Image of The King's Favorite: A Novel of Nell Gwyn and King Charles II

THE KING'S FAVORITE

Image of The King's Favorite: A Novel of Nell Gwyn and King Charles II

As she did in her
previous biographical novel, Royal Harlot, Scott infuses history into a lively, readable biographical novel. Nell Gwyn's memoir
is a naughty, bawdy depiction of the
era through the eyes of the orange girl who became Charles II's favorite. Scott has found a heroine who lights up the pages with her sparkling wit, natural grit and sensuality. Her innocent
charm turns the tale into a highly appealing read.

Nell never said she was a lady, but she always claimed she'd rise from life in a Covent Garden bawdy house to become the king's mistress. At 13, she finds her first protector; at 14, she becomes an orange seller in the theater and catches the king's eye. In a short time she turns to the stage. It isn't just her beauty and auburn curls that captivate men; her sharp wit and love of laughter do as well.

But moving from the stage to Whitehall is dangerous. Nell has to navigate the intrigues caused by the political and religious factions in the palace. She must watch her back as those surrounding the king fight for power and Charles fights back. But she is always the one who lightens his heart. (NAL, Jul., 438 pp., $14.00)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin