Thursday, April 19, 2012
About the book:
For centuries, readers have debated the identity of the mysterious Dark Lady in William Shakespeare’s sonnets. Emilia Bassano—lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth and one of the first women poets in England—could be the answer.
Emilia Bassano is one of the most dazzling ladies at court when she meets the little-known playwright William Shakespeare, and despite everything, they fall in love. But the course of true love never did run smooth, and the Virgin Queen does not take lightly to her ladies straying. These star-crossed lovers must fight for their love—and, eventually, their lives.
From the plague-ridden streets of London to the throne room of Greenwich Court to the stage of the Globe Theater, Shakespeare’s Lady explores grace, forgiveness, and forbidden love between the greatest poet the world has ever known and the woman who inspired him.
Loved, loved, loved this book on so many levels. I kept thinking about how deep and emotional -- not to mention edgy -- this book was for an inspirational book. The author's voice was superb and very distinct. I appreciated how the novel was written in the first person point of view because it gave me a deeper connection to the heroine. I was in awe of how the author kept my mind engaged in that time period and how she had me worried about many of the characters. You could sense how trapped the heroine felt and how obligated she was to serve the queen and be the best she could, but how that also meant she had to do whatever the queen desired of her no matter how painful or offensive that might be. I cannot imagine having to be a mistress to an old man. I pitied her situation.
I think what I loved best about this story, though, was how true to the era and the times that the author was in regards to her storytelling. She didn't try to sanitize the emotion and the conflict to make it a gentler book. Her characterization was powerful because it felt realistic and Emilia's thoughts and actions seemed genuine. The heroine was so conflicted about her life and what she was doing, yet she yearned for more, then lost it all in the end anyway. This was a powerful tale of love longed for, found, then lost. I truly understood the character's conflict because her character was so well written that you could feel her humanity and her pain.
I also found a lot of the wording quite poetic and lyrical in style. In fact, I found myself reading a number of phrases out loud to a friend because they evoked such imagery and emotion. The descriptions and foreshadowing were well done, too. I am a huge fan of the Elizabethan period in English history and because of that, this book was a real treat for me. I appreciated the author's artistic license in giving a name and a face to the character who may have inspired Shakespeare's emotionally evocative and dark sonnets. The author posted a number of them at the end of the book and I could see after reading the sonnets how the author might conclude that Emilia Bassano could have been his inspiration.
I never read a book twice, but this is one book that would inspire me to do so. It was beautifully written and a solid story. Because of the first person point of view, I was in the head of Emilia for the entire story and I lived in her shoes. What was so incredible to me was how well the author described so many things that a married woman might experience despite the author's young age. I can't remember a time when I enjoyed a historical novel written in first person point of view more. I wish more Christian publishers would publish this type of realistic fiction. I highly recommend Shakespeare's Lady, and because it was so well-written it's making my favorites list for 2012.
Shakespeare's Lady was published by Guideposts and released in April 2012.