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The Sonnets by Warwick Collins - Book Review

The Sonnets imagines the inspiration and historical context for Shakespeare’s sonnets. Though I’m no Shakespeare intellectual, I am aware that much of the writer’s life is shrouded in mystery and scholars have long wondered about his motivations. The story covers a two-year period when London’s theaters were closed (due to the plague) and Shakespeare would have been an unemployed playwright.

The author does a fine job mimicking Shakespeare’s voice and characterizes the Bard in what seems to be an authentic light. The novel also seems exceptionally well researched. When many hear the word Shakespeare, they think laborious, but the story was actually quick and light.

Unfortunately, that lightness also carries over to the characters themselves. I never formed a good picture of any of them nor cared about their story, Shakespeare included. I adore historical fiction and was excited to enter Tudor England, but I never felt involved in the historical period. There very simply seemed to be something missing in The Sonnets.

In the end, I found myself skipping sections and disappointed that such a great premise, one that had obviously been finely researched, lacked the excitement I longed for when imaging the life of literature’s most admired, most wondered about, artist.

Thank you to the Library Thing for my copy. Review also posted on my personal blog & Library Thing.

© 2009

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