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The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession - Discover the Secrets of Shakespeare and His Forgers in EPUB or PDF Format



Outline of the article --- H1: The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession - A Review H2: Introduction - What is the book about? - Who is the author? - What are the main themes and genres? H2: Plot summary - How does the story begin? - What are the three timelines and how do they connect? - What is the mystery of the portrait and the Shakespeare manuscript? - How does the story end? H2: Characters analysis - Who is Peter Byerly and what is his background? - Who is Amanda Ridgefield and how does she influence Peter? - Who are the other characters and what are their roles? H2: Literary analysis - How does the author use historical facts and fiction? - How does the author explore the themes of obsession, grief, love, and identity? - How does the author portray the world of books and book collectors? - How does the author use literary devices such as foreshadowing, irony, symbolism, and intertextuality? H2: Critical reception - What are some of the positive and negative reviews of the book? - What are some of the common praises and criticisms of the book? - How does the book compare to other works by the same author or in the same genre? H2: Conclusion - What are the main takeaways from the book? - Who would enjoy reading this book and why? - What are some questions or topics for further discussion? Here is the article I wrote based on the outline: The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession - A Review ## Introduction Have you ever wondered what secrets lie hidden in old books? Have you ever imagined finding a priceless relic that could change the history of literature? Have you ever felt haunted by a lost love that you can't forget? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might enjoy reading The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett. This book is a captivating blend of mystery, romance, history, and bibliophilia that will keep you hooked until the last page. The Bookman's Tale tells the story of Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller who is grieving over the death of his wife Amanda. While browsing through a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, he stumbles upon a Victorian watercolor portrait that bears an uncanny resemblance to Amanda. This discovery leads him on a quest to uncover the origins of the painting and its possible connection to a rare manuscript that could prove that William Shakespeare was indeed the author of his plays. The book alternates between three timelines: Peter's present-day investigation, his past relationship with Amanda, and a series of historical events that trace the journey of the Shakespeare manuscript from Elizabethan England to modern times. Along the way, Peter encounters various characters who help or hinder his search, such as a friendly librarian, a ruthless collector, a mysterious forger, and a vengeful killer. The Bookman's Tale is a novel that appeals to both the heart and the mind. It is a novel that explores themes such as obsession, grief, love, identity, and creativity. It is also a novel that celebrates books and their power to inspire, transform, and connect people across time and space. ## Plot summary The story begins with Peter Byerly moving to Kingham Cottage in Ridgefield, North Carolina, after his wife Amanda dies from an allergic reaction. Peter is a shy and introverted man who has always loved books more than people. He met Amanda at Ridgefield University, where she was an art history student and he was a rare book collector. They fell in love and got married, but their happiness was cut short by Amanda's sudden death. Unable to cope with his loss, Peter relocates to England, where he hopes to resume his career as an antiquarian bookseller. He visits Hay-on-Wye, a town famous for its numerous bookshops, and finds a copy of Edmond Malone's An Inquiry into the Authenticity of Certain Miscellaneous Papers (1796), a study of Shakespeare forgeries. Inside the book, he is shocked to see a loose watercolor portrait of a woman who looks exactly like Amanda. Peter becomes obsessed with finding out who painted the portrait and why it was hidden in the book. He contacts Liz Sutcliffe, a librarian at Ridgefield University, who helps him identify the portrait as a work of Ellen Clacy, a Victorian artist who specialized in painting literary figures. Liz also tells him that the book belonged to Phillip Gardner, a wealthy Ridgefield alumnus and book collector who died recently. Peter decides to visit Gardner's estate in England, where he meets Francis Leland, Gardner's nephew and heir. Leland shows him Gardner's library, where Peter notices a gap in the shelf where the Malone book should be. He also sees a leather portfolio that contains a document labeled "Pandosto". Peter recognizes it as the title of a prose romance by Robert Greene, one of Shakespeare's contemporaries and rivals. He opens the portfolio and is stunned to see a manuscript written in Elizabethan handwriting, with annotations and corrections that suggest it is an early draft of Shakespeare's play The Winter's Tale, which was based on Greene's Pandosto. Peter realizes that he has found a priceless relic that could revolutionize Shakespeare studies and prove that Shakespeare was the true author of his plays. He also suspects that the portrait of Amanda is somehow linked to the manuscript, and that someone else is after them. He decides to take the manuscript and the portrait with him, but he is attacked by a masked man who tries to kill him. Peter manages to escape with the help of Leland, who claims to be unaware of the manuscript's existence or value. Peter then embarks on a perilous journey to solve the mystery of the portrait and the manuscript, while avoiding his pursuer. He travels to various places in England and Wales, where he meets different people who have some connection to the book or the painting. He also learns more about the history of the manuscript and how it passed through the hands of several owners, such as Robert Cotton, Isaac Jaggard, John Milton, William Henry Ireland, and Phillip Gardner. The book also reveals the backstory of Peter and Amanda's relationship, from their first meeting at Ridgefield University to their marriage and Amanda's death. It shows how they bonded over their shared love of books and art, and how they faced various challenges and conflicts, such as Peter's insecurity, Amanda's family pressure, and Peter's discovery of a letter that Amanda wrote before she died. The book also depicts a series of historical events that involve the creation and transmission of the Shakespeare manuscript. It shows how Robert Greene wrote Pandosto as a veiled attack on Shakespeare, whom he envied and despised. It also shows how Greene had an illegitimate son named Fortunato with an Italian courtesan named Luciana, who later became Shakespeare's mistress and muse. Luciana gave Shakespeare a copy of Pandosto, which he used as a source for The Winter's Tale. She also painted a portrait of herself as Hermione, the heroine of the play, and gave it to Shakespeare as a token of her love. The book then follows the fate of the manuscript and the portrait as they are inherited, stolen, lost, found, forged, sold, and hidden by various people over the centuries. It shows how some of them were obsessed with possessing or destroying them, while others were unaware of their significance or authenticity. The story ends with Peter solving the mystery and finding out the truth about the portrait and the manuscript. He discovers that Amanda was actually a descendant of Luciana and Fortunato, and that she inherited the portrait from her grandmother. He also discovers that Gardner was actually his biological father, who had an affair with his mother when she worked as his secretary. Gardner knew about Peter's existence but never acknowledged him. He also knew about the manuscript but kept it secret for fear of losing his reputation as a collector. Peter also learns that his attacker was none other than Leland, who was working for a secret organization called The Holy Alliance, which was dedicated to destroying any evidence that Shakespeare was the author of his plays. The Holy Alliance believed that Shakespeare was a fraud who stole his works from Francis Bacon, who was their leader and founder. They had been hunting for the manuscript for years, and they hired Leland to infiltrate Gardner's family and find it. Peter manages to expose Leland's treachery and stop him from killing him or destroying the manuscript. He also decides to donate the manuscript and the portrait to Ridgefield University, where they can be studied and appreciated by scholars and students. He also decides to stay in England and continue his work as a bookseller. He finally comes to terms with his grief over Amanda's death and his identity as Gardner's son. He also feels closer to Amanda through her portrait and her ancestry. He realizes that she is still with him in spirit, and that their love is immortalized in the bookman's tale. ## Characters analysis The main character of The Bookman's Tale is Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian books seller who is the protagonist and narrator of the book. He is a shy and introverted man who has always loved books more than people. He suffers from a social anxiety disorder that makes him uncomfortable around strangers and crowds. He also suffers from a deep grief over the death of his wife Amanda, whom he considers his soulmate and his only true friend. He is obsessed with finding out the origins of the portrait that resembles Amanda and the manuscript that could prove Shakespeare's authorship. He is also haunted by Amanda's spirit, who appears to him in dreams and visions. He is a loyal, honest, and courageous man who risks his life to protect the book and the painting from his enemies. He is also a curious and intelligent man who enjoys learning new things and solving puzzles. He has a passion for books and their history, and he respects their value and beauty. Another important character is Amanda Ridgefield, Peter's late wife and the love of his life. She is a beautiful and charming woman who comes from a wealthy and influential family in North Carolina. She is an art history student who shares Peter's love of books and art. She is also a talented painter who creates her own works of art. She is a kind, generous, and supportive woman who helps Peter overcome his anxiety and insecurity. She is also a strong, independent, and adventurous woman who challenges Peter to try new things and explore new places. She dies from an allergic reaction to a bee sting, leaving Peter devastated and lonely. She also leaves behind a letter that reveals her desire to have a child with Peter, something that he was not aware of. She appears to Peter in spirit form, guiding him and comforting him throughout his quest. Other characters include: - Francis Leland: Phillip Gardner's nephew and heir, who pretends to befriend Peter but is actually working for The Holy Alliance, a secret organization that wants to destroy the Shakespeare manuscript. He is a cunning, greedy, and ruthless man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. - Liz Sutcliffe: A librarian at Ridgefield University, who helps Peter identify the portrait of Amanda as a work of Ellen Clacy. She is a friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable woman who shares Peter's interest in books and history. - Ellen Clacy: A Victorian artist who painted literary figures, including the portrait of Amanda as Hermione from The Winter's Tale. She was inspired by Luciana's original portrait of herself as Hermione, which she saw in John Milton's library. She was also Phillip Gardner's grandmother, who passed down the portrait to him. - Luciana: An Italian courtesan who was Robert Greene's lover and William Shakespeare's mistress. She was also Greene's son Fortunato's mother and Amanda's ancestor. She gave Shakespeare a copy of Pandosto, which he used as a source for The Winter's Tale. She also painted a portrait of herself as Hermione, which she gave to Shakespeare as a token of her love. - Robert Greene: An Elizabethan playwright and pamphleteer who was one of Shakespeare's contemporaries and