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Mistress Shakespeare by Karen Harper

Mistress Shakespeare

by Karen Harper

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2541745,069 (3.57)49
  1. 10
    Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meyer (joririchardson)
  2. 00
    Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady by Sally O'Reilly (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Who was the "dark lady" that inspired Shakespeare's famous sonnets? Each of these lush, romantic, and splendidly detailed historical novels explores that question in twisting tales of love, life, and courtly intrigue during the glory days of Queen Elizabeth I.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
This is a historical work of fiction about William Shakespeare's *other* Anne, based on an actual note in the official documented records, showing that the day before Shakespeare was to marry the pregnant Anne Hathaway, he filed for a marriage certificate (a *bond*) to Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton. Author Karen Harper uses this as her jumping off point to recreate the story, told in Whateley's voice, of her life as Shakespeare's muse. This is more than just a romantic novel, though. The story is filled with historical information, facts, details about life in those years: the politics of Elizabethan England, the conditions of daily living, the dread and devastation of the Plague, all interspersed with documented and known facts about Shakespeare's life, how and when he wrote his plays, etc. There are, of course, quotes from the plays and sonnets and much alluding to Whateley as his muse, his *Dark Lady*. I really did enjoy this book.

If I have one bone to pick, though, it is with the cover. Right from the beginning of the book, and mentioned several times throughout, was the fact that Anne Whateley is dark-haired, dark-complexioned. In fact, that is a significant piece of the story. Yet the cover shows a red-head, fair-skinned woman. Rather incongruous, I think. Who decides these things anyhow?
  jessibud2 | Sep 4, 2015 |
I loved this title and I normally hate cheating in books. This book made me root for Shakespeare and Anne Whateley to end up together, even though you know they probably won’t. The feelings I got when I read this book were similar to the feelings you get when you watch The Notebook or Titanic.

The novel tells of their childhood friendship that blossomed to love. They plan to marry in secret because their parents would not approve the match and then the monkey wrench of another woman pregnant kills everyone’s dreams.

It was such a sad story, but not only did I love this as a possible theory, I love the idea that Anne Whateley could have been Shakespeare’s muse and that his great works were inspired by his unending love for her. (Plus, Anne Hathaway is portrayed as quite the shrew; doesn’t help with getting me on her side.)

I just wanted to root for them every time there were together because they clearly belonged together, each line of a sonnet or play that they weren’t on together was more romantic and more magical, and each absence more heartbreaking. I could not put this book down.

There were some great plot twists, including a couple scenes with Shakespeare’s brother and even his daughter by Anne Hathaway. There is even a letter from his father to Anne Whaeley that brought me to tears. This book made me fall in love with Shakespeare all over again, and it’s historical fiction like this is why I’m in love with words. I would suggest this book to everyone, but don’t forget the tissues.

I will be checking out more from this author.
  jennladd | Nov 29, 2011 |
Oh, Will, you heartbreaker. ( )
  picardyrose | Apr 6, 2011 |
Mistress Shakespeare is the fictional story of William Shakespeare and his lifelong love affair with Anne Whateley--not his official wife, but his intended wife. Centered primarily on their relationship together, through many historical events and personal tragedies, successes and rifts of the heart, the book also describes how Shakespeare came to be the poet and playwright of fame and distinction. Author Karen Harper based her story on some actual events and created the rest imaginatively and believably from her own talent. I very much enjoyed the book. Harper's writing is straight forward with a subtle romantic undertone. Never too dramatic or sweet, her story illuminates one of historic England's most adored creative geniuses. A+ for effort, (her research was boundless and exacting)creativity, and charm. A genuinely satisfying read. ( )
1 vote dissed1 | Jun 12, 2010 |
The premise behind this book is the historical record that shows that an Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton was bethrothed and secretly married to William Shakespeare just the day before he was forced to marry the pregnant Anne Hathaway. This book then is her story. William and Anne were childhood friends who grew up together. The story moves from Stratford to London and tells of William's struggles to forge a career while at the same time keeping himself safe from Elizabeth 1's campaign to hunt down secret Catholics of whom he was rumoured to be a part.. Events such as the plague and the building and destroying of the Globe theatre are woven into this story. I liked the character of Anne. She was written as a strong and intelligent woman who was Shakespeare's partner in all areas of his life. As William began to spend more and more time in London with her and became more estranged from the other Anne she became in turn his friend, his lover and his helper with his writing. It was she who copied down the plays as he composed them. I did enjoy this book and the insight it gave into life in Elizaabethan times. It was a great historical romance. ( )
1 vote kiwifortyniner | Aug 20, 2009 |
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When I opened my door at mid-morn and saw the strange boy, I should have known something was wrong.
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Spanning half a century of Elizabethan and Jacobean history and sweeping from the lowest reaches of society to the royal court, this richly textured novel tells the real story of Shakespeare in love.

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