The Tutor

Riverhead. Feb. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781594632549. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698145061. F
It is the late 16th century and Queen Elizabeth I reigns strong. Far from London is Katherine de L'Isle, a young widow living with her uncle's family. An intelligent woman with a passion for reading and learning, Katherine has come to enjoy her mundane life among her cousins and their families, with its daily opportunities for quiet study and reflection. That is, until a new tutor arrives for her nephews: one William Shakespeare, a sometime theatrical player with literary poetic ambitions. Though at first taken aback by Will's worldly brazenness, Katherine soon finds herself enchanted by both his charm and his words. What begins as mere collaboration on Will's poetry quickly blossoms into a passionate affair. With all the fire and spark of the best romance novels but the detail and weight of finely rendered historical fiction, debut novelist Chapin has crafted a fascinating and masterly background to Shakespeare's first published work, the narrative poem Venus and Adonis.
VERDICT Fans of historical fiction writers such as Philippa Gregory, Rosalind Miles, and Anne Easter Smith won't want to miss this one.
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