The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.
This is Shakespeare meets The Da Vinci Code. It follows the path of Peter Byerly, dealer in rare books. His wife has just died, and he has moved to England from America to help deal with the loss. He finds a portrait hidden in a rare book. The portrait, although it is over 100 years old, looks amazingly like his late wife. He is obsessed with finding out who the painter is, and who is in the picture. It also will lead him to a rare book which may or may not answer the question once and for all whether Shakespeare actually wrote his plays. The characters call this book "the Holy Grail", so you can see where The Da Vinci Code comparison comes in. The novel takes place in 3 different timelines. The first is present day (which, for this book is 1995). The second starts in 1983, when he meets his future wife, Amanda. (Don't worry, that's not a spoiler.) The third starts in Shakespeare's time and goes forward to the 1870s, and is about the book. The plot twists and turns as we see how the book came to be, who owned it, and how Peter and Amanda came to be married. One big difference between this and The Da Vinci Code is that the author freely admits that some of his elements are fiction. Normally, I don't like too many flashbacks, or jumping around from time to time. However, in this case it works. It actually pushes the story forward. I won't reveal the ending because of spoilers, but it does satisfy the readers. With the Great River Shakespeare Festival going on in Winona right now, this seemed especially appropriate. All in all, a good book. For more information on the Great River Shakespeare festival, go to http://www.grsf.org.
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