Christa Seeley's Reviews > Mr. Shakespeare's Bastard

Mr. Shakespeare's Bastard by Richard B. Wright
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's review
Jan 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: own, 2011, canlit, genre-historical-fiction
Read in April, 2011 — I own a copy

Arlene just wants to write down her story. Her mother, driven out of town by her numerous scandals, ends up in London where she meets a young actor named William. They begin seeing each other regularly but before she knows it she's pregnant and since William is already married, she must move back home to live with her brother and his wife. Years later, that child, Arlene Ward, goes back to London determined to find her father, the now famous playwright, William Shakespeare. Told by Arlene in her old age, to the mistress of the home where she works, Arlene wonders if anyone will believe her.
I enjoyed the narrative voice of this story – a women telling her mother's story (as as a result her story) in her own old age. It gave a sort of authority to the telling making it seem very believable. The historical detail was also incredibly intricate. I had to appreciate the amount of work and research Richard B. Wright would have had to put into this novel. My only real problem with this book was that the pacing was a bit slow. It weighs in at only 341 pages but at times it feels a lot longer. Since it is a story of someone telling a story some parts feel a little repetitive or over described. Other than that though the characters are heart warming, the setting is beautifully depicted and the story is unique.
If you're a fan of historical fiction you will probably enjoy this book. It really is beautifully written and Richard B. Wright is a brilliant story teller. If you do decide to pick it up, take your time reading it, you'll appreciate it more and this book deserves the attention.

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