Awhile ago, I read and reviewed The Royal Harlot by Susan Holloway Scott. She somehow found my review and responded to it. We emailed and she graciously sent me a copy of another one of her books, The King’s Favorite. She also sent me some really cool bookmarks for her upcoming book, The French Mistress.
Sometimes, I feel when I am reading an author, the books start to lose something after awhile. The author’s first novels are great and then it kind of peter outs. This is NOT the case here. In fact, I think Ms. Scott improves with each book she writes. I read Duchess – The Sarah Churchill Story last year sometime. While I enjoyed, I felt it dragged a little. The Royal Harlot kept me interested from beginning to end. Well, The King’s Favorite, I had trouble putting down. Maybe this had something to do with the main character of each book, but I definitely think Ms. Scott improved her story-telling with each subsequent one.
The King’s Favorite again takes place at King Charles II’s court. It starts after he has returned to the throne. The story is about Nell Gwyn, one of a few women who become famous upon the stage, and how she catches the King’s eye. From her early years of being poor, Nell Gwyn decides she wants to make something of herself (more than a prostitute, like her mother and sister), and she does. Nell is kept by a couple of different men before she “lands” the King. She doesn’t apologize for this and she is proud that she stays “loyal” to each man in turn. Eventually, she has two sons with the king and he “keeps” her for many years, most of which were difficult years of his rein.
I loved the story and how it was about a common woman who was strong enough to fight against the difficult position that women in this era were forced. It was a story of a strong woman who was seemed to be a generally “good” person trying hard instead of some spoiled nobility trying to better her family’s position. As you can tell, I love Nell, even with all her faults.
Again, Ms. Scott provides information about the history of the time period. I like to read about the history within the structure of a story as it adds something without being boring. I also enjoyed how “the royal harlot” made an appearance in this novel, too. When viewed from Nell’s eyes and not her own, I got a whole different picture of Lady Castlemaine.
Ms. Scott is a must-read author for me now. I can’t wait until her next book, The French Mistress, comes out in July. This one will be about another of King Charles II’s mistresses, Duchess of Portsmouth. This duchess did make several appearances in The King’s Favorite and I can’t wait to see the world through her eyes!