The Sonnet Lover

The Sonnet Lover

by Carol Goodman
4.2 11


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The Sonnet Lover by Carol Goodman

For how thy memory has lingered on–
In spite of cruelest winter’s drear and howl–
By inner mirror seen; I’ve dwelled upon,
I must confess, my treachery most foul.

Did Shakespeare pen a series of passionate sonnets, unknown to modern scholarship, ardently praising a mysterious dark-haired beauty? This tantalizing question is raised in a letter to literature professor Rose Asher. But the letter’s author, Rose’s star pupil, is not telling. A troubled, enigmatic young man, he plunged to his death in front of the college’s entire faculty, an apparent suicide. Determined to find the truth, Rose journeys from New York to Italy, back to the magnificent Tuscan villa where as an undergraduate she first fell in love.

La Civetta is a dreamlike place, resplendent with the heady scent of lemon trees and the sunset’s ocher wash across its bricks and cobbles. Once there Rose finds her first love still in residence. Torn between her mission and her rekindled feelings, Rose becomes enmeshed in a treacherous tangle of secrets and scandal. A folio containing what some believe to be one of Shakespeare’s lost sonnets has vanished, and literary immortality awaits whoever finds the manuscript–as do a vast Italian estate and a Hollywood movie deal. Uncertain whom she can trust and where she can turn, Rose races against time and unseen enemies in a bid to find the missing masterpiece.

Lush, lyrical, and enthralling, The Sonnet Lover vividly brings to life the Tuscan countryside and the fascinating world of the Renaissance poets. Unmatched in her ability to evoke atmosphere and intrigue, Carol Goodman delivers her most ambitious and satisfying work to date, a seductive novel that skillfully propels its reader headlong to the final suspenseful page.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345479570
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/12/2007
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.35(w) x 9.45(h) x 1.25(d)

About the Author

Carol Goodman is the author of The Lake of Dead Languages, The Seduction of Water, The Drowning Tree, and The Ghost Orchid. The Seduction of Water won the 2003 Hammett Prize, and her other novels have been nominated for the Dublin/IMPAC Award and the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her fiction has been translated into eight languages. She teaches writing at the New School University in New York City.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Sonnet Lover 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like a lot
Jean Weidlich More than 1 year ago
Carol Goodman usually captivates me, but this one just didn't do it for me. I am, I admit, not a big lover of sonnets. I would have enjoyed it more had that not been the avenue that the characters needed to go down. I think this was a gift to her husband perhaps. I'm happy to wait for her next title.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this was so good. i read the majority of it in one sitting. it started off a little slow, but once Rose got to La Civetta i could not put the book down. i love all of Carol Goodmans books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book grabs you from page 1 and doesn't let go until the end. I truly admire Carol Goodman's ability to weave a story that effortlesly seems to flow while telling a haunting tale that keeps you guessing with every twist and turn. I can hardly wait until her next book.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Every once in a great while along comes a book that I don't want to finish, simply because of the letdown when it ends. There's so much enjoyment in the reading - lush and evocative descriptions, graceful prose, characters that spring to life from black printed lines, undercurrents of mystery, an imaginary bridge between today and years long past, plus romance. So much to savor! In Carol Goodman's hands there is often the deft turn of a phrase, a telling detail capturing both eye and mind. Or, one finds a described scene more vivid than a painting. An extraordinarily capable writer, this author blended all of the above into one remarkable book - The Sonnet Lover. The bare bones of the plot: Rose Asher is a literary professor at New York's fictional Hudson College. As she notes, 'The most thankless job on the planet may well be teaching Renaissance love poetry to a group of hormone-dazed adolescents.' Nevertheless, there are other perks - she is involved in a love affair with Mark Abrams, the college president, and she has a star pupil - Robin Weiss who has written a prize winning film. Sadly Robin's potential is not to be fulfilled as he falls to his death from a balcony following the interruption of a college party. Was it an accident, was he pushed? To try to answer these questions Rose agrees to return to La Civetta, a Tuscan estate near Florence which has been loaned to Hudson College as a teaching institution. She joins Mark, other faculty members, and possible producers of a film who believe that Robin may have discovered a sonnet written by Shakespeare's mysterious Dark Lady. This is quite a cast - from Mark who begins to act strangely to Mara, the wife of the head of the film department, an always acquisitive buyer who finds the beauty of Tuscany in Hermes scarves. Waiting at La Civetta is Bruno Brunelli, the first and greatest love of Rose's life. Waiting with him is his wife. As said earlier, these are the 'bare bones' of the plot. The reading pleasure is found in the way Goodman puts flesh on these bones. Sonnets woven throughout are by the author's husband, Lee Slonimsky. Granted, a pivotal meeting Rose 'chances' to overhear in the church of Santa Margherita and the denouement do seem a bit contrived. But an author who writes as engagingly as Goodman is forgiven all. As one who has never entered a bookstore she didn't love the overflow of books at our house falls into three categories: donations to libraries, loaners, and keepers. The Sonnet Lover is most definitely a keeper! - Gail Cooke
harstan More than 1 year ago
Two decades ago then student Goodman Rose Asher fell in love with Professor Bruno Brunelli while she attended seminars at La Civetta in Tuscany, Italy where he lectured. However, in spite of their heated tryst, he stayed with his wife while she will always have the memory of Italy.--------- Rose teaches Renaissance poetry at Hudson College when she is invited as a guest professor and movie advisor on a film based on the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets at La Civetta where Bruno still works. The script was written by Robin Weiss and includes a Shakespeare-like sonnet found in the archives that implies Ginevra de Laura, daughter of a master mosaic artist, was the Dark Lady. However, soon after Rose arrives, Robin dies in what appears to be either a tragic accident or a suicide the manuscript is missing. Rose refuses to accept her student killed himself while Bruno worries his son might be a killer.-------------- The plausible solution to who the Dark Lady is makes this an intriguing entry in the Rose Asher academic amateur sleuth mysteries (see the GHOST ORCHID). However, the myriad of subplots from college president Mark Abrams to investigating Robin's death and locating the missing sixteenth century manuscript that contains the sonnet to Bruno worrying about his son while considering renewing his romance with Rose somewhat makes the most intriguing element (the Dark Lady identification) not as front and centered as most readers will desire. Still THE SONNET LOVER is a well written whodunit with an intriguing possible resolution to a literary mystery.----------- Harriet Klausner