by Charlie Lovett
Pages: 369-US Hardback
Publisher: Viking Adult
Release Date: May 28, 2013
My Rating: 4/5
Book Summary: 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.
I am always a total sucker when it comes to any sort of historical fiction, especially a story that jumps back and forth between present time and the past. The Bookman's Tale did an absolutely fabulous job of doing just so...smoothly and in such a way that flowed with ease and such intrigue. You can tell that Mr. Lovett really did his homework, and researched every bit of information to make this fiction story so unbelievably.. well, believable. Whether it was the intense description of book binding, Victorian art, Shakespeare, or rare books, you felt your brain growing bigger by the page.
You really connect with our main character Peter, in such a way that towards the end of the book (MUST.KEEP.AWAY.SPOILERS!), i found myself weeping uncontrollably. And my god that has only happened to me on two other occasions from a story. That moment right there is what solidified that this was a great story indeed.
The only flaw i could possibly find, was that sometimes there was too many characters. You easily forgot about some when they were first introduced, and as they made appearances later on you couldn't remember who the hell they were or what significance they had.
I whole heartedly recommend this new release to ANYONE who loves books, and loves to collect books. It's fun, it's fast paced, and it truly kept me up until all hours of the night. I just HAD TO KNOW how the mystery wrapped itself up.