Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.
The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.
And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whose life begins in the 16th century. Peter is charged with uncovering the truth behind the book's history ~ is it a real or is it a forgery? His discovery could answer the age-old question of Shakespeare's real identity.
I really enjoyed The Bookman's Tale and highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in rare books and the history of books. I will admit that anyone who is not interested in this subject may not be as enamored with the book as I was. But I expect that most of my readers would enjoy it.
My Rating: 5/5
Book Club Kit for The Bookman's Tale (PDF)
Read an excerpt of The Bookman's Tale
Read my review of First Impressions by Charlie Lovett
This review was written based on a copy of The Bookman's Tale that I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review includes Amazon Affiliate links.