The greatest writer of them all, brought to glorious life. How well do you know the man you love? How much do you think you know about Shakespeare? What if they were one and the same? He is an ordinary man: unwilling craftsman, ambitious actor, resentful son, almost good-enough husband. And he is also a genius.
The story of how a glove-maker from Warwickshire became the greatest writer of them all is vaguely known to most of us, but it would take an exceptional modern novelist to bring him to life. And now at last Jude Morgan, acclaimed author of Passion and The Taste of Sorrow, has taken Shakespeare's life, and created a masterpiece.
I love this book. Being a Shakespeare fan I found it was easy to lose myself in author's imagination of his life and his world. The conversations she creates with characters I have only come across in the history of theatre are a joy. A huge amount of research must have gone into it but it never weighs heavily on the listener. It is beautifully written and read. I can't recommend it highly enough and I haven't even finished it yet!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about The Secret Life of William Shakespeare? What did you like least?
Jude Morgan always thoroughly researches everything, and uses beautiful language and descriptions that really conjure up clear pictures of the time and people.
I really wanted to like this book as I have absolutely loved all his others, but I'm afraid I found this one dull and was relieved when it ended and I could listen to something else.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
I learned more about Shakespeare, because despite the internal thoughts and feelings being author invention, they were woven seamlessly around what is known through historical record to be fact about his life.
The least interesting thing for me was his portrayal of Anne Hathaway. She was so self pitying and introspective all the time, and it was hard to care about her.
The attraction of Will to Isobel, who came across as completely unlikeable, also lacked any credibility for me.
What about John Telfer’s performance did you like?
He handled the language very well, and his gravitas helped the story feel less dull.
If this book were a film would you go see it?
Probably, because there wouldn't be any internal monologues and self pity from Anne in a visual format.
Any additional comments?
If you have never tried a Jude Morgan book before, I would suggest first trying 'The Taste of Sorrow' (about the Brontes) or 'An Accomplished Woman' (a more lighthearted period piece in the manner of Georgette Heyer), both available on Audible.
Another favourite Jude Morgan book is 'Indiscretion' which is a very funny period romance, although it's not yet available on Audible.
Jude Morgan (Tim Wilson) has also written a number of historical crime novels under the name 'Hannah March' and I highly recommend those too.
Sadly this is the only book of his I have not enjoyed, and would not recommend.
I listened to 4 hours of this before giving up. I'm so sorry to Jude Morgan and his followers but I found it so boring! I also understand the other reviewers when they say he writes prose almost as though it is poetry, and chops between present and past tense, slightly hard to follow as a result.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful