The Bookman's Tale

The Bookman's Tale

A Novel of Obsession

Book - 2013
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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 .

Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn't sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn't really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture's origins.

As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare's time, Peter communes with Amanda's spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.
Publisher: New York : Viking, c2013.
ISBN: 9780670026470
Branch Call Number: LOVETT C
Characteristics: 352 pages ; 24 cm.


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Sep 04, 2018

Loved this book. For anyone who likes a book about books, and a "is it or isn't it real" kind of mystery, this book is for you. Short chapters. Likeable characters. Great plot. What's not to like?

CRRL_MegRaymond Oct 21, 2017

Peter is heartbroken when his wife dies. When he finds a Victorian photo that looks like his wife, he is determined to find out more.

Jun 07, 2017

I loved this book. After reading Charlie Lovett’s other book “The Lost Book of the Grail“, I decided to subsequently read this. It’s a mystery tale of rare books, book collecting, forgery, Shakespeare, love, loss, heartbreak, and starting anew. What I love about this book is Lovett’s details about rare books. He really immerses you in that world and thus gets you excited about books and libraries. Lovett, a former antiquarian bookseller, is very knowledgeable about rare books and shares it with you as a friend would. I grew to care about the hero and bibliophile Peter Byerly. It’s a fun ride and a perfect summer read, especially for book lovers. I read it every free moment I had as it kept me on the edge of my seat. It’ll make you a book lover if you aren’t. And I’m now ready to read Lovett’s “First Impressions” and hope he writes more books. He is now my favorite author.

mrsgail5756 Jan 06, 2014

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

KateHillier Dec 26, 2013

Interesting and nostalgic in that it really made me miss my rare books class. Believe it or not I actually could have done without the flashbacks to Shakespearian past and beyond. Peter's education and marriage was much more interesting, as was his grief and rekindling of his passion for book preservation.

pcalabretta Dec 08, 2013

I greatly enjoyed this story - both because of the bibliophile aspect and for the history of Elizabethan England. I recommend this story.

Sep 06, 2013

As a lit major (many years ago) I enjoyed the fantasy of living the Shakespeare era and the parts revolving around rare books and book collecting. The romance was okay (as a former geek, I could relate) but the tidy ending was a bit too tidy. Enjoyable reading. Different than the usual fare out there.

Jul 13, 2013

I did not want to put this book down! The story starts with Peter, a young widower who is also an antiquarian bookseller, when he finds a watercolor portrait of a woman who looks just like his deceased wife. He basically had been subsisting and not taking any interest in living since her death, but this portrait inspires him to find out how her picture ended up in an old book. The story alternates between the present, Peter's past when he met his wife and their love story, and different points in history when a play written by Robert Greene and marked up and used by William Shakespeare to create "A Winter's Tale" comes to belong to various people. I really enjoyed this book!


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Jun 07, 2017

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