Publisher's Note:  

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 of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt's Possession.

Nine months after the death of his beloved wife Amanda left him shattered, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to outrun his grief and rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, he discovers a Victorian watercolor of a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Amanda.
Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins and braves a host of dangers to follow a trail of clues back across the centuries—all the way to Shakespeare’s time and a priceless literary artifact that could prove, once and for all, the truth about the Bard’s real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession

by Charlie Lovett

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Overall Review:  

Oh goodness. This book was amazingly satisfying to a booklover like me. The Bookman's Tale was a delightful journey through past and present, one that I didn't want to end. Of course, the title is intriguing in itself. A bookman? Seeing as how the main character sells books, the wording is very apropos, but since I am a librarian, does that make me a bookwoman? I think I like that as a job title. Anyway, the bookman in this book is named Peter Byerly, and he isn't just any old bookseller. No, he is a master of his craft. He knows books like I know the alphabet--backwards (almost) and forwards. Buying and selling books is like second nature to him. I want to be Peter Byerly when I grow up.


If all of this, the buying and selling of books, isn't enough to convince you to read this book, this next bit might. The place where Peter lives is in England and called Hay-on-wye. Now, if you are unfamiliar with this place (don't feel bad, I was too) then look it up. It looks like every book lovers dream to live there. England in itself is wonderful, but a town full of books? Doubly wonderful. Peter is lonely and trying to find his way through a life that has recently not been the kindest, and so buying up a cottage in England seems like just the thing to help heal his broken heart.


This book has chapters of present day (Peter's story) and the past (in William Shakespeare's day). I found I enjoyed the present day parts of this book more than the ones about the past, but I also felt that I learned quite a few things about William Shakespeare's life that I wouldn't have. If you are a history buff, I am sure you will find these chapters very interesting. I will definitely be looking for more from Charlie Lovett, and my guess is anyone who reads this book will be, too.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  4 religious exclamations; 6 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names; 1 anatomical term; 6 F-Word derivatives.

English use of "bloody" as a curse not tallied.


Violence/Gore:  A character's spouse is mentioned to have died; a character dies from lung cancer, a result of smoking cigars; a character is mentioned to have been stabbed to death; a character threatens people with a gun; a character is mentioned to have been found with a slit throat, some blood is described briefly; a beheading is mentioned with no detail.


Sex/Nudity:  Adults kiss; a man is mentioned to be "bedding" a woman; a character accused of adultery; a man has a mistress in addition to a wife; two minors are described to be having sex, no explicit detail is given; minors are mentioned to be unclothed and doing sex acts; a man is mentioned to have a "night of debauchery".

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, crime/illegal activity, marital infidelity, personal crises.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults drink casually; smoking is mentioned.

Reviewed By Lydia
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