After the death of his wife, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from the States to the English countryside, where he hopes to rediscover the joys of life through his passion for collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens an eighteenth-century study on Shakespeare forgeries, he is shocked to find a Victorian portrait strikingly similar to his wife tumble out of its pages, and becomes obsessed with tracking down its origins. As he follows the trail back to the nineteenth century and then to Shakespeare's time, Peter learns the truth about his own past and unearths a book that might prove that Shakespeare was indeed the author of all his plays.
The Bookman's Tale is a story of ghosts and mysteries that will especially appeal to book lovers. The story begins in Hay on Wye on a cold February day in 1995. Recently widowed, Peter Byerly is just beginning to take small steps to rebuild his life after the loss of his beloved young wife Amanda. As he looks through an antique book, he comes across an artist's image of his wife - only this is clearly a Victorian image, painted long before Amanda was even born. The only identifying marks are the initials BB.
The author moves with ease back and forth from different time settings. We follow Peter in the modern day, we learn more about his wife Amanda, going back to their university days in the 1980s and then the reader is transported back to the sixteenth century - the time of Shakespeare.
This is, quite simply, a historical mystery for book lovers, but it is not simple in its writing. It is a very accomplished story, with layers of murder, feuding, romance and lots and lots of book dealing.
Charlie Lovett has captured the passion of booksellers in each of his characters and has created a gripping thriller for bibliophiles everywhere.
My thanks go to Alma Books for sending my copy for review. For more information about Alma Books and to read an interview with Charlie Lovett, please visit the Alma Books website
Charlie Lovett is a writer, teacher, and playwright, whose plays for children have been seen in more than
three thousand productions. He is a former antiquarian bookseller and an avid book collector. He and his wife split their time between Carolina, and Kingham, Oxfordshire, in England.
For more information about Charlie Lovett, visit his website www.charlielovett.com.
Visit his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter.