana AND Camilla Parker Bowles. Barbara Palmer was a prominant character in Forever Amber. She was one of the famous mistresses of King Charles II in bawdy restoration England.

Basically, there is nothing likeable about Barbara Palmer. She is conceited, promiscuous, and self-absorbed. While this novel did not portray Barbara as the shrewish woman, as she was portr
As a general rule, anything related to the Stuarts isn’t an immediate draw, for one reason or another. Though I read and enjoyed Kathleen Winsor’s seminal Forever Amber, I tend to find the risqué happenings of the Restoration era to be somewhat tedious. So with that in mind, Royal Harlot didn’t scream my name while reading, but I was able to find it entertaining and often interesting all the same.

Barbara Palmer is not a well-liked woman by really anyone, especially by a modern audience. But in w
The first introduction I had to Barbara Villiers was in my first ever Jean Plaidy novels, A Health Unto His Majesty, and The Pleasures of Love. Plaidy portrayed her as a villain you love to hate. She was calculating and vindictive and I rooted for the queen who just couldn’t compete for Charles II’s attention. Coming into this book, I tried to set aside my existing views of Barbara and be more open minded about her motives and actions.

The book begins with Barbara’s journey to Antwerp on a secret
Jinny (
This is a novel about Barbara Palmer, the Countess of Castlemaine, who was one of the main mistresses of King Charles II, during the period of Restoration England. Historically, she was known to have been a great influence on King Charles, so much so that people would call her the Uncrowned Queen. She was known to be promiscuous and extravagant, leading her to have left a rather negative view of herself throughout the centuries.

Royal Harlot is not a novel that seeks to bring “another side” to th
By now, I've been starting to rack up a good number of Susan Holloway Scott reads. I'm at a grand total of 3 now, and I'm eager to keep that number growing. Thus far, though, Scott's Royal Harlot is by far the best book in her library.

Scott has firmly positioned herself as a historical resource on the bawdy pre-Restoration Court of Charles II, having explored no less than three of his mistresses in her novels. In Royal Harlot, she takes on Barbara Villiers, the Countess of Castlemaine, who, it a
No weekend would be complete without some sweeping saga of historical fiction I can tear through in one day. Frankly, this is the kindest portrait of Barbara Villiers Palmer I've ever read. She is a character whose reputation proceeds her in history, and her legacy has not been kind to her. Scott, however, seems to strike an effective balance between championing the infamous Countess of Castlemaine (and Duchess of Cleveland) and acknowledging her very well-documented faults: jealousy, temper, pe ...more
Mandy Moody
Royal Harlot is told by the most famous and longstanding mistress of King Charles II. It is a story of her life, and of his return to the throne.
I thought this book was very well written. The story was well told and historically accurate, and even better - so much fun to read!
Scott's portrayal of Barbara Villiers is much more sympathetic than most historians, and I appreciate her more feminist view.
A warning for those that are looking for G rated material...Like most historical fiction, Royal H
Barbara Villiers Palmer, labeled the Great Harlot of Charles II, proudly claims her successes at the king’s side, rising in rank and power. Barbara never proclaims to be anything other than what she is, politically astute, honest and unimpeded by public outrage & social conventions.
A great read about a woman I had heard of, but knew very little about, the story of Barbara's life from age 15 to 31. A fascinating blend of history, colour, sexual tension and drama. A really good character study
Too bad; it was going so well, too. The author tiptoed over the acts themselves with silken descriptions and then dipped into grammatical hell when she used a couple of raunchy low-class terms. ugh. Those words weren't even used back then; ruined the book. Shame.

Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor, (about the gal who kicked Barbara to the curb)
was so much better; same king, same time period.
Rebecca Huston
Barbara Castlemaine has come down through history with a rather unsavory reputation. The author here has decided to delve into the story, and gives a good background on as to why a woman would choose to be a king's mistress. It's entertaining and well-written and I came away with actually liking her a bit.

For a more complete review, please go here:
This is a really entertaining, well-researched book about a sexy, immoral and, not altogether particularly nice woman, who was widely hated by society in the 17th century, and remains so. I really enjoyed reading this one.
Elisha (lishie)
It was just ok. Barbara Villiers, (married) mistress to King Charles is not a likable character to me. At least, not in this story. I liked the author's "Duchess" much more.
Kate Lawrence
The author, who has a special interest in notable--and notorious--personalities in 17th century England, provides a fictional glimpse into the court of King Charles II through the eyes of the beautiful and clever Countess Castlemaine, a favorite mistress. The novel has a broader scope than just the relationship between the two, however. We also get a sense of the current events of the day, such as the mistrust and rivalry between Anglicans and Catholics, wars with the Dutch, a devastating reappe ...more
Elis Madison

This one starts with young Barbara Villiers's hook-up with the gifted seducer Phillip, the Earl of Chesterfield. But Chessy (Cheesy?) wasn't in the marriage market at the time, so in the end she married Roger Palmer.

Poor Rog probably knew he hadn't married a virgin, but still, could he have realized what he was getting into?

Eventually Barbara found her way to the exiled and impoverished court of Charles II. She's beautiful; he's a Stuart. Inevitably, Babs and Chuck became lovers and this is ab
The Royal Harlot follows Barbara Palmer, the most elite mistress of King Charles II from the age of 15 until 32. From the age of 18 or 19 she was Charles' mistress even though she was married to Roger Palmer. She had 4 children with Charles each of whom was granted the royal last name Fitzroy and acknowledged as his. Barbara was said to be the most beautiful woman at court by both her haters and those that liked her. I looked her up online and while she doesn't seem that beautiful by today's sta ...more
One of the most notorious things about King Charles II of England is his long line of famous mistresses. Author Susan Holloway Scott has found a gold mine to write about in Barbara Palmer, Nell Gwyn, and Renee de Kerouelle. In Royal Harlot, Scott takes a spin around the court with Barbara Palmer, the Countess of Castlemaine.

This book was not my first outing with Charles II. I have previously read a Jean Plaidy book called The Merry Monarch’s Wife about Catherine of Braganza (you can check out m
First sentence: "I was, I think, a gambler born."

Barbara Villiers Palmer is a young newlywed about to embark on a journey to bring funds to the exiled king Charles II. What she does not know is that she is on a journey to meet her destiny. Charles II would have many mistresses over the course of his life, but Barbara Palmer, Countess Castlemaine would be his most notorious and longest relationship. This is her story.

This is one of the best royal mistress books I have read if only because the aut
Ms Holloway Scott’s novel is written from Barbara’s perspective, which portrays her youthful neglect as a reason her her pragmatic and callous attitude that carries her through life. You will either love or hate Barbara, who doesn't care whom she uses or steps on to achieve wealth and power.

She capitulated to being rejected by Chesterfield, her first lover with pragmatic coolness, which seemed out of place for a young woman not yet twenty. Even the sex, though very well written, was cold, dispa
I loved this book!

This was the first time reading a book by Susan Scott, and it won't be my last. I am a huge fan of history, especially British history, but I admit I don't know a lot about this particular time period, so I don't know how historically accurate any of this book actually was. I've heard of Barbara Palmer, the infamous whore of Babylon, of course, but had no idea anything about her.

The book was very well written, very well paced, and I think touched upon the "adult" nature of Bar
Well..."Harlot" really is the best word for the main character of this book. I actually couldn't finish it. It's opening promised deep political intrigue, but what I got was cheap titillation and a girl whose sole purpose in life was to see how many men she could sleep with- all the while constantly reminding you of how beautiful she is. I managed to get about 100 pages into it before I simply couldn't take it anymore.
I love me some historical fiction. This account of one of the most reviled women in England was great! Despite her flaws and scheming, you can't help but champion Barbara Villiers Palmer, Lady Castlemaine, 1st Duchess of Cleveland (etc etc, they have so many names). The account of the Restoration told through her eyes was fascinating, especially the description of the sort of lost generation she grew up among under Cromwell's power. The parallels that could be drawn between her peers and the gen ...more
I love reading a book about a person I never knew existed. I knew Charles had at least 1 mistress but didn't know about Barbara Villiers. The author brought the sights and sounds of Charles II court alive for me with this book. Best of all, I now want to learn even more about a very fascinating woman--and period in time.
Cherie Reeves
Those crazy scandalous Brits! The book was set in the 1600's during King Charles II's reign. It's the story of Barbara Villers, the king's favorite mistress. Bold, powerful, shrewd, scheming woman who knew her assets and how to use them. It's amazing how power seems to come down to sex. I enjoyed the historical aspect of the book. The reign of a king and the different posts appointed never cease to amaze me. Although it was set and a different time, much in society remains the same. I believe I ...more
Rima Jean
Despite not liking the subject matter, I really liked this book. I'm not sure why there is such a fascination with the royal court and the king's "kept women" in Restoration England, as the whole concept is quite repugnant to me. But Scott does such a good job of recreating the period that you feel like you are there, having a beer with Charlie (the king).

Luckily, we weren't there, as sex with the king as a livelihood must have been, for the most part, a nasty affair. Barbara Palmer is NOT a li
This book was interesting. I fell on "The King's Favorite" by this author about Charles II and Nell Gwynn and enjoyed it. Then I read "The Countess and the King" about Katherine Sedley and James II, which was also a fun read. I wish I had read this first. This book was by far my favorite! The character of Barbara Villiers, the Duchess of Cleveland is so complex. It takes a craft to paint a woman so commonly villainized in a flattering light, but the author did it impeccably. I really enjoyed thi ...more
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Aka Miranda Jarrett
Aka Isabella Bradford

Susan Holloway Scott is the author of over forty historical novels and novellas. Writing under her own name as well as Miranda Jarrett, her bestselling books have received numerous awards and honors. With more than three million copies of her books in print, she has been published in nineteen foreign countries around the world. Her most recent historical nov
More about Susan Holloway Scott...
Duchess: A Novel of Sarah Churchill The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II The King's Favorite: A Novel of Nell Gwyn and King Charles II The French Mistress: A Novel of the Duchess of Portsmouth and King Charles II

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