Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, sweet and sprightly Ellen "Nell" Gwyn
impresses the theater’s proprietors with a wit and sparkle that belie her
youth and poverty. She quickly earns a place in the company, narrowly
avoiding the life of prostitution to which her sister has already succumbed.
As her roles evolve from supporting to starring, the scope of her life
broadens as well. Soon Ellen is dressed in the finest fashions, charming the
theatrical, literary, and royal luminaries of Restoration England. Ellen
grows up on the stage, experiencing first love and heartbreak and eventually
becoming the mistress of Charles II. Despite his reputation as a libertine,
Ellen wholly captures his heart—and he hers—but even the most powerful love
isn’t enough to stave off the gossip and bitter court politics that
accompany a royal romance. Telling the story through a collection of vibrant
seventeenth-century voices ranging from Ellen’s diary to playbills, letters,
gossip columns, and home remedies, Priya Parmar brings to life the story of
an endearing and delightful heroine.