Wow! Until I read this book, I knew there was controversy about the identity of Shakespeare. However, I always thought it was confined to Ben Jonson. I am not convinced by this book, but it does make for interesting reading. I would love to read more about the Shakespeare controversy!
In Smith's (A Citizen of the Country) compelling mystery/love story about a self-professed "hick from Vermont," window installer/Shakespeare scholar Joe Roper discovers evidence in a university archive that might refute the Bard's authorship of his hallowed canon. If Joe announces his find, it could make his career as a literary scholar-but it would also mean betraying his beloved mentor, Roland Goscimer, who's on the cusp of publishing part two of his long-awaited Shakespeare biography. Posy Gould, a flashy, aggressive Harvard student, who believes the Earl of Oxford is the author of the canon, jets with Joe to England to resolve the matter by sleuthing through libraries, graveyards, castles and stately homes-and, vicariously, through the glitter and duplicity of the Elizabethan stage and court. Smith, a Harvard Ph.D., knows academia can be as hazardous as cocktails with the Borgias and renders that world well, while making the Shakespeare authorship controversy as riveting as any film noir plot bursting with bodies. She's also a sharp yet economical stylist who can capture a character in a couple of sentences: "The woman in the doorway looked like Princess Diana, if Princess Diana had lived until fifty and worked real hard on the bulimia.... Silvia was goggle-eyed, with an asphalt road of eyeliner on each lid." This is a complex book about attachment and ambition, the clash of class and culture, with its settings-Boston and Britain-vividly drawn. It's a worthy addition to Smith's already impressive output.
an engaging novel, centered around the Shakespeare authorship controversy, but also containing interesting believable contemporary characters involved in intrigue of their own
This is a nice light read. I enjoyed the references to Shakespeare and reflecting on different locations I had visited in London.
A beautifully written, well researched and thought provoking page turner.
The characters were enjoyable and the subject matter fascinating. Clearly Sarah Smith cares deeply about Shakespeare and this is a great way for someone who is theoretically interested to get a feel for the life and times of England's best known author, as well as gain an appreciation for his craft - not to mention have some questions raised.
Read this and you'll be contemplating "the authorship question" for years to come.
Really fun read; similar proposition to Possessed; end somewhat petered off
Interesting book if you like Shakespeare and mysteries (even if you don't understand all of Shakespeare's writing.) Fascinating research and a historical captivating sense of possibility, and still maintains an ease of read.
Joe is a scholar, first in his family, eager to prove himself in the cutthroat world of academia. Posy is a spoiled little rich girl who has learned the fine art of manipulation from her daddy. Sarah Smith does an excellent job here in taking the reader through the grueling, time consuming, and often tedious process of researching the literary past. Although the plot does sometimes bog down in detail, some of which is a bit obscure for the average reader of Shakespeare or anyone else, it was fascinating to trace the development of a theory from beginning to, well, middle, not end. Posy's combination of Valley Girl and Friends-speak becomes annoying, but she is consistent, you have to give her that. Joe's sudden philosophical awakening at the end is interesting to watch, as he adapts to his disappointment and readjusts his sails. Will Cat and Joe become a couple? I'd love to be able to find out. Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare? We may never know for sure, but I'd love to be able to find that out even more.
It wasn't bad. and the end really picked up. i guess i'm just a purist and want to let shakespeare be shakespeare.