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Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger

The Perfect Royal Mistress: A Novel Genre: Historical

Copyright: 2007

Pages: 416

Rating: 4/5 Crowns

Book Synopsis: 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.


Book Review: This really is a remarkable Cinderella story from an amazing story-teller. To watch Nell start with absolutely nothing and rise to become the favourite of the royal mistresses to Charles II is incredible to say the least. I fell in love with this gutsy heroine for her attitude towards life and her ability to use humour to cope with the many difficulties she faced. We could certainly all do with a dose of that in our lives! What a refreshing character.

On the subject of being the King's mistress though, I do have to say that after finishing this book, I have come to the conclusion that Charles II was undoubtedly a man whore. There's just no pretty way to say it - he chased everything that moved and I wouldn't be surprised if what he really died from was a sexually transmitted disease. That man could not keep his hands to himself (and bravo to Diane for writing about it!) This is the second novel I’ve read about him and both authors certainly painted the same picture of him.

Having said that, the author really does illuminate the complexities of the King and (from what I know) stays true to what is known about him accurately. I really enjoyed the intricate natures of both the main characters and it is certainly a story I'd like to revisit again at some point. Diane Haeger really knows how to bring history to life and make it relevant to the modern reader. If you were morbidly fascinated by Henry VIII and want to read about another English King who pushed the envelope of propriety then you can't go past this book.


Giveaway Alert!

Diane's latest novel, The Queen's Mistake has just been released and to celebrate we are giving it away this month on Royal Reviews. Leave a comment telling us your favourite Diane Haeger book and be a follower and you could win a copy of this book. Winner will be announced on the Sunday Post, November 29.

Book Synopsis: From the author of The Secret Bride, the tragic tale of the fifth wife of Henry VIII…

When the young and beautiful Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of the fifty-year-old King Henry VIII, she seems to be on top of the world. Yet her reign is destined to be brief and heartbreaking, as she is forced to do battle with enemies far more powerful and calculating than she could have ever anticipated in a court where one wrong move could mean her undoing. Wanting only love, Catherine is compelled to deny her heart’s desire in favor of her family’s ambition. But in so doing, she unwittingly gives those who sought to bring her down a most effective weapon—her own romantic past.

The Queen’s Mistake is the tragic tale of one passionate and idealistic woman who struggles to negotiate the intrigue of the court and the yearnings of her heart.


Queen Signature
Visit Alaine at her blog The Queen of Happy Endings

37 comments:

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the great review.
I haven't read any of Diane Haeger's books yet. THE QUEEN'S MISTAKE sounds like a great read and the cover is intriguing & beautiful.
All the best,
RKCharron
xoxo
PS - Member here.
:)

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I don't have a favorite Haeger yet, but you can fix that! LOL
I think both of these sound wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway.

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

rubylovesadventure said...

Unfortunately I haven't read Diane Haeger books as well, but I'd definitely put her in my TBR list as historical fiction really is fab!

Is the contest international? If so, could you please enter me? I am a follower of your blog too.

rubs.escalona [at] gmail.com

lilly said...

What a shame! I haven't read any of Haeger's books yet but your review certainly convinced me to start.
I'd love to win the book.

lillyswistek[at]gmail[dot]com

(I am a follower)

Pam said...

I haven't yet read any of Haeger's books either but both of these sound like great reads!

I am a follower.

melacan at hotmail dot com

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

Daphne said...

I enjoyed Haegar's "Courtesan" (about Henri II of France and his long time mistress Diane de Poiters) and would love to win her latest.

cmdaphne(at)tds(dot)net

fredamans said...

I haven;t read any of her works, but figure this is a great place to start! I do love a Cinderella story!

Thank you for the entry.

freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

Elina said...

I haven't read any of her books yet but I've had Courtesan on my tbr pile for awhile now.

If it's international, please enter me!

crimson_haze@hotmal.com

exiledbyaccident said...

I have only read "The Perfect Royal Mistress" but I liked it, would love to read more of hers. If it's international I'd like to be included.

laraa.corona [at] gmail.com

Pricilla said...

I have read The Perfect Royal Mistress and I enjoyed it as well.
thank you
kaiminani@gmail.com

Michelle said...

I actually haven't read any of her books yet - they are all new. But I am totally loving the covers ;) Please count me in!!

mmillet at gmail dot com

buddyt said...

I am a Follower.

I hace the same problem as a lot of the other commenters, namely I haven't read any of Diane books as yet.

Please enter me in the giveaway and maybe I will get a chance to sample her work !

THanks

Carol.

Buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

alterlisa said...

As of yet I haven't read any of Diane Haeger's book's but I love historical fiction especially the Tudor era.
I am a follower of Royal Reviews

susan.byerly said...

I am like so many of the other commenters in that I have not read any of Diane Haeger's books yet. I have just recently gotten into historical fiction and love it. This would be a great book to win.

I am a follower.
susan.byerly@comcast.net

BellsforStacy said...

I LOVED The Secret Bride! Please enter me to win.

bellsforstacy[at]gmail[dot]com.

zquilts said...

Please count me in for a chance ! I would love to be able to fall into this book as soon as possible!
zquilts@centurytel.net

dor said...

Wow, what a great story. I haven't read any of Haeger's books but that will change.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Hey, I'm new and couldn't see if Canadians can enter...it is late though. If not , just delete thanks.

Mystica said...

I hope this is open for overseas viewers.

I am a follower.

Havent read any of Haeger's books (yet).


mystica123athotmaildotcom

Linda said...

I've only read one other book by Diane Haeger, The Secret Bride, about Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, which I enjoyed. I'd love to try another novel by this author.

I follow through Google Reader.

Wendy said...

My favorite of Diane's books is "The Ruby Ring". Such a lovely story!

Thank you for the entry!

I follow your blog & Twitter!

Wendy
wendysfictionaddiction(at)gmail(dot)com

allisonrocks said...

My favorite is The ruby ring.
I follow your blog.
Allison
hyperallison@gmail.com

Jenny Girl said...

No entry for me.

Just wanted to say excellent review. Man whore definitely sounds appropriate.

Sarah said...

I loved Diane Haeger's "Courtesan."

I follow your blog.

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah Emmerson

HODGEPODGESPV said...

oh, dear. i have no read any of her writings but would love to make this my first! i would love to read the perfect royal mistress or the queens mistake!

i am a follower.

spvaughan@yahoo.com

Beth (BBRB) said...

This would be my first by the author. I did just get a copy of The Queen's Mistake though.

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

MarionG said...

I'm a follower.polo-puppy-fluffyAThotmail *dot* com Courtesan is what I've read and I'd love to read another by this author. Cheers.

Barb said...

Sadly I have not read any of Ms. Heger's books yet. She is an author to be added to my author list. This book sounds like a great historical romance which I would very much like to read. Please enter me in the giveaway for The Queen's Mistake.

I am also a follower.

bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

tweezle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tweezle said...

I have never read any of Diane's books yet. The Queen's Mistake would be the first. It sounds like an excellent read!
I'm a follower of your blog.

Thank you for the chance.
jnbsmom(at)yahoo(dot)com

Aik said...

I have never read any of Diane's books yet. The Queen's Mistake would be a great start!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Crystal said...

Please enter me. Unfortunately I haven't read any of Diane's books yet, but she sounds like a wonderful author. I'm off to check out her other titles.

crystalfulcher(at)ec.rr.com

kingducky said...

Hey please add me into this.... book seems amazingg...... thanks for giving it away :) germaine.perera@gmail.com

Benita said...

I haven't read any of Diane's books either, but I've just become a follower via google friend connect. I thank you for the possibility.

bgcchs9at0yahoo(dot)com

Charleybrown said...

Just came across your blog today, looks great! I hadn't heard of this novel or author but it would be interesting to read more of Catherine!

Brenda said...

Actually I have not read any of Diane Haeger's books that I know of. I have read so many books I can't remember them all so I am trying to keep list now so I don't buy the same book twice.. Been there, done that.. This book has the historical link that I like and it sounds like a great read. I would be honored to win this. Thanks.

CherylS22 said...

Thank you for the review! I haven't read anything by Diane Haeger yet & would love the chance to read "The Queen's Mistake".

I follow ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com