Gillian Bagwell~~4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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The Darling Strumpet

Gillian Bagwell

Penguin

Trade Paperback

978‑0425238592

*****

 

Nell Gwynn was born into a lower class family in 1650 England.  Leaving an abusive home to go live with her sister when only 12, her life takes a turn--some would say for the worse, some would say for the better--as she becomes a prostitute.

She leaves that lifestyle to live with a lover, then becomes enthralled by a troupe of actors.  It is while in the company of the actors and becoming an actor herself that Nell's life changes drastically and this time, for the better.  King Charles II finds Nell irresistible, and she becomes very fond of the king and all that a relationship with him offers.

The Darling Strumpet (Strumpet: a humorous female prostitute or a promiscuous woman) is a book written for those who are not faint of heart.  The dialogue is accurate and bold when discussing sexual acts and the horrors of living in seventeenth‑century England.  However, the characters are well‑written; the story intriguing--Nell Gwynn was an actual person.  For this reason alone, it is hard to put the volume down.  I blushed, had to cover my eyes (the descriptions of England's prisons), chuckled and smiled.  It is a book worth reading if you are not shy.

Gillian Bagwell started her professional life as an actress and then moved to directing and producing, founding The Pasadena Shakespeare Company in 1994; she produced thirty‑seven productions over nine seasons. 

Marilyn Dalrymple

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