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The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Introverted antiquarian bookseller Peter Byerly moves from America to the quiet English countryside after the tragic death of his wife Amanda. Having shut himself off from family, friends and his career for so long, he hopes he can reconnect with life by collecting and restoring rare books once again. 

One day when he opens an old book on Shakespearian forgeries, he finds a Victorian portrait that looks startlingly similar to his late wife, along with the initials of an unknown artist. 

He becomes obsessed with finding out the identity of the elusive artist and follows a trail back through time to the days of Shakespeare where he uncovers the truth of his own past and also a book that could prove that William Shakespeare was the author of his legendary plays. 

This story is a skilful weave of love, history, obsession and mystery. The author gives us glimpses of centuries past, as well as Peter’s humble beginnings as a student and his nervous courtship of the love of his life. The story is quite complex, especially in terms of the historical figures and their relationship to the modern day players but very expertly written. 

Not only is it clever but as Peter becomes enraptured in the puzzle, the story becomes dangerous and exciting. Peter’s tale is heartbreaking but also inspiring as he is forced to grow as a person after losing his great love and facing his hardships alone. The Bookman’s Tale is so wonderfully descriptive you can almost smell the leather and ink. It’s an elegant tale that will fascinate, excite and tug at your heart strings right through until the end. 

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