Customer Reviews for

Mistress Shakespeare

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 18 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I, Will, Always Love You!

    George Santayana warned leaders and citizens alike, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Karen Harper's Will Shakespeare goes one step further with a quote that deeply resonates throughout this novel narrated by his "real" wife, Anne Whateley, "The past is prologue. All is true." <BR/><BR/>Beginning with a youthful romance and secret wedding, Anne records her love/hate relationship with Will as he struggles to escape the glove-maker trade and become a poet/playwright in a world that sharply degrades and damns the latter trade. But creativity and love are the the true prologue that unites Will and Anne through multiple tragedies such as the suicide death of a beloved friend, Kat, over lost love; the death of Anne's father; Will's forced, loveless marriage to Anne Hathaway; and far too numerous other family member deaths. <BR/><BR/>Readers will enter the world of Queen Elizabeth I, the Gloriana monarch revered by Anne but mistrusted by Will. For it is widely believed that the Queen's Players, the dramatists Thomas Kyd, Ben Jonson, John Lyly, George Peele and especially Christopher Marlowe are perhaps spies for the monarch in one way or another. Still their talent places them in the forefront of Will's competition as he slowly but surely earns his fame as poet and playwright in his own right. The Earl of Southampton becomes Will's patron through Anne's mediation, a relationship that becomes a liability when the Earl's relationship connects him to the political rebellion led by the Earl of Essex. <BR/><BR/>These glorious pages teem with the creative process Will and Anne share in writing and producing Will's famous plays, beginning with Love's Labour's Lost, written for Anne, a tribute and tragic look at their relationship. Friends are innumerable who help Will obtain the monies he needs to begin his literary career which flourishes. Anne and Will survive the devastating Black Plague and the treachery of former friends and foes.<BR/><BR/>The tension never lags in this most tempestuous relationship fraught with fear of discovery and jealousy, the conflicts a catalyst for even more vibrant, vivacious plays and poetry that thrill and entrance theatre-lovers from the Queen and subsequent King James to the majority of common English citizens.<BR/><BR/>Yes, history is prologue, building and forging historical and personal relationships that endure because of Will and Anne Whateley's writing, a searing sword piercing every thought, word and deed to expose the truth defining the essence of human beings. <BR/><BR/>Mistress Shakespeare is a beautiful, well-plotted, intricately characterized novel that will become a classic for sure of superb historical fiction! <BR/><BR/>Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on February 16, 2009

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This is an intriguing biographical fiction

    Anne Whatley and William Shakespeare have been friends since childhood. On 27 November 1582 a marriage license in Latin between Anne Whateley and Wm Shaxpere is issued in nearby Worcester, England. However, their respective families object to their relationship. A few days later William Shakespeare and pregnant Anne Hathaway wed.<BR/><BR/>To escape from the reminders of her broken heart Anne flees to London. She occupies her mind with the family business. When Will comes to town, they meet up with both still attracted to one another, but he is a married man. Still Anne becomes Will¿s ardent advocate of his work and though their departures are sweet sorrows their reunions are passionate.<BR/><BR/>This is an intriguing biographical fiction that indirectly looks at Shakespeare¿s life through Anne Whatley¿s lens by combining fact and what if fiction. The story line provides a focus on the Elizabethan Era especially from the viewpoint of artists and their patrons. Although the romantic plot lacks suspense as there is only so much poetic license an author can take to fill gaps and reach the known end, fans will enjoy this solid glimpse into Shakespeare in love.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Hard to put down

    Wonderful and intriging, cant wait to start my next Karen Harper novel

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  • Posted September 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    TEPID

    What could've been a smoldering story of love, betrayal, religious and political strife in Elizabethan England just turned out to be a tepid book on the "wronged" mistress of William Shakespeare. Making Anne Hathaway an awful wife didn't endear me to "talented" and beautiful Anne Whateley. The glamorization of adultery, by painting the wife with hideous colors and by trying to convince us that the other woman is more deserving, has never worked for me. And I found it particularly irksome in this novel. It's not such a bad book, but it's not good either. Get it if it's on sale and you'll pay less than you would for a magazine. That's why I didn't regret buying it because it was really cheap.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Inspiring! What love story!

    I thoroughly loved this book. I've read lots of historical fiction and it goes without saying that some authors are better than others in creating a plausible and exciting story around a few known facts. It's my first reading of this authors work and with so few reviews i knew i was taking a risk but bought it anyway because i love reading stories about this period in history and more importantly, it was on the bargain page and I have no regrets! Mistress Shakespear has not only inspired me to read other books by her it has inspired me to dig up my Shakespear plays and try again to read them. The love story she imagines between Will and Anne is believable in that it was at times romantic and loving and at other times frustrating and impossible. The pacing is good there is plenty of suspense and i just loved it! I read it three days despite having to work. If I'd started it Sunday morning I'd have easily finished it by dinnertime.

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  • Posted July 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    not a compelling read

    Wanted to love this book as I love Shakespeare's works and anything describing Elizabethian times. And historical fiction usually intrigues me. i.e., Even if the writing is not the best, I'll still finish usually finish a historical fiction novel because I want to know how the author envisioned this "filling in" of the blanks or "alternate" universe. However, other than a few "gems" of insight every so often, I couldn't get into this particular story, even though the premise is one I usually love, and ended up putting it down in favor of another on my e-bookshelf. Maybe I'll try to finish it later....

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  • Posted April 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read! Never pictured Shakespeare in that light!! Wish I read this book before reading his works in high school..

    I would suggest this read before you start to read his works..I would think you would enjoy and understand his style and art form allot easier than just jumping into "Shakespeare".. Very good book and very enjoyable...

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    Posted May 20, 2010

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    Posted November 3, 2008

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    Posted October 30, 2009

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    Posted April 14, 2010

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    Posted February 10, 2009

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    Posted August 29, 2010

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    Posted January 8, 2010

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    Posted November 29, 2009

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    Posted August 26, 2010

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    Posted July 29, 2011

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    Posted April 9, 2010

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    Posted October 26, 2010

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    Posted January 11, 2010

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