Original publish date: 29 December 2014
William Shakespeare. That alone will get me to read on. But add to that an imagining of his life circa 1590 and I’m super sold on the idea. This rendition of what Shakespeare’s life could have been is intricately explored in Andrea Chapin’s book The Tutor, due out in February 2015.
The central protagonist Katharine’s life has been anything but pleasant. Her life has been plagued by the death of loved ones, but with every downside there is an upside, and hers has been living with her Uncle Edward and having the privilege to learn and read at her leisure. When the family loses their priest and tutor to the prosecution of Catholics in Elizabethan England, a rather strange tutor, William Shakespeare, enters into her life. Katharine does not take to him well, but with time, they learn to work together and Shakespeare’s writing flourishes.
As with any Shakespearean character, there are aspects to them that are infuriating, as are aspects of the plot that by today’s standards are rather contrived; however, in keeping with the theme of who and what was being presented, it fit and was well done. There are little details about various characters that relate to plays of Shakespeare, such as the three witches come to visit the family and a dog dies, leaving one of the women to repeatedly wipe at the stains on her smock, as well as the temperament of the protagonist Kate, which is much like another infamous Kate in need of taming. It’s a nice subtle nod to readers who are readily familiar with Shakespeare’s works and life. The work that Katharine does to help foster Shakespeare’s writing speaks to the notion that he wasn’t the true author of his works; moreover, the story demonstrates the power and importance of collaboration in the writing process.
Overall, I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.