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Royal Harlot

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  1,525 Ratings  ·  91 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 th
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
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Rio (Lynne)
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
If we are meant to see Barbara Palmer as a villain, a seductress, and a very unapologetic and ruthless one at that, the author has done so and done so well. I can't help but balance the two views of her: the feminist "let her sleep with how many men she wants and can we stop slut shaming four centuries later?" with the "holy Hannah how many men did this women sleep with?" This women would do anything for advancement and for the care and wellbeing of her own children, and my word, was this an int ...more
Jun 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, england
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
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Renae Pérez
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
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
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: royalty
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.
This book is very well written - so much that I started to feel sympathy for this character, who was really an awful human being in real life. Can it be too well written? I'd say that it was quite slow to start out with - I started the book multiple times, and the end was a bit vague as to why the Countess really stopped being the official bed warmer, but such is life.
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:
Apr 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bev Hitchins
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan Holloway Scott writes a good book. The story moves quickly and the reading is easy. Her extensive research introduced me to historical characters I did not know. As distancing as royalty can be to the commoner, she showed how human they can be. I wasn't keen on the intrigues that go on among the players in the royal English court of the 1660s, but it shed light on what it must be like today.
This was very enjoyable! The main character was portrayed as a strong and complex female making her own way in the world. The limited options available to her gaining power and her precarious position made her story grab me. The frank exploration of sexuality and female empowerment through it was also interesting. Overall, an engaging historical fiction novel.
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
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
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
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
Robyn Markow
Wow! I'm really getting hooked on these books. What can I say The Countess of Castlemaine (aka Barbara Villiers-Palmer) She WAS a Harlot (and not a very charming one either.) She was selfish,materialistic and just a Be-A-tch. However, it was fun to read about the decadence,beautiful gowns,gossip & the "Merry Monarch" himself, Charles the II (who was a nice guy especially compared to Henry "chop-chop" The VIII) Also,Holloway-Scott writes like people probably spoke back then,without it soundin ...more
This book is about Barbara Villiers Palmer which is someone I have never heard of or read anything about. This is set during the reign of Charles 2nd which is a period I don't usually read about. I felt this book portrayed the life of Barbara very well and what life at court was like.

We get to see what Barbara is like and she is a very selfish and arrogant and not someone that we like. Throughout the book, everything that she does is to improve her life and she doesn't care about anyone else. S
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kate Lawrence
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 14, 2015 01:13PM  
  • The Perfect Royal Mistress
  • The King's Touch
  • The Merry Monarch's Wife (Queens of England, #9)
  • The Darling Strumpet
  • Mary of Carisbrooke: The Girl Who Would Not Betray Her King
  • Pale Rose of England: A Novel of the Tudors
  • Dark Angels (Tamworth Saga #1)
  • Plain Jane
  • The King's Mistress
  • The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou
  • Mistress of the Sun
  • The King's Daughter
  • The Uncrowned Queen (War of the Roses, #3)
  • The Queen's Pawn
  • Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King
  • Mistress of the Revolution
Aka Miranda Jarrett
Aka Isabella Bradford

Susan Holloway Scott is the author of over fifty historical novels and historical romances. Writing under several pen names, she has received numerous awards and honors for her bestselling books. With more than three million copies of her books in print, she has been published in nineteen foreign countries around the world and translated into fourteen differ
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