About the Book:
About the Author:
Gillian Bagwell has had a life-long love of books, British history, and theatre, and united these passions in writing her first novel, The Darling Strumpet. She grew up in Berkeley, California, and began her professional life as an actress. She majored in theatre at the University of California at Berkeley, and then attended a year-long British professional acting training program, the Drama Studio London at Berkeley. She moved from acting to directing and producing, founding The Pasadena Shakespeare Company in 1994, and producing thirty-seven productions over nine seasons.
I love it when a book introduces me to a person or a piece of history that is brand new to me. When you stop to consider all that has gone past so little has really been recorded. And yet within that little there are still stories waiting to be told. Historical figures, famous in their lifetimes that are now lost to history’s back shelves because of more transcendent figures like Henry VIII or Catherine de Medici. But without some of these lessor known players history’s course might have changed greatly.
The September Queen tells the story of Jane Lane, a young woman who already 25 is unmarried. For this time period (1651) was almost unheard of. She is being courted but longs for adventure and boy does it find her! This book, while fiction is base deeply in the historical record. The life of Charles II and his escape from England and his restoration to the monarchy is probably one of the more documented events in English history.
Jane was going to visit a friend who was pregnant and about to deliver her baby. In order to travel any distance over 5 miles in the days of Cromwell’s rule a pass was required. Jane’s trip coincided with Charle’s advent to her home and need to escape. Her pass was for her and a manservant so Charles dressed in that role and off they went. History proves the escape successful since Charles did return as Charles II but this is Jane’s story, not Charles although the rogue does tend to run things.
Ms. Bagwell presumes that Jane and Charles became lovers during their flight. Given Charles’ reputation for sleeping with just about anything in a skirt there is probably some truth to it but there is no documented record of it. The love story rang true at the start but I do wonder at any man having that level of control over a woman for so many years and with so many other women along the way. The novelized Jane comes across as somewhat starry eyed and blindly in love with a man who really took away the best years of her life. She knows in her head that he is a pig but her heart won’t let go. Sorry Charles, you ARE a pig.
The book is well written and a good mix of history and fiction. These were very difficult times in England and one wrong word would get a person imprisoned. Jane had to flee her homeland and spent 9 years in exile for helping the king. For this her reward at his restoration was far less than he granted many others. I feel he truly wronged her in more ways than one. I was left with an overwhelming feeling of wanting to slap Charles’ face for the way he treated her.And being left with that kind of passion at the end of a book is a good thing if you ask me. It’s the kind of passion that sends me off to learn more about the people I’ve just “met.” I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of a woman famous in her time but mostly lost to history who, with undeniable courage helped to keep the monarchy alive in England.
Be sure to come back next week when I will have a guest post from author Gillian Bagwell and a giveaway for The September Queen.
You can buy The September Queen on Amazon.com
You can buy The Darling Strumpet on Amazon.com
Disclosure: I received a copy of The September Queen gratis from Penguin/Berkley Publishers. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.