Normally I don't enjoy the biographical novels of royalty (and women who shared beds with royalty) that have been so popular the last several years. But Susan Holloway Scott is one of the bloggers on Word Wenches, a group blog I enjoy, so I decided to at least give The King's Favorite (2008) a try. It tells the story of Nell Gwyn, the daughter of a prostitute who became a comic actress on the London stage and then a favorite mistress of Charles II in the late 17th century.
I think I liked it better than I normally like books of this type because so much of it follows Nell's rise to celebrity, and as such is set in the London world of theaters and bawdy houses rather than at court. I didn't know much about it, so it felt fresh and lively. Also, Nell is an appealing character--she doesn't spend a lot of time angsting or feeling guilty about her life, her choices, and her limitations. She's smart and witty, but she's also simple and straightforward.