Saturday, June 15, 2013
The Bookman's Tale
Publisher: Viking Adult
Date: May 28, 2013
How did I get this book? free Advance Reader's Copy from the publisher via ShelfAwareness for an honest review
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
GoodReads | Author | Publisher
When a review copy of this book arrived on my doorstop, I nearly shrieked in excitement. Bypassing many other books, I placed it on the very top of my To-Read pile and I am happy to say it most definitely earned that coveted spot.
Part literary mystery, part tragic love story, and part ode to the written word, this book was everything I hoped it would be and more. A still grieving Peter Byerly finds a Victorian portrait that looks strikingly like his late wife Amanda and sets off to a find out more about it's origins. Along the way, he ends up on the trail of an even bigger mystery -- the question of whether or not Shakespeare's plays were actually written by Shakespeare of Stratford, or if they were written by another writer under that name.
One of the things I really liked was how the narrative switched between different points in time. A lot of the book is told from the present as Peter is trying to solve the mystery, but other parts go all the way back to Shakespeare's time and trace through the centuries following the historical aspects of the story. Yet another thread of the narrative follows Peter's relationship with Amanda from when they first met. It was heartbreaking to know she would inevitably die, but their relationship was really something special. Peter has social anxiety, but Amanda brings out the best in him and they are truly a perfect match. The bond they share is so touching and beautifully written, I will not soon forget this pair.
In addition to the actual love story, this book is suffused with the love of books. If you are a book lover (as so many of us are), Peter will feel like a kindred spirit. I know this book has found a special place in my heart and I'm sure it will resonate with other lovers of the written word as well. I can't recommend it highly enough.
This book counts toward my reading goals for:
2013 Books About Books Challenge
2013 ARC Reading Challenge