Quality of Mercy
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Quality of Mercy

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  841 ratings  ·  51 reviews
In this sprawling tale of Elizabethan England, the heroine, Rebecca Lopez, is the gifted, shapely daughter of the Queen's court physician. The Lopezes are conversos, Spanish Jews posing as Anglicans, and they're involved in a dangerous mission to smuggle Jews out of Spain.
Mass Market Paperback, 544 pages
Published October 29th 1990 by Fawcett (first published 1989)
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This book is so bad that I keep thinking it CANNOT be this bad; the author has a perfectly good mystery series (police procedural) in her Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus LA cop mysteries, so how can this attempt at historical fiction be SO wretched? I have started it at least three times, and I cannot get further than fifty or so pages in. The language is a horrible mish-mash of periods, and certainly not Elizabethan more than in shreds and patches. The characters are obnoxious. The crudity is rid...more
Couldn't make it through this one. Sorry. The premise of Shakespeare being a detective was unbelievable. The sprinkling of Elizabethan English and historical details, events and objects that seemed to be sprinkled in at random seemed contrived. I wanted to learn more about the plight of the Jews in Europe during Shakespeare's day, but got distracted by the loose morality and Kellerman's nauseating portrayal of Queen Elizabeth. I care about any of the characters, either, and I just couldn't subje...more
This novel has a mystery, some intrigue, love and adventure. It is set in Elizabethan England where Jews are banned from the country altogether. Rebecca Lopez and her family are conversos, Jewish in secret and Protestant in public. As it says in the back of the book, Rebecca disguises herself as a man so she has some freedom in her restricted life. She meets Shakspeare and adventure, mystery, intrigue abounds. Kellerman successfully describes Elizabethan England and society. Dialogue is realisti...more
This is an outstanding (and surprising) historical novel set in Elizabethan England, but focusing on the atrocities against Jews during the Spanish Inquisition. Faye Kellerman is mostly known for her fun but formulaic police procedurals. But you should read The Quality of Mercy for it's own merits. Kellerman has cleverly woven in a number of subplots, which I won't reveal as doing so would spoil the fun. Let's just say you're going to recognize all the players on the stage of this mini-epic.
Everything Faye Kellerman writes is amazing - I don't know how her husband garners all the fame. Even though his books are great, her's are even better.

This one is a definite departure from her standard detective mystery. As a Shakespeare lover and a fan of mysteries and histories, I felt it was a happy marriage of ideas. I can only hope she write more like this. It's definitely a book I will keep close and read again!
Jim Edmonds
I am re-reading this novel because I first read it several years ago and enjoyed it enormously! I am a long time reader of both Faye and Jonathan, so when I tried her historical novel I was a little apprehensive, but I was immediately engaged in the story. It is a well researched period mystery starring Will Shakespeare. We learn a lot concerning both every day life, and religious repression during Elizabethan times. Very enjoyable!
I have read a lot of Faye Kellerman's books and as I like historical fiction thought this would be a good read but I couldn't get into this book at all. I was quite disappointed. Others might find it enjoyable but it was not for me.

Back Cover Blurb:
1593: Elizabethan London seethes with political and religious intrigue, while across the sea thousands perish in the flames of the Spanish Inquisition. On the surface Roderigo Lopez, the Queen's physician, is a loyal subject of the Crown but secretly...more
Jen Mays
I looked forward to reading this with much anticipation since the description seemed so enticing: a defiant woman in 1600s London, involved with a group determined to rescue Jews at risk of being victimized by the Inquisition enraging Portugal and Spain, meets and has a love affair with William Shakespeare during his early years as an actor and playwright. Inquisition drama? Plague infestations? Shakespeare?? Yes please! Sadly, the experience didn't live up to the hope.

In this much-too-long nove...more
Bridgette Redman
Reading books such as Quality of Mercy make me glad that history has left certain mysteries unsolved. Centuries of creative speculation have created some incredibly enjoyable literary works both on paper and the screen.

Many of history’s mysteries revolve around the foremost playwright of the English language—William Shakespeare. Scholars have speculated for ages about who the dark lady of his sonnets were. They have also debated on whom he based his play “The Merchant of Venice,” for while today...more
This book is just awful! The plot, the characters, all of it! The language was also bizarre and really grated on my last nerve. There were so many random and unnecessary thees and thys that appear to be an attempt to come across as more historical.
Anita Greenfield
I couldn't decide between two stars and one. I was expecting to read a mystery, and often I felt as though I was in the middle of a soap opera. The whole mystery part of this book was sorely lacking. I think maybe Kellerman tried to do just a little too much with this book. There were just too many plot lines, and none of the plot lines received sufficient attention. This book might have been better if the author had chosen to stick to one genre instead of a combination of mystery, historical fi...more
Deby Depreta
This book could have been written in 200 less pages than the 580 it slogged through. The first 100 pages left me wanting to just abandon it altogether, although I didn't purely because I tend to tenaciousness in my reading habits. The historical context was more riveting than the tale woven of Shakespeare and his fictional mistress. The plot and its subplots, for the most part, were predictable. Some of the subplots strained credibility, even given that the story is fiction.
Faye Kellerman is a m...more
Not Faye Kellerman's best but a fun read - set in Elizabethan England - revolves around Wil Shakespeare and Rebecca Lopez, daughter of Queen Elizabeth's own physician. Shakespeare is searching for the murderer of his mentor. Rebecca Lopez and family are Spanish Jews, posing as Anglicans who practice their faith in secret and smuggle Jews out of Spain. The book revolves around Wil's search, Lopez's efforts to smuggle Jews to freedom, and Wil and Rebecca's romance with various twists and turns.

This book reminded me of the topic of the life and persecution of Jews in Renaissance Europe. I appreciated the reminder. As historical fiction it was ok, taking a few thin facts and weaving a somewhat implausible story around them. As a mystery it was weak, and as an imgined character portrait of William Shakespeare it fell completely flat. Too many bosums bursting from corsets, and not nearly enough interleaving of the insights and biting humor from The Bard.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The story is based on the life of a real person (Doctor Roderigo Lopez 1525-1594), a Jew, who became Queen Elizabeth I's "Physician-in-ordinary". Shakespeare is woven into the story along with the Doctor's daughter. The book would have been much better had Kellerman concentrated on the story of the doctor and his family and left out the part where Shakespeare tries to find his friend's murderer.
A good solid historical romp. And how could Shakespeare help but be dashing?
A murder mystery adventure story with William Shakespear as one of the two main protagonists sounds silly, and it's true that there are a few scenes in this book that stretch credibility. Overall though it's a very well written book with a good plot that moves steadily through every one of the 600+ pages. It does a really good job of setting the scene in Elizabethan England as well.
This is the only book I have read by Fay Kellerman, and I wonder where she found the time to research it. Doesn't she write at least one big fat modern mystery per year? Check out this deviation from her norm if you find yourself interested in what life might have been like for Jews in Elizabethan England, or if you ever daydreamed about meeting Shakespeare.
Pat Correia
Another great read...takes place during the Inquisition. A story of the conversos (Jews forced to keep their religion hidden in order to survive) being smuggled out of Spain and hiding in Britain. It's historical fiction with a well-known doctor of the times (Lopez) and William Shakespeare.
Dec 29, 2008 Corinne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction lovers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shakespeare's relationship with a young Jewish woman plunge them into a world of murder and political intrigue. Excellent read.

Kellerman is best known for her Decker/Lazarus novels but her historical fiction is very good. Try Straight Into Darkness set in Germany between the world wars.
Too much sex, torture and romance to my taste. It makes the reader turn into a voyeur and is not a book that betters you, but rather that lowers you, in my opinion. And one weird historical detail: I´m surprised that a servant would know about the 11 day difference in the calendars.
Koji Mukai
A mytery set in Elizabethan England, with Shakespeare as one of the main characters - it seemed like an appropriate book to read while travelling in England, but the two plot lines were never integrated, and the book was too rambling to be interesting.
Elizabethan escapade that packs in as much bawdiness and cruelty as possible along with adventure on the high seas, cross dressing, and Shakespeare as sleuth! Plus exploration of the life of Jews in Spain and England at the time.
Pulls no punches about the cruelty of the Inquisition or the grimness of Elizabethan London. Rebecca is an admirable heroine, and everyone will fall for this Will Shakespeare. I found this book thought-provoking and enjoyable.
This is a terrific read especially for those who wonder about Shakespeare--suppose the Merchant of Venice was based on a true story and you might get this novel--I could not put it down and have recommendedit to many.
This is my favorite book of all times! Romance, intrique, action, religion, torture, Shakespeare--all woven into the background of Elizabethan England and the Inquisitions. Beautifully written and well-researched.
I consider this piece of historical fiction to be Faye Kellerman's best work. It is a fanciful romp through Elizabethan England with none other than William Shakespeare leading the way.
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Faye Kellerman was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in Sherman Oaks, California. She earned a BA in mathematics and a doctorate in dentistry at UCLA., and conducted research in oral biology. Kellerman's groundbreaking first novel, THE RITUAL BATH, was published in 1986 to wide critical and commercial acclaim. The winner of the Macavity Award for the Best First Novel from the Mystery Readers...more
More about Faye Kellerman...
The Ritual Bath (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #1) Milk and Honey (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #3) Hangman (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #19) Sanctuary (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #7) Sacred and Profane (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #2)

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