Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger

The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger
★★★★ 1/2

Setting: 1666 London, England during the English Restoration

Synopsis: The Perfect Royal Mistress was set during the reign of King Charles II who was most known for the considerable number of affairs and committed relationships that took place throughout his life. He also had a wife, Portuguese Queen Catherine of Braganza who unfortunately miscarried all of her pregnancies. King Charles II had a wondering eye which eventually landed on the quick-witted sharp tongued, Nell Gwynne.

Nell Gwynne was a young girl born into poverty and raised in a brothel. She was left to fend for herself once her sister Rose was imprisoned for stealing and her drunken mother was out prostituting. Nell refused to follow in her mother and sisters foot-steps; therefore, she took to selling oranges outside the newly reopened King’s Theater. After awhile, her quick wit and sarcastic humor elevates her from orange girl to the star actress of the King’s Theater.

It doesn’t take long for Nell to win the attention of all of London and even the King himself. She soon finds herself falling head over hills for King Charles II but she soon realizes that the more she tries to please the King and his friends the harder it is to remain herself. She’s constantly torn between the glamorous world with the King and the exhilarating life as the star of the theater. Nell doesn’t want to give up the King nor acting but she finds herself doing a balancing act between the two.

Review: The Perfect Royal Mistress was a breath of fresh air. This was my first encounter with King Charles II and despite all of his affairs I actually admire him as a King. He had to deal with his father’s, King Charles I, murder as a young boy, which greatly affected his adult life. Diane Haeger did a great job with setting the tone for the book. I found the characters to be well developed and well researched.

What I loved so much about this book was how descriptive it was for example the description of the King on pg. 12
“He wore official Garter robes, billowing ivory satin, crimson velvet sewn with gold thread, and tall lace cravat, and his long, muscled legs were crossed at the ankles. His hands played restlessly at the lion’s head fixtures on the arms of his throne…” I find that so beautifully well written that I could actually picture him sitting there on his throne.

This is defiantly a rags to riches, Cinderella kind of story that will keep your attention all the way till the end. I highly recommend this book and I will be looking forward to reading more of Diane Haeger’s work.

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