Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Bookman's Tale

The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett definitely will appeal to bibliophiles.

A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller’s search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love. 

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.

One of the main focus of this book is the mystery behind Shakespeare’s plays, and the long standing question of whether the plays were truly written by the legendary man from Stratford-on-Avon. I am always fascinated by the speculation that Shakespeare might be a fraud. I find it is kind of romantic with some twists and turns to the facts or official beliefs of history.

It also covers book forgeries, art forgeries and certain details on authentication and restoration of old and rare books which is fascinating to me.

One day, I may as well look for books on the few famous forgers such as William Henry Ireland, John Payne Collier, and Mark Hofmann, to learn a trick or two how they do the forgeries.

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