The Darling Strumpet
A Novel of Nell Gwynn
January 4, 2011
Available in: Trade Size
A thrilling debut novel starring one of history’s most famous and beloved courtesans.
From London’s slums to its bawdy playhouses, The Darling Strumpet transports the reader to the tumultuous world of seventeenth-century England, charting the meteoric rise of the dazzling Nell Gwynn, who captivates the heart of King Charles II—and becomes one of the century’s most famous courtesans.
Witty and beautiful, Nell was born into poverty but is drawn into the enthralling world of the theater, where her saucy humor and sensuous charm earn her a place in the King’s Company. As one of the first actresses in the newly-opened playhouses, she catapults to fame, winning the affection of legions of fans—and the heart of the most powerful man in all of England, the King himself. Surrendering herself to Charles, Nell will be forced to maneuver the ruthless and shifting allegiances of the royal court—and discover a world of decadence and passion she never imagined possible.
Gillian Bagwell has had a life-long love of books, British history, and theatre, and united these passions in writing her first novel, The Darling Strumpet. She grew up in Berkeley, California, and began her professional life as an actress and moved from acting to directing and producing, founding The Pasadena Shakespeare Company in 1994, and producing thirty-seven productions over nine seasons.
Gillian began researching Nell Gwynn as the subject of one-woman show, but realized that such a brief format couldn’t do justice to the richness of Nell’s life, and started writing The Darling Strumpet while living in London in 2006. Her extensive background in theatre has enabled her to bring vividly to life the theatrical conditions and performances of Nell’s time. During the course of researching The Darling Strumpet, Gillian learned of the unbelievable true adventures of Jane Lane, the heroine of her second novel, The Royal Miracle.