Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Tutor - Book Review

From the cover :

A bold and captivating novel about love, passion, and ambition that imagines the muse of William Shakespeare and the tumultuous year they spend together.  

The year is 1590, and Queen Elizabeth’s Spanish Armada victory has done nothing to quell her brutal persecution of the English Catholics. Katharine de L’Isle is living at Lufanwal Hall, the manor of her uncle, Sir Edward. Taught by her cherished uncle to read when a child, Katharine is now a thirty-one-year-old widow. She has resigned herself to a life of reading and keeping company with her cousins and their children. But all that changes when the family’s priest, who had been performing Catholic services in secret, is found murdered. Faced with threats of imprisonment and death, Sir Edward is forced to flee the country, leaving Katharine adrift in a household rife with turmoil.

At this time of unrest, a new schoolmaster arrives from Stratford, a man named William Shakespeare. Coarse, quick-witted, and brazenly flirtatious, Shakespeare swiftly disrupts what fragile peace there is left at Lufanwal. Katharine is at first appalled by the boldness of this new tutor, but when she learns he is a poet, and one of talent, things between them begin to shift, and soon Katharine finds herself drawn into Shakespeare’s verse, and his life, in ways that will change her forever.

Inventive and absorbing, The Tutor is a masterful work of historical fiction, casting Shakespeare in a light we’ve never seen. 

My thoughts :

Just as Katherine is beguiled by the dashing poet, I was charmed and enthralled by Andrea Chapin's novel The Tutor. Katherine is a delightful character. She's smart but not flawless. She's human and susceptible to seduction and the emotions of the heart. It is delightful to see her opposite Shakespeare and imagine that a passionate and equally brilliant woman must have influenced his early poetry.

Filled with dangerous and riveting subplots--a family struggles to stay safe in an atmosphere of political and religious unrest while it appears to implode with intrigues from within--the novel moves at a thrilling pace. The supporting cast is developed enough that even with a large number of characters, they are relatively easy to keep straight.

While the novel is passionate and filled with poetry to stir the soul, I appreciate that it is free from erotic sex scenes. Chapin allows the romantic and sexual tension to build with the shared poetry between Katherine and Will. The portrayal of Will Shakespeare is remarkable. The cunning, brilliant and flamboyant man comes to life within Chapin's pages. He keeps Katherine and the reader on their toes and constantly guessing at his true intentions. 

The Tutor by Andrea Chapin is a mesmerizing and luscious novel filled with romance and mystery. I could barely put it down at night to sleep. 

The Tutor by Andrea Chapin is published by Riverhead Books and releases on February 5, 2015.

**I received a complimentary copy of The Tutor. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**

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