Sally O'Reilly's novel features a protagonist modeled after real-life historical figure Aemilia Lanyer, an Elizabethan poet believed by some as the inspiration for the Dark Lady of William Shakespeare's sonnets. The collection of 154 sonnets, published in 1609, are generally thought to be autobiographical in nature. They contain three principal characters: the Fair Youth, the Rival Poet and the Dark Lady, who is the subject of twenty-five sonnets. Shakespeare describes a passionate but doomed love affair and has many harsh words and recriminations for his lover (for more about the Dark Lady, see 'Beyond the Book').
Aemilia narrates the story from her point of view, opening it by describing herself as "a witch for the modern age." It is a bold beginning and Aemilia is a bold protagonist fiercely independent and clever in an age when women's roles were ...
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