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Dark Aemilia

A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady

Sally O'Reilly


List Price: 28.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/23/2015)
Paperback (3/27/2014)
Paperback (6/2/2015)
Hardcover (5/27/2014)


"For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright; Who art as black as hell, as dark as night." --William Shakespeare, Sonnet 147

In the boldest imagining of the era since Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth, a finalist for the Italian Premio del Castello del Terriccio, this spellbinding novel of witchcraft, poetry, and passion, brings to life Aemilia Lanyer, the "Dark Lady" of Shakespeare's Sonnets--the playwright's muse and his one true love. The daughter of a Venetian musician but orphaned as a young girl, Aemilia Bassano grows up in the court of Elizabeth I, becoming the Queen's favorite. She absorbs a love of poetry and learning, maturing into a striking young woman with a sharp mind and a quick tongue. Now brilliant, beautiful, and highly educated, she becomes mistress of Lord Hunsdon, the Lord Chamberlain and Queen's cousin. But her position is precarious; when she falls in love with court playwright William Shakespeare, her fortunes change irrevocably. A must-read for fans of Tracy Chevalier (Girl With a Pearl Earring) and Sarah Dunant (The Birth of Venus), Sally O'Reilly's richly atmospheric novel compellingly re-imagines the struggles for power, recognition, and survival in the brutal world of Elizabethan London. She conjures the art of England's first professional female poet, giving us a character for the ages--a woman who is ambitious and intelligent, true to herself, and true to her heart.

Myriad Editions,, 9781908434494, 448pp.

Publication Date: March 1, 2014

About the Author

Sally O'Reilly has a PhD in creative writing from Brunel University, London, and is a lecturer in creative writing at the Open University. She is the author of How to be a Writer and (as Sam O'Reilly) two previous novels, The Best Possible Taste and You Spin Me Round. Her short stories have appeared in the UK, Australia, and South Africa.