A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles
Author: Gillian Bagwell
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…
The author of The September Queen explores Tudor England with the tale of Bess of Hardwick—the formidable four-time widowed Tudor dynast who became one of the most powerful women in the history of England. On her twelfth birthday, Bess of Hardwick receives the news that she is to be a waiting gentlewoman in the household of Lady Zouche. Armed with nothing but her razor-sharp wit and fetching looks, Bess is terrified of leaving home. But as her family has neither the money nor the connections to find her a good husband, she must go to facilitate her rise in society. When Bess arrives at the glamorous court of King Henry VIII, she is thrust into a treacherous world of politics and intrigue, a world she must quickly learn to navigate. The gruesome fates of Henry’s wives convince Bess that marrying is a dangerous business. Even so, she finds the courage to wed not once, but four times. Bess outlives one husband, then another, securing her status as a woman of property. But it is when she is widowed a third time that she is left with a large fortune and even larger decisions—discovering that, for a woman of substance, the power and the possibilities are endless . . .
Charles II is running for his life-and into the arms of a woman who will risk all for king and country. Jane Lane is of marrying age, but she longs for adventure. She has pushed every potential suitor away-even those who could provide everything for her. Then one day, adventure makes its way to her doorstep, and with it comes mortal danger... Royalists fighting to restore the crown to King Charles II implore Jane to help. Jane must transport him to safety, disguised as a manservant. As she places herself in harm's way, she finds herself falling in love with the gallant young Charles. And despite his reputation as a breaker of hearts, Jane finds herself surrendering to a passion that will change her life forever.
From the author of The Jewel of Medina, a moving and insightful novel based on the life of legendary performer and activist Josephine Baker, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and Hidden Figures. Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance. In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine's early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page. With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today.