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The Bookman’s Tale

by Charlie Lovett

Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books,The Bookman’s Tale is a former bookseller’s sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature’s most tantalising mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt’s Possession.

Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolour is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.

As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.


‘a gripping literary mystery that is compulsively readable until the thrilling end.’  Library Journal

‘For bibliophiles everywhere, this is a joyous mystery from the present day to Victorian England and back to Shakespearean England. Charlie Lovett’s The Bookman’s Tale is about the thrill of the chase, obsession, love, passion and the joy of discovery.’  The Hoopla

‘Fans of mysteries, of love stories, and of rare books will all find moments in Lovett’s novel to treasure.’  Booklist

‘The world of the antiquarian bookseller is rife with passions and obsessions, and Charlie Lovett, himself a former antiquarian book dealer, is well placed to put together a detailed plot that stretches all the way back through an elaborate tale of 19th-century forgery to the 16th century and life of Shakespeare…an intriguing tale.’  Sydney Morning Herald/The Age

‘This book has it all: antiquarian books, deceit, love, murder, passion, Shakespeare, death…and (spoiler alert) a secret passage. What more could you ask for?’  Herald Sun

The Bookman’s Tale is a homage to antiquarian book collectors, a journey in grief, a whodunnit and more rolled into one.’  Courier Mail


Book Club Notes
28 May, 2013

About Charlie Lovett

Charlie Lovett is a writer, teacher, and playwright whose plays for children have been seen in over 3000 productions worldwide. He served for more than a decade as writer-in-residence at Summit School in Winston-Salem, NC. He is a former antiquarian bookseller, and he has collected rare books and other materials related to Lewis Carroll for more than 25 years. He and his wife split their time between Winston-Salem and Kingham, Oxfordshire.

Other books by Charlie Lovett


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