Friday, February 27, 2015

THE TUTOR by Andrea Chapin

I have to admit that historical fiction is not my favorite genre. However, Andrea Chapin’s new book held my attention from beginning to end.

Set in Elizabethan England at a time when the persecution of Catholics and confiscation of their lands and property were in full swing, it features a young childless widow, Katharine de L’Isle, who has returned to the estate of her uncle, Sir Edward, where she was raised. Sir Edward, who
is thought to have the largest private library in the north of England, has taught her Latin and Greek and imbued her with a love of books and literature.

She has dismissed all the suitors come to woo her and, instead, has chosen a quiet life of reading, to herself and to the young children of her cousins. Three events shatter her treasured peace: the family priest, who has been performing Catholic services in their secret chapel, is found murdered. Her beloved uncle, Sir Edward, is forced to flee the country to avoid the imprisonment and/or death visited on other great Catholic landowners. And, lastly, the new schoolmaster arrives: one William Shakespeare.

His initial behavior toward Katharine is shocking but, slowly, she is drawn to him, recognizes his talent and begins to critique his poetry. She becomes his muse, the Venus to his Adonis. He awakens her passion. But is he what he seems to be? Does he return that passion? Or is he merely playing a part?

Kirkus Review called it “an elegant entertainment and an impressive debut,” and Shakespeare Magazine dubbed it, “A wonderfully entertaining adventure.”

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