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The Darling Strumpet

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,569 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
From her beginnings as a humble oyster seller, Nell Gwynn’s dazzling rise to fame has gone down in history. Step into the tumultuous world of Restoration England, and join Nell on her journey from courtesan, to famed actress to King’s mistress in a novel that is as captivating as Nelly herself.She sold her innocence…and captured the heart of a king.London, 1660Growing up i ...more
Kindle Edition, UK edition, 432 pages
Published August 4th 2011 by Avon (first published January 4th 2011)
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Nov 13, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the very few books I had to leave unfinished. The detailed descriptions of TEN-year-old Nell selling herself so she could buy herself some ribbons for her hair and something to eat just squicked me out. And then, she basically suffers a gang-rape at the hands of a group of boys who offered her money and then refused to pay.

Nell losing her virginity at such a young age may well be historically accurate. I know that girls were married young and that life was tough. But surely the au
I should warn you that Nell is my favorite historical figure and therefore I judge works on her quite harshly. With that being said, I still gave Gillian Bagwell’s “The Darling Strumpet” a fair shot and didn’t stop reading even when my eyes started rolling.

The harsh onslaught of graphic sexual encounters within the immediate first few pages is a bit hard to digest, even being aware of Nell’s lifestyle. This sort of introduction to those readers who may not familiar with Nell can cause distance
Mrs Giggles
Gillain Bagwell's debut effort The Darling Strumpet was first published in trade paperback format back in 2011. Hilariously enough - or maybe not, depending on how much you value your $7.99 - the mass market paperback that I have in my hands declares this story as "historical romance" on the spine. There is even a tagline on the gorgeous cover - "A novel of Nell Gwynn, who captured the heart of England and King Charles II" - to make it sound like this is the literary upgrade of an average romanc ...more
How have I not heard of Nell Gwynn before this? I recognized the names of most of her contemporaries, but somehow she has skated under my radar until now. Luckily I was able to snag the copy offered to Fiction Vixen and immerse myself in Nell’s life during the era of King Charles II.

The book opens in 1660 and a young Nell has finally tired of her life as an oyster girl. She’s decided to follow in her sister Rose’s footsteps and go to work at Madam Ross’s. I’m not clear on how old she is exactly,
Jan 04, 2011 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Misfit by: Moppet
This is not for me. Prostitute or no, I do not need that much detail to grasp what she had to do. Less is more.
Gillian Bagwell
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Since I wrote it, I must give it a good review! But in all fairness, others who have read it agree with me!
The Darling Strumpet opens in May 1660. As the restored King Charles II makes his official entry into London, the young Nell Gwynn is taking the first steps in a career which will take her from oyster seller, to prostitute, orange girl, actress, courtesan and finally to royal mistress. At this stage in her life, sex is a means to an end for Nell, but Gillian Bagwell conveys her sensual nature by describing her pleasure in eating a hot pie she buys after selling her virginity for sixpence.

I cannot praise this book enough. Bagwell took on quite a challenge. It is very difficult, in my estimation, to write a novel that covers an entire lifetime, albeit a short one like Nell Gwynn's. It's strange because I didn't perceive that I was becoming attached to the characters within the story until something happened to them and there I was, blubbering hysterically as if I knew them myself. I highly recommend this novel to not only lovers of historical novels but to anyone and everyone who ...more
Stephanie Dray
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-history
From the lovely cover to the vibrant characters inside, this book was delightful. I've read other books about Nell Gwynn, but this one was more personal and charming in every way. Bagwell creates (or recreates) a girl of enormous spirit who isn't sentimental about using her assets to get ahead in a world where the deck is stacked against her. I appreciated Nell's matter-of-factness about many of the deeds she performs and, really, about who she was. Well-written, imaginative and fun! This was a ...more
Two and a half stars.

I love this cover, I think it's gorgeous, the title is perfect and Gillian Bagwell is obviously well versed in the history of this period.

But I have to be honest, I wanted to love Nell and see the way all of England loved her. But I didn't feel England's love or anyone else's love.

The novel starts out strong enough when Nell, a poor oyster monger, decides to leave the home of her bitter and unloving mother for the whorehouse where her sister sells herself. Nell is a clever
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 11, 2015 04:37PM  
Thank you! 3 41 Nov 18, 2013 05:17PM  
  • The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II
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  • Mary of Carisbrooke: The Girl Who Would Not Betray Her King
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  • The Merry Monarch's Wife (Queens of England, #9)
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  • By Royal Decree (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #3)
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  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
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Gillian Bagwell's richly detailed historical novels bring to vivid life England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

"Venus in Winter" based on the first forty years of the life of the formidable four-times widowed dynast Bess of Hardwick, begins with Bess's introduction to the court of Henry VIII just as the king weds Anne of Cleves. Bess quickly learns to navigate the treacherous waters,
More about Gillian Bagwell...