Title: The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett
Published May 28, 2013; Viking
This seems to be a novel after my own heart - literary topic, a mystery going back to Shakespeare's time, a bookseller and his books. It brings to mind other bibliophile novels : Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. And The Book Thief.
This one has a paranormal touch. It all starts in 1995 when Peter Byerly enters a bookshop and opens an 18th century study of Shakepeare forgeries. A picture that looks like his dead wife pops out of the book and Peter follows up the history of this picture back to Victorian and to Shakespeare's time. He is able to communicate with this woman from the past, then tackles the question of whether Shakespeare was the true author of the Shakespeare plays.
The Bookman’s Tale interweaves art history and literary history with a haunting tale of romance and deception. Alternating between Shakespeare’s time, the Victorian Era, and the present day, Lovett offers both a heartwarming chronicle of a shattered widow’s return to the world of the living and a salute to the magical power of books.
I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book for review.