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 historical novels.
Gillian is also the author of The Darling Strumpet.which I reviewed on Jaffareadstoo in September 2011
Don't you just love it when you find a new favourite author !!!
Happy Reading !