My Friday recommended read this week
The King's Mistress
At the start of The King’s Mistress, England is without a
monarch. The heir to throne, Charles Stuart, has attempted, with the help of
the Scottish army, to regain his rightful crown, but after the ill-fated battle
of Worcester in 1651, and with the wrath of Oliver Cromwell’s parliamentarians
at his back, he has no choice but to flee his beloved country. From the
relative safely of her rural landscape, twenty five year old Jane Lane longs
for adventure. When her family are approached to help Charles escape to the
coast, Jane grasps this opportunity regardless of personal danger. Disguised as
Jane’s manservant, Charles and Jane travel from rural Stafford, to the south
coast of England.
In The King’s Mistress, Gillian Bagwell has cleverly combined
her impeccable research with fiction, and has produced a thoroughly enjoyable
account of the passionate relationship between Charles Stuart and Jane Lane,
which was forged in danger, but restricted by protocol. Very little is known
about the true nature of the relationship between Jane Lane and the future King
Charles II. However, it is without doubt that Charles Stuart owes much to her
bravery and tenacity.
It is utterly refreshing to read an historical adventure
which features Charles Stuart in the interregnum years before his restoration. All
too often we see him portrayed as the seductive ‘merry monarch’, whilst paying
scant attention to the time he spent as a penniless exile wandering the courts
of Europe. It is intriguing to imagine just how the exiled years away from
England shaped him as a future monarch. As we have come to expect, Charles’
penchant for delectable ladies is quite obvious, his sexual allure is without
question, and yet his relationship with Jane is revealed as both tender, and
passionate in equal measure. Jane is portrayed as a spirited and likeable young
woman, and although she’s rather naive at times, you never doubt her capacity
to endure whatever fate throws at her.
What I love about Gillian Bagwell’s writing is her fine
attention to detail, and her ability to create an utterly believable story,
whilst still keeping within the boundaries of credibility. She has taken a
little known English heroine, and has produced a wonderful story of bravery,
danger and passion.
From the opening page I was immersed in the story of Jane
and Charles, and felt quite sad when the book ended.
I am confident that TheKing’s Mistress will appeal to those readers who enjoy books by Anne O'Brien, Philippa Gregory, Emma Campion,
Vanora Bennett and Christie Dickason.
I look forward to reading more of Gillian’s intuitive
Don't you just love it when you find a new favourite author !!!
Happy Reading !