The Darling Strumpet
A Novel of Nell Gwynn
Berkley Pub Group (Sensation)
June 4, 2013
Available in: Paperback (reprint)
From London’s slums to its bawdy playhouses, The Darling Strumpet charts 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 Gwynn is born into poverty, and trades her mother’s treacherous grasp for the grim life of a prostitute at a precious young age. But before long she finds herself drawn to the theater, where she earns a place in the King’s Company.
As one of the first actresses in the newly opened playhouses, her talents and charms win the crowds’ affection—and the heart of her leading man. But when she catches the eye of the king himself, her life is transformed in ways she could never have imagined.
Surrendering her body and heart 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 was 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.