MLA Gold Award Site

Reader reviews and comments on The Bookman's Tale, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Bookman's Tale

A Novel of Obsession

by Charlie Lovett

The Bookman's Tale
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2013, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2014, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

Page 1 of 1
There is 1 reader review for The Bookman's Tale
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Power Reviewer Cloggie Downunder (11/29/14)

an excellent literary mystery
“Anticipation brought a cold sweat to the back of his neck. Why had he come? He could be safe in his sitting room with a cup of tea right now instead of standing on a cold street corner with a sense of dread settling into the pit of his stomach……he slipped through an open doorway into the back room where books lined every wall. He closed his eyes for a moment, imagining the cocoon of books shielding him from all danger, inhaling deeply that familiar scent of cloth and leather and dust and words. His rushing pulse began to slow…”

The Bookman’s Tale is the third novel by American writer, teacher and playwright, Charlie Lovett. Antiquarian bookseller, Peter Byerly is still a broken man after the death of his wife, Amanda, in Ridgefield, North Carolina, some nine months earlier. He has escaped concerned family and friends to maintain a reclusive existence in a stone cottage in the village of Kingham, Oxfordshire, the cottage he and Amanda had just finished renovating together. On his first attempt to resume normal activities, he visits a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye and happens upon, tucked inside a book on forgeries, a miniature Victorian watercolour of a woman who looks uncannily like his late wife. It is signed “B.B.”

It is curiosity about this intriguing likeness together with a call from a member of the local gentry about some rare books for sale that has Peter interacting with the villagers and travelling to London for a meeting of the Historical Watercolour Society, thus following one of his therapist’s instructions for recovery. He is certainly not expecting to discover the “Holy Grail” of rare books, a document that will prove, once and for all, that Shakespeare was indeed the author of the works attributed to him. Nor is he expecting to encounter a murderer.

The story is told in three narrative strands that cover different time periods and places: one strand follows the creation of said document and its journey through time from Shakespeare’s day to the late nineteenth century; another describes Peter’s introduction to the two loves of his life, Amanda and the world of rare books; the third relates the rollercoaster ride of events that follow Peter’s discovery.

Lovett gives the reader an excellent literary mystery that incorporates a believable plot with a few twists, appealing characters, a beautiful romance, a good dose of humour, a secret tunnel, murder, theft, forgery, blackmail, adultery, suicide, seduction and, of course, rare books. His expertise with rare editions and their restoration and his enthusiasm for his subject are apparent in every paragraph. He imparts a wealth of knowledge and presents it in an easily digestible manner. Lovett skilfully blends fact with fiction and the “what if” scenario on which the plot hangs generates more than enough intrigue to make this a real page-turner with an exciting climax. Highly recommended.
  • Page
  • 1

Beyond the Book:
  Hay-on-Wye, The Town of Books

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
    by Kathleen Rooney

    "Effervescent with verve, wit, and heart" - Booklist, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Ruler of the Night
    Ruler of the Night
    by David Morrell
    Amateur sleuth Thomas De Quincey is back in a mystery set in Victorian England. This time, he and ...
  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...
  • Book Jacket: Homesick for Another World
    Homesick for Another World
    by Ottessa Moshfegh
    The frizzy, freaky, funky, and frazzled all pile on in this much anticipated short story collection ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.