A thrilling debut vel 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 began her professional life in theater and united her lifelong love of books, British history, and the stage by writing The Darling Strumpet. Her second novel, The September Queen (U.K. title, The King's Mistress) recounts the perilous and romantic odyssey of Jane Lane, who risked her life to help the young Charles II escape after the disastrous Battle of Worcester in 1651. Venus in Winter is a sweeping and romantic novel of Bess of Hardwick, the formidable four-times widowed Tudor dynast who is the forebear of numerous noble lines including the current royal family of Britain.