Born into poverty and raised in a brothel, Nell Gwynne sells oranges in the pit
at London’s King’s Theater, newly reopened after the plague and the Great
Fire devastated the city. Soon, her quick sense of humor and natural charm
get her noticed by those who have the means to make her life easier. But the street-smart Nell knows a woman doesn’t get ahead by selling her body. Through talent, charm, intelligence, and sheer determination—as well as a keen understanding of how the world operates—Nell works her way out of the pit and onto the stage to become the leading comedic actress of the day. Her skills and beauty quickly win the attention of all of London—eventually even catching the eye of King Charles II. Their attraction is as real as it is unlikely, and the scrappy orange girl with the pretty face and the quick wit soon finds herself plunged into the
confusing and dangerous world of the court, where she learns there are few she can trust—and many whom she cannot turn her back on.
From the gritty streets of seventeenth-century London, to the backstage glamour of its theaters, to the glittering court of Charles II, The Perfect Royal Mistress is a love story for the ages, the rags-to-riches tale of a truly remarkable heroine.
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|Title of eBook: The Perfect Royal Mistress|
|Release Date: 02-27-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||The Perfect Royal...|
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The Perfect Royal Mistress
London, September 1666
Four days after the blaze began, consuming half of London and cutting a wide swath from Tower Hill to Fetter Lane, Nell stepped cautiously through the doorway of the tavern into the harsh light of day. For a moment, she lingered on the stone landing that jutted into Lewkenor Lane before stepping down into the tangle of lost souls, prostitutes, piles of garbage, and animal dung, so overpowering that her eyes watered. The canopy of sky remained gray with smoke and obscured the sun. A rash of smaller fires still blazed as the odor of charred wood and burned pitch mixed with the putrid stench of decay. It blew across the city, and would not let go.
The flames had spread as far as Fish Street, and the Thames. The wide, serpentine river, normally dotted with thousands of decorated barges and boats with billowing sails, was still thick with debris and a heavy layer of soot. The ravages of the fire had spared the Cock & Pye, where she rented a garret beneath the eaves, as well as the other timbered and gabled houses around that end of Drury Lane. But the ashes, smuts, and little burned bits of paper still rained down upon the city. They were like feathers, she thought, until they landed, marking everything a desolate gray.
Beneath her feet was a carpet of the same ash, dung, and soot that the wind had carried. Many Londoners, in one devastating evening, and the four days which followed, had lost every worldly good. It seemed unfair that a city should suffer such devastation after the ravaging plague of only a year before. But that was not her problem, then or now. Survival was. She tried not to look at the still smoldering ruins,