A book about books…my cup of tea. In The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession, Charlie Lovett has written a story that’s perfect for the true bibliophile. At times, I couldn’t put it down; at other times, I struggled to get through Lovett’s overly melodramatic sentences. However, it’s a worthwhile read for many…one that seamlessly transitions between various time periods.
Peter Byerly is an antiquarian bookseller with severe social anxiety issues, which are made even worse by the untimely death of the love of his life, Amanda. He often goes out of his way not to deal with people and is only semi-happy nowadays when he’s with his old books. One day, as he’s perusing the books of a possible client, he comes across the Holy Grail of the bookselling business, one that could silence forever the doubters that Shakespeare was the author of his own plays. As he tries to prove the authenticity of this find on what could be a very dangerous investigation, Lovett blends together the mysterious history of the book and the beginnings of Peter’s great love affair.
I found part of The Bookman’s Tale absolutely fascinating; however, Peter and Amanda’s relationship was almost saccharine sweet. I’m sure this was written like this to make Peter’s loss that much harder. However, for me, it was quite jarring to go from reading about this priceless book to Peter and Amanda’s…ahem…numerous times together…on the rare book room’s floor. Because of this, I liked it, but I did not love it.