The Gentleman Poet: A Novel of Love, Danger, and Shakespeare's The Tempest

Overview

En route to the Americas in 1609, Elizabeth Persons, a young servant girl, sees her blinding headache as an ominous sign. Sure enough, a hurricane during the final leg of their journey tosses the ill-fated Sea Venture and its one hundred and fifty passengers and crew onto the dreaded shores of the Bermudas, the rumored home of evil spirits and dangerous natives. In the months that pass—time marked by grave hardship, mutiny, adventure, danger . . . and a blossoming love between Elizabeth and the wrecked ship's ...

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The Gentleman Poet

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Overview

En route to the Americas in 1609, Elizabeth Persons, a young servant girl, sees her blinding headache as an ominous sign. Sure enough, a hurricane during the final leg of their journey tosses the ill-fated Sea Venture and its one hundred and fifty passengers and crew onto the dreaded shores of the Bermudas, the rumored home of evil spirits and dangerous natives. In the months that pass—time marked by grave hardship, mutiny, adventure, danger . . . and a blossoming love between Elizabeth and the wrecked ship's young cook—she despairs of their ever being rescued. But she finds hope and strength in a remarkable new friendship, forming a fast bond with the Sea Venture's historian, a poet traveling under the name of William Strachey. But Will is more than he seems. To many back home in England, he is known by a different name: Shakespeare. And he sees in their great shared travails the makings of a magical, truly transcendent work of theater.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Johnson imagines a backstory for Shakespeare's The Tempest in this entertaining tale of mystery, romance, and shipwreck. Recently orphaned, Elizabeth signs on as servant to the crabby benefactress of the Virginia Company, sailing with her from London to the newly founded Jamestown Colony. A colossal tempest strands the passengers and crew near the Bermuda islands, rumored to be inhabited by spirits and cannibals, but upon going ashore they discover a tropical paradise. When the ship's cook falls ill, Elizabeth takes charge of feeding the castaways. Her experiments with native herbs and vegetables are such a hit that she is soon cooking up great feasts for the group. (Johnson includes some of her recipes--for dishes like oyster stew and baygrape jelly.) When Elizabeth gives cooking lessons to her swarthy fellow cook, a romance, encouraged by the pair's mysterious friend William Strachey, blossoms. After William creates a play for the amusement of those stranded, Elizabeth--cast as Miranda--begins to unravel his true identity, and the bond they develop changes the course of her life. Johnson may not be Shakespeare, but her tribute is nevertheless a well-crafted drama. (Sept.)
Daniel Stashower
“The Gentleman Poet” is the best kind of historical novel -- well researched, beautifully written and wildly entertaining.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061965319
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/7/2010
  • Pages: 319
  • Sales rank: 1,446,286
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

The author of more than forty published novels, Kathryn Johnson is an Agatha Award finalist and honoree of the American Library Association. She founded Write by You (www.writebyyou.com), an author's mentoring service, and teaches at the Writer's Center in Washington, D.C.

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