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  1 BOOKMAN'S TALE: A NOVEL OF OBSESSION
Author: Lovett, Charles C.
 
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Class: Fiction
Age: Adult
Language: English
LC: PS3612
Print Run: 25000
ISBN-13: 9780670026470
LCCN: 2013001559
Imprint: Viking
Pub Date: 05/28/2013
Availability: Out of Print Confirmed
List: $27.95
  Hardcover
Physical Description: 352 pages ; 24 cm H 9.35", W 6.35", D 1.25", 1.25 lbs.
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's Insight Catalog: Adult
Brodart's TOP Adult Titles
Bibliographies: Fiction Core Collection, 17th ed.
Fiction Core Collection, 18th ed.
Fiction Core Collection, 19th ed.
Awards: Library Journal Best Books
Library Journal Starred Reviews
Starred Reviews: Library Journal
TIPS Subjects: Historical Fiction
Mystery/Detective Fiction
Romance
BISAC Subjects: FICTION / Romance / Historical / General
FICTION / Historical / General
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
LC Subjects: Americans, England, Fiction
Booksellers and bookselling, Fiction
Ghost stories
Mystery fiction
Shakespeare, William,, 1564-1616, Authorship, Fiction
Suspense fiction
Widowers, Fiction
SEARS Subjects: Adventure fiction
Americans, England, Fiction
Booksellers and bookselling, Fiction
Ghost stories
Mystery fiction
Shakespeare, William,, 1564-1616, Authorship, Fiction
Widowers, Fiction
Reading Programs:
 
Annotations
Brodart's TOP Adult Titles | 01/01/2013
The woman in the portrait looks so much like his dead wife. An antiquarian bookseller seeks answers from Shakespeare's day as he tries to puzzle out what this nineteenth-century portrait means, finding the truth of his past through lessons in forgery and communing with his late wife. Debut Novel, 368pp., 25K, Auth res: Winston-Salem, NC
Starred Reviews:
Library Journal | 04/15/2013
Peter Byerly cut himself off from the world to recover from the loss of his wife, Amanda, who died nine months ago. An American antiquarian bookseller now living in England, Peter returns to work and discovers, in an 18th-century book about Shakespeare forgeries, a Victorian miniature portrait of a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to his late wife. His research to identify the watercolor's origins uncovers what could be the holy grail of Shakespeare studies--a book annotated by the Bard at the time he was writing A Winter's Tale--and leads Peter on a dangerous quest to prove the book's authenticity. Interwoven throughout are flashbacks to Peter's early relationship with Amanda and chapters on the book's travels through many hands since 1592. VERDICT Drawing on debates about the authorship of Shakespeare's plays as well his own experience in the cutthroat world of antiquarian books, debut author Lovett has crafted a gripping literary mystery that is compulsively readable until the thrilling end. Recommended for fans of Geraldine Brooks's People of the Book, Shakespeare aficionados, and bibliophiles. [See Prepub Alert, 12/7/12.]. Katie Lawrence, Chicago. 368p. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2013.
Journal Reviews
Booklist | 05/15/2013
Antiquarian bookseller Peter Byerly immerses himself in his trade to overcome grief from the loss of his beloved wife a few months earlier. Now plying his trade in England's Cotswolds instead of the North Carolina site of his tragedy, Byerly happens across a small watercolor portrait of a woman who looks startlingly like his late wife. And so begins an obsessive hunt to find out the origins of this painting. Lovett shifts his narrative around in both time and setting, recounting the lovers' first meeting, in the library at a southern college, and the blossoming of their seemingly improbable love affair: he a bookish, repressed teen, and she an heiress. Byerly discovers the portrait's Victorian provenance, and then the author moves his story even further back, to the time of Shakespeare. Fans of mysteries, of love stories, and of rare books will all find moments in Lovett's novel to treasure. Knoblauch, Mark. 368p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
Kirkus Reviews | 04/15/2013
A pleasurably escapist trans-Atlantic mystery is intricately layered with plots, murders, feuds, romances, forgeries--and antiquarian book dealing. Lovett's engagingly traditional debut offers flavors of notable British antecedents--Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Noel Coward--while spinning tales in several different eras, all centered on the book that supposedly inspired Shakespeare's play A Winter's Tale. The novel's hero is insecure, grieving, widowed bookseller Peter Byerly, whose scholarship to Ridgefield University in North Carolina introduced him to his twin passions: his future wife, Amanda, and old books. Peter's wooing and winning of Amanda is one of the novel's three concurrent plot strands, the others (both set in the U.K.) being a here-and-now hunt and chase and a through-the-ages tracing of a volume of Pandosto, a play by Robert Greene which came to be annotated by Shakespeare and, if found and exposed in modern times, would answer an earth-shattering (to some) question of scholarship: Did Shakespeare really write his plays or not? Peter's discovery, in a bookshop, of a Victorian watercolor portrait seemingly of his dead wife sets this sizable ball rolling and leads through new female friendships, murder scenes and tombs to a pleasing-if-predictable country-house denouement. A cheerily old-fashioned entertainment. 368pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2013.
Library Journal Prepub Alert | 12/10/2012
Devastated by the death of his wife, Amanda, young antiquarian bookseller Peter Byerly has left North Carolina for England, where he picks up an interesting-looking tome on Shakespeare forgeries in a bookstore in Ham-on-Wye. Within its pages he discovers a small Victorian watercolor so resembling Amanda that he is compelled to track down its origins. Billed as romance but drawing comparison to A.S. Byatt's Possession, this should be great for real bibliophiles; note the reading group guide. 368p. LJ Prepub Alert Online Review. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2012.
Publishers Weekly | 04/29/2013
Lovett's debut is a century-spanning web of literary mystery that ensnares American Peter Byerly, a rare bookseller. Living abroad in the months after the death of his wife Amanda, Peter is mystified to discover a watercolor uncannily resembling her--especially since it's from the Victorian era. Vowing to learn more about the obscure artist--"B.B."--Peter stumbles into the argument about the authorship of Shakespeare's work, which might contain a link to the mysterious painter. "The mystery of the watercolor's origins felt deeply personal and Peter could already feel curiosity and grief melding into obsession." Lovett's novel skips in time to various periods in Peter's life, and even before it, extending as far back as 1592 when Shakespeare and his cohorts haunted taverns, and to 1879 when folios of his plays became prized possessions. As Peter continues his sleuthing, he finds himself a potential suspect in a murder investigation and a "hundred-and-thirty-year-old scandal" with "the most valuable relic in the history of English literature" at its core. Although the discussion of the provenance of Shakespeare's plays will appeal to bibliophiles, the frequent flashbacks to bygone days interrupt the narrative flow. In addition, the characters' dialogue, while full of passion for letters, is wooden and uninspired. Agent: David Gernert, the Gernert Agency. (June). 354p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2013.
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