9780670016648_p0_v1_s260x420Reviewed by MaryLu McFall

Peter Byerley loved old books and he adored his wife, Amanda. When her death left him totally bereft he thought he would never care about anything or anyone again. But months passed and he finally left for England, hoping to build some sort of life for himself with books—searching for them, collecting, and restoring, if necessary. When he found an old book about forgery and Shakespeare he found something that pulled him in several directions at once. A picture of a woman who looked exactly like his beloved Amanda.

That is only the beginning of absorbing twists and turns in this tale of a bookman, his new life, a woman named Liz, and enough clues to boggle his mind. The author tells tales within a tale within another tale, and while this can be a little difficult to follow at first, it does take us where we need to go. That’s to follow Peter in his search for proof of the authenticity of the book he has found, and back to Elizabethan England to where Shakespeare himself may have had a hand in more than a play or two.

Book lovers of all ages will love this engrossing novel. Did Shakespeare really write all those plays? There is not much proof that he did; furthermore he had absolutely no real education. Several alternatives are offered, some offered for decades, some truly off the Globe wall. Peter searches and finds evidence of forgery and fears what he has found is just that. He continues to seek information about the woman in the portrait. Amanda appears to him at odd moments and continues to support him a she did throughout their marriage.

The new woman in his life, Liz, finds the whole thing amusing and fascinating. Amanda lets Peter know she approves, and helps him to gain confidence. Then there’s a murder or two, and things really get tangled. Peter is prime suspect and he realizes just who is to blame, but cannot believe the evidence. He manages to protect Liz, while he keeps seeking answers.

The Bookman’s Tale is an absorbing book that I couldn’t put down; I spent one whole day and part of the evening just reading, turning pages, and being charmed by the characters, the twists of the plot, and the satisfying ending.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

MaryLu McFall is the author of A Little Karmic Murder, an eBook that is available on Kindle, Nook, and all other electronic readers. She lives, works part-time at an independent bookstore, and will soon have her Young Adult novel, The Family Lancaster, published as an eBook as well.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Viking Adult. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.