The Secret Life of William Shakespeare
By Jude Morgan
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250025036, 448pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
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Named One of Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Books of 2014
There are so few established facts about how the son of a glove maker from Warwickshire became one of the greatest writers of all time that some people doubt he could really have written so many astonishing plays. We know that he married Anne Hathaway, who was pregnant and six years older than he, at the age of eighteen, and that one of their children died of the plague. We know that he left Stratford to seek his fortune in London, and eventually succeeded. He was clearly an unwilling craftsman, ambitious actor, resentful son, almost good-enough husband. But when and how did he also become a genius?
The Secret Life of William Shakespeare pulls back the curtain to imagine what it might have really been like to be Shakespeare before a seemingly ordinary man became a legend. In the hands of acclaimed historical novelist Jude Morgan, this is a brilliantly convincing story of unforgettable richness, warmth, and immediacy.
JUDE MORGAN, who studied with Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter, lives in England. Morgan's previous works include Emily and Charlotte, a novel about the Brontë sisters; An Accomplished Woman; Symphony; Indiscretion; and Passion, which was called "one of the best books of 2005" by The Washington Post Book World; and most recently A Little Folly.
"It's hard to imagine a better historical novel about the Bard than this one; in quality and power, it rivals Hilary Mantel's justly acclaimed books (Wolf Hall; Bring Up the Bodies) about Thomas Cromwell....Morgan's novel will stimulate the same literary enthusiasm for the Elizabethans." —Library Journal (starred review)
"Morgan writes masterful characters...In a layered narrative with a richness that rewards measured reading, Morgan re-creates Shakespeare's Elizabethan milieu, every place and person rendered with near-perfect realism....A tour de force." —Kirkus Reviews
"An imaginative, absorbing and totally believable story...[Morgan] even follows Shakespeare's lyrical meter and phraseology in this biography that's as lively as a Shakespeare comedy and as human as one of his dramas. Truly a delight to read. " —RT Book Reviews
"An entertaining read." —Booklist