MISTRESS NELL by F. W. Kenyon

MISTRESS NELL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A lively, bawdy biographical novel based on the life story of Nell Gwynne, one of Charles 's mistresses, and the one whose name and fame (?) have come down in history. Slum born, her father unknown, her mother running a cheap whore house, Nell seemed destined to be a cheap tort. But she had more wit than wisdom -- great beauty and charm- and an ability to take care of herself that cushioned her life to the end. An ambition to get into the theatre found an opening wedge as orange girl at the Duke's Theatre; later she won considerable approbation for her humorous playing of bit parts. She accepted with no compunctions the fact that there was a price to pay for every advance, and was mistress to a succession of Charleses, up to the bedroom of the king himself- a role she shared with others. There was one period, when the theatres closed- she carned a livelihood for her one time manager on her back. In the dark to be sure, but the story was eventually known, her bruited abroad. This is a no-holds-barred intimate portrait of a period, of the court of Charles II, of the sex life of the rich and powerful. Nell played politics but in the main she was a kind-hearted, generous-spirited human being. And her study as recounted on her deathbed to a secretary who was alternately shocked and entertained, will shock and entertain readers who like their Forever Ambers caparisoned as history and biography.

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 1961
Publisher: Appleton-Century-Crofts