My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller’s search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love
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.
Nine months after the death of his beloved wife Amanda left him shattered, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to outrun his grief and rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, he discovers a Victorian watercolor of a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Amanda.
Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins and braves a host of dangers to follow a trail of clues back across the centuries—all the way to Shakespeare’s time and a priceless literary artifact that could prove, once and for all, the truth about the Bard’s real identity.
I saw on Goodreads that this book was compared to Possession by A.S. Byatt and that really made me want to read this book. Alas, this book was like a pale version of possession. It had elements of Possession. But, it was never as engrossing to read as Possession was for me.
The problem was that the characters were very flat and honestly boring. Peter meets Amanda and they fall in love, he discovers that she is a rich heiress (No way, I didn’t see that coming) she dies and he finds a watercolor painting that looks just like Amanda in England and he just have to find out who painted it and the identity of the woman .
Another problem is that everything is so damn convenient, he finds the painting and after that everything just falls into place. He meets the right people; everything he does leads him on towards the big discovery in the end. But it doesn’t feel genuine. Trust me I read adventures book, I can take it that clues just falls in the laps on people, but in this book, no! It’s too freaking easy for him. Also, he sees visions of his dead wife! Com on Charlie Lovett, could you not have left that out at least.
And then in the middle of his sorrow he meets a woman that helps him with the clues and one just knows that either she is evil or he will fall in love with her since why the heck not, his wife has just been dead for 9 months and lives moves on...don't matter that he just before he found the painting hardly was functional, she's a woman, he is man...it's love!
As if that wasn’t annoying, the book also turned into a murder mystery since he was not the only one after the “treasure”. I didn’t want to read a murder mystery I wanted a historical novel with a tragic love, where the answers are in the past. Meh!