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Publisher's Summary

Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman's Tale is a former bookseller's sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature's most tantalizing mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt's Possession.

Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn't sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an 18th-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn't really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture's origins.

As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare's time, Peter communes with Amanda's spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

©2013 Charlie Lovett (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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    92
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    4

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    105
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    111
  • 3 Stars
    37
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    14
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    88
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    103
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    58
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • William
  • Winston Salem, NC, United States
  • 08-13-13

Mixed bag.

As other reviewers have written, Lovett's book is a mixture of love story, literary mystery, and whodunnit. For my taste, the literary mystery is quite interesting while the other plots are so-so, depending too much on unconvincing coincidence.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful listen

Some scholarly stories can be tedious, especially when Shakespeare is involved. Everyone has their own pet theory, but this story is about the characters not the bard. Best book finding mystery I have listened to or read in a while.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • George
  • Bryan, Ohio, United States
  • 08-18-13

One of the best books I have read.

What did you love best about The Bookman's Tale?

Well constructed with interweaving story lines that keep you wanting more. This book deserves more attention than it has received so far.

What other book might you compare The Bookman's Tale to and why?

The originality of the story and the intricate story reminded me of The 13th Tale.

Any additional comments?

A wonderful combination of mystery, romance and literary history that takes the reader on a wonderful journey. I can not recommend this book strongly enough! A MUST READ!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Karen
  • Rochester, NY, United States
  • 08-11-13

Just Ok for me

Having just read The Shadow of the Wind (a novel this book was compared to), I was so excited to read this, but I found it to be just OK. The narration is excellent and the story is fine, just not excellent.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jonelle
  • Camp Hill, PA, United States
  • 04-19-15

Pleasant light diversion

I didn't think that this book was terribly well written, but I did enjoy the small glimpse it gave of an antiquarian bookseller's world as well as the author's literary mystery. I listened to the book, and while the narrator's voice was quite beautiful, his pacing was terribly slow. I actually had to speed up the recording to one and a half times its normal speed--something I've rarely had to do.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Thoroughly enjoyed it.

What did you love best about The Bookman's Tale?

It was a perfect combination of historical fiction, mystery, and romance. A masterful performance made the characters quite believable.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Amanda, Peter"s wife. She had a strong yet gentle nature.

Which character – as performed by John Bedford Lloyd – was your favorite?

Amanda

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me cry. I felt their love for one another and their deep connection. I also felt their sorrow.

Any additional comments?

I learned a little history about William Shakespeare, as well as some his contemporaries.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A good performance

The main character isn't likeable so it is always a literary challenge to bring out the likeable factor of a protagonist as such. Overall a decent read.

  • Overall

Bookmark mystery

Interesting and enjoyable. Dual stories we're equally interesting and the conclusion ties them satisfyingly together.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Just OK. Not what I was looking for.

Over-long and a bit too contrived for my taste. The main relationship comes off as a variation of "Love Story." It didn't help that the reader made it sound like I was listening to a book for young-adults. Only finished it because I was doing long-distance driving.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting Storyline

Any additional comments?

I wasn't aware of the conspiracy theory discussed in this story. I found this book to be interesting and on the lines of Dan Brown's historical fiction but not at all as good.