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The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare [NOOK Book]

Overview

An inventive and vibrant historical novel about the woman who dared to be the equal of the Bard of Avon.

Dramatizing a marriage born of passion and strained by ambition, Arliss Ryan's fascinating historical novel chronicles a love affair for the ages, and the story of a woman who dares to fulfill her own surprising destiny.

Anne Hathaway is weighing her prospects for ...
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The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare

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Overview

An inventive and vibrant historical novel about the woman who dared to be the equal of the Bard of Avon.

Dramatizing a marriage born of passion and strained by ambition, Arliss Ryan's fascinating historical novel chronicles a love affair for the ages, and the story of a woman who dares to fulfill her own surprising destiny.

Anne Hathaway is weighing her prospects for marriage when a dalliance with young Will Shakespeare, the poetry-writing son of a rural glove- maker, leaves her pregnant and wed. When Will joins a traveling acting troupe and moves to London, Anne leaves their children in his parents' care and boldly follows him.

Taking up a new identity at Will's side, Anne supports his career as a struggling actor by sewing costumes and transcribing manuscripts in the rough-and-tumble world of London's theatres. As Will finds his true calling in writing, Anne's own literary skills begin to flower, leading to a secret collaboration that makes Will the foremost playwright in Elizabethan England.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ryan (The Kingsley House) posits a tantalizing what-if in this delightful novel: what if Anne Hathaway Shakespeare had been Shakespeare's silent writing partner? Ryan places Hathaway in the center of Elizabethan London, where she shines as an artist, has passionate affairs with Ben Jonson and Kit Marlowe, and secretly authors half of the most brilliant plays of the era. Hathaway is a strong character who-though she harps on the same issues throughout the book (a conflict over taking credit for her work versus being successful)-makes for an excellent narrator and a unique lens through which to view the familiar Elizabethan world. Granted, it's light on plot and slow to start, but the entertaining romp that follows makes those shortcomings easy to forgive.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101429686
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 480
  • File size: 743 KB

Meet the Author

Arliss Ryan is the author of two previous novels. She lives in St. Augustine, Florida.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A fantastic view of life in the theatre

    This extraordinary tale is based on a writer's aspirations; the obsession that an author feels to create characters and that perfect "line" that will last for generations to come. This is, of course, what Shakespeare accomplished.or did he?

    We begin with an old woman, lying on her death bed, ready to leave this world. By her bedside is her granddaughter, LizBeth, who seems to worship the woman. She, unlike most women of the time period, is not only well-versed, but her wisdom in all areas of life teaches the young child to be better than the average "housewife" that she's surely expected to become. A delivery is made to the small room; a package that contains the book of comedies, tragedies, histories, and sonnets that William Shakespeare had composed throughout his lifetime. Little do the women in the room know that this portfolio of fantastic writing will be referred to all the way into the futuristic world of 2010. As LizBeth begins to read to her grandmother, the older woman opens her mouth to finally tell the truth of the famous William Shakespeare and how, at twenty-six, she fell in love with the future "literary genius." Not only did she help him with his scribblings, but she finally confesses that she was actually the real author of more than a few of the unforgettable plays.

    Anne Hathaway was and is known as the woman Shakespeare HAD to marry. She lived in the small hamlet of Shottery - a mile west of Stratford-upon-Avon where the great writer was known to have hailed from. Anne was a wonder of a woman; she was extremely intelligent and imaginative, and refused to take the backseat that seemed to be the only "place" available for the female of the species in 1600's England. One day, she met a young man of eighteen who she'd not seen since he was just a boy during the magical time when Queen Elizabeth had come to town. During his youth, William's father was a well-respected citizen, but when Anne and Will meet up again, his family is now deep in debt, and he spends most of his time making gloves and leather goods - working for his father to re-establish the family name. Anne finds him still more than a little pompous, not to mention pampered and overly fond of himself, as they embark on a summer romance that turns into a lifetime of partnership and pain.

    This story is a fantastic view of life in the theatre, and one woman's struggle to maintain her family; her attempt to keep the love for her selfish husband; and, understand the remarkable stories that are piling up inside her own head. The history behind such tales as Much Ado about Nothing, Hamlet, Richard III, and others is beyond engrossing to read about. This author brings her abundance of research and well-written verse to her own audience, and literally transports readers back to the world of William Shakespeare, and the secrets that he left behind.

    Quill says: Applause is the ultimate aphrodisiac for any author. After reading this, you'll not only applaud Anne Shakespeare, but you'll also give Arliss Ryan a standing ovation for a job well done.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2010

    A PAGE TURNING SURPRISE.

    How on earth did I get 'hooked' on this novel? Well, one reason is that the story is about a very human relationship that I found gripping and another is that it is written in an Elizabethan style that puts the reader not only on the scene but at the time! I had to watch myself on the few occasions I had needed to put the book down to make sure I did not speak to someone as though I had just stepped out of the book. "No, I got my shirt wet from the hose,not from draping it over some puddle".
    If a hard boiled, cynical, jaded reader, like me loved this work it will wow those who have not yet reached my level of skepticism.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2010

    What if....

    The "Shakespeare authorship question" is widely diverse in claims yet "almost without exception, they [Elizabethan literary historians] were agreed: Shakespeare's marriage to Anne Hathaway was a youthful mistake in an otherwise glorious career." But, what if they are all wrong? What if Anne wasn't a "homely, coarse, illiterate, immoral country wench," but, instead, half of a duo that aimed to be the foremost writer in the Elizabethan patriarchal England? What if she were truly the most gifted of playwrights but the gender laws and perceptions of the times would never allow her work to see the light of day should she put her own name to her work. What if William Shakespeare was much more progressive than originally though and was able to recognize a talent in the privacy of his own marriage bed what he could never admit publically?

    Arliss Ryan's The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare attempts to answer these hypothetical questions. Anne, an older woman, is seduced into literacy and then into pregnancy by a young and impetuous William Shakespeare (a ne'er-do-well from a family striving to attain status after Queen Elizabeth's purge of Catholicism). Caught up the passion of their words and deeds, Anne turns up pregnant and forcibly married to Will. This marriage forced her to live with Will's family who blamed her for ruining their son's life. Three children later, Will abandons his family to chase his star in London. Shortly after, Anne follows Will to escape torment. Once in London, she takes up the guise of Will's younger sister (his idea), takes up a needle to sew for the theaters, and ultimately takes up the quill to be part of the creative entity known throughout history as William Shakespeare.

    Ryan creates an interesting alternative to what is commonly believed about William Shakespeare, Elizabethan England, and Anne Hathaway. The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare is a historical fiction that lends the reader to wonder if it is really that much of a fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2010

    Shakespeare rocks, Anne that is!

    I never would have thought there was little known about Anne, given the depth and quality of research on Shakespeare, his London and theatres that Arliss Ryan brings to this fantastic historical novel. I've spent many years studying Shakespeare and am quite familiar with the debate regarding who authored the plays. I find Ryan's offering believeable in every respect. I challenge readers, lovers, Shakespeare fans, to read the plays with Ryan's interpretation at hand. You will find them insightful and authentic. Pass this book on to every woman looking for her power, to everyone, male or female, who loves Shakespeare as living text! This book surpasses The Red Tent and the Other Boleyn Girl in revealing feminine will, power and strength!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2010

    A True Voice

    Anne Hathaway write Hamlet and King Lear? You've got to be kidding! As You Like It and The Tempest, maybe; but Othello and Macbeth, never! Yet in her third published novel, The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare, Arliss Ryan sets out to convince her readers that such a feat is not only possible, but plausible. And she succeeds admirably Granted her initial assumption that Anne is an intelligent woman, the rest follows with perfect logic. Abandoned in Stratford after her marriage to Will, Anne is obliged by circumstance to leave the children with his parents and join him in London, where she copies his manuscripts, sews costumes, and passes for his sister - a nice touch. Thus she learns the workings of the theater and the court; and when she starts to write, she has the best teachers - Kit Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and Will himself. Her marriage to Will is an on and off affair, which gives her material for her plays and time to write them. But since the work of a woman would be considered inferior, regardless of merit, she turns the plays over to Will, who presents them as his own. It all makes very good sense. Why does no one discover or suspect the truth? Someone does, but it's too late. Will's reputation is unassailable, and no one would believe her story. Not even Will. This novel portrays William Shakespeare as a first rate poet - the author of the sonnets - but a second rate playwright, who had a hand only in the Roman plays, the early and late histories, and the inferior comedies. Ryan strikes all the right notes. he novel is plausible not only in its arguments but, more importantly, in its voice. And who knows? Anne may be telling the truth.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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