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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 listeners say about The Bookman's Tale

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Trying story

The first chapter of this book sounds good - then it gets muddled. Did any editor touch this? Too much backstory, too much many details that don't flesh out the characters. It needed some serious revision. It might have been a good outline but the execution was not well done. The reader was OK with some weak material.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A glorious ride!

This book has everything — adventure, romance, laughter, tears, more than one unique and intriguing mystery, and so much more! Book lovers, and those fascinated by British literary history, will be enchanted — and so will anyone who has ever loved. Not to be missed!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Bookmark mystery

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

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Chick Lit. Nancy Drew but with sex.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No. Story has potential, but seems ploddingly and amateurishly told with too many easy coincidences. Lovett's facile and formulaic treatment of his story frequently bordered on banal and wasted what might have been a really good tale. I was tempted to just put it down and quit several times but kept reading just for the story line. It needed a good editor and rewrite.

What did you like best about this story?

Story line.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I would say the narrator did it justice by a reading as spiritless as the book itself.

Did The Bookman's Tale inspire you to do anything?

Gag.

Any additional comments?

I think that does it.

1 person found this helpful