To celebrate Stone Soup Shakespeare’s upcoming performance in Shorewood, this week’s #FridayReads will take a look at the Bard throughout our historical fiction collection. With little known facts about William Shakespeare’s life, why not make it up?
After his wife, Amanda, passes away Peter Byerly relocates from North Carolina to the English countryside. As an antiquarian and bookseller, Peter begins to collect and restore Shakespearian forgeries, but when a watercolor portrait of a woman slips out of a book, his research takes on a whole new path. Despite being 150 years old, the Victorian picture looks strikingly similar to his wife, and Peter sets out to find its origins. Shifting from past to present, The Bookman’s Tale looks at Peter and Amanda’s relationship while also exploring the authenticity of Shakespeare’s works. Part mystery and part love story, The Bookman’s Tale offers an intricate mixed-genre tale sure to keep you engaged.
Mistress Shakespeare begins with a marriage license between William Shakespeare and Anne Rosaline Whateley, not Anne Hathaway to whom Shakespeare would marry days later. Harper uses this mystery to tell another tale about the enigmatic poet and playwright, one of true love. Imagine Shakespeare and Anne Whateley as childhood friends with a budding romance cut short by a family feud. Spurned, Anne W. moves to London and throws herself into the family business. Fortunately, the two lovers reconnect when Shakespeare’s works start taking off in the city with the support of Anne W. who works eagerly to promote him. Offering another spin on the many theories of who is the “Dark Lady” of the sonnets, Mistress Shakespeare has a different take on Elizabethan England.
After the death of her husband, Katharine de L’Isle seeks refuge in her uncle’s home despite the family fighting and overall nuttiness. Katharine loses herself in a world of reading and intellectual pursuits until she becomes enchanted with William Shakespeare, her nephew’s new tutor. Part brazen and another part hypnotic, Shakespeare is a young poet, actor, and potential social climber that is getting a jump start on his writing career. Despite Katharine’s hesitations, the two become creative partners, working on the poem Venus and Adonis together when the sexual tension rises to an all-out affair. Part romance and part historical fiction, The Tutor paints a fun portrait of Shakespeare as well as Protestant England.