Tuesday, January 28, 2014

6. The Bookman's Tale - Charlie Lovett

A Novel of Obsession
2013, Viking
354 pgs.
Adult HF and CRF (settings switch back and forth)
Finished 1/27/2014
Goodreads Rating: 3.77
My Rating: 5/ I really, really enjoyed this book - both story and writing
Settings in the book:  mostly Ridgefield, NC and Kingham, (The Cothswolds), England
1st sentence/s:  (Hay-on-Wye, Wales, Wednesday, February 15, 1995) "Wales could be cold in February.  Even without snow or wind the damp winter air permeated Peter''s topcoat and settled in is bones as he stood outside one of the dozens of bookshops that crowded the narrow streets of Hay.  Despite the warm glow in the window that illuminated a tantalizing display of Victorian novels, Peter was in no hurry to open the door.  It had been nine months since he had entered a bookshop; another few minutes wouldn't make a difference.  There had been a time when this was all so familiar, so safe; when stepping into a rare bookshop had been a moment of excitement, meeting a fellow book lover a part of a grand adventure."

My comments:  Yup, I really enjoyed this book.  I love the way it was written - in short chapters during three different time periods.The short chapters helped me totally remember what had been happening previously in each time period.  The story has a little bit of everything - mystery, history, the book world, mental health, forgery, the art world, a love story and a whole lot of really great storytelling. I want more!

Goodreads Review: 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 ofShadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt's Possession.
     Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.
     As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

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