Day 1051: The Bookman’s Tale

Cover for The Bookman's TaleIt was difficult for me to decide how much I liked The Bookman’s Tale. Parts of it were very interesting and just up my alley, while other parts of it struck me as unnecessary.

Peter Byerly is a young seller of antiquarian books. His beloved wife Amanda died unexpectedly, and since then, he has been taken over by grief. He has moved from the States to the cottage in the Cottswolds that they bought just before she died, because their previous home held too many memories.

Peter finally becomes interested in something when he finds a watercolor of a woman who looks like Amanda in a book in an antiquarian book shop. In trying to track down more information about the artist and his subject, he gets onto the track of a document that could be the holy grail for antiquarians—something that proves Shakespeare wrote his own plays. This document is in the form of the Pandosto, a play written by Robert Greene that formed the basis for Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. This play seems to have Shakespeare’s annotations in it. Later, there is a murder.

Periodically, we go back in time to trace the course of this document. We know there was a real Pandosto, because we see that a man lends it to Shakespeare with some trick in mind.

We also periodically look back to Peter and Amanda’s romance. Peter trains as a book restorer, so we learn something about this field, which I found fascinating. However, although I was interested in Peter and Amanda’s relationship at first, after a while I started to wonder why we were getting so much detail about it, since it didn’t have that much to do with the rest of the book.

So, a mixed review on this one. It has a good mystery about two feuding families and a lot of interesting detail about books, but the romantic storyline slows it down after a while.

Related Books

The Secret Life of William Shakespeare

The School of Night

The Forgotten Garden

 

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4 thoughts on “Day 1051: The Bookman’s Tale

  1. The Paperback Princess March 14, 2017 / 11:03 am

    Have you read his other one, First Impressions? I liked it way better than The Bookman’s Tale – which should totally have been right up my alley with all that book sleuthing.

    Still, I’m kind of looking forward to his new one, The Lost Book of the Grail. Not run-out-and-get-it-right-away looking forward but I will keep an eye out for it at the library or a book sale 😉

    • whatmeread March 14, 2017 / 11:17 am

      No, this is the only one I’ve read. Maybe I’ll try him again. It’s not like it was a bad book or anything.

      • The Paperback Princess March 14, 2017 / 11:24 am

        Not bad, but I know what you mean. Not one you’re shouting about to everyone you know!

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