Review of The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger
Haeger captures the charm and character of Nell perfectly, even to the witty dialogue. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which moved along at a cracking pace. Charles is sympathetically portrayed although he is no more faithful to his adored Nell than to the gentle Queen Catherine. His weakness over women is all too evident, but also his undying loyalty to a barren wife.
Nell is not overly ambition, her only object initially being to survive, to feed herself and her sister Rose and escape the poverty of the East End. But she has the misfortune to fall in love with her royal protector. Haegar illustrates this tender love story superbly, showing how Nell copes with the dangers of tangling with royalty, the malice of the court ladies with whom she deals most shrewdly. She generously forgives Charles his peccadillos, his frequent neglect and betrayals. And despite the disappointments she meets along the way, you can see why the people of London loved her. The reader does too.