Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition
Release Date: May 27, 2014
A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller’s search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love
Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman’s Tale is a former bookseller’s sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature’s most tantalizing mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt's Possession.
Nine months after the death of his beloved wife Amanda left him shattered, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to outrun his grief and rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, he discovers a Victorian watercolor of a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Amanda.
Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins and braves a host of dangers to follow a trail of clues back across the centuries—all the way to Shakespeare’s time and a priceless literary artifact that could prove, once and for all, the truth about the Bard’s real identity.
Every now and then I am fortunate enough to encounter a novel that exceeds all expectations. The Bookman's Tale By Charlie Lovett is one such novel and is destined to be one of my favorite books read in 2014. Lovett has created not only a unique and fascinating Shakespearean mystery, but also a compassionate and intricately woven story of love, loss, and finding closure. The course of the novel travels graciously through three different time periods and tells three different stories that all lead to the present moment and Peter Byerly's future. Extremely well-developed characters, thorough pain-staking historical research, and great attention to detail, make this a literary gem to behold and a must for all book lovers and fans of Shakespeare alike. Not a Shakespearean scholar, you say? Not to worry...Charlie Lovett has presented a magnificent and easy to follow introduction to the Shakespearean controversy that is quite easy to follow and one that actually makes decades of debate much more understandable. I look forward to reading Lovett's next novel, First Impressions: Or, A Cautionary Tale of Pride and Prejudice which is sure to delight Jane Austen fans! I highly recommend The Bookman's Tale and easily give this FIVE stars!