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The Lady and the Poet

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  494 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Set against the sumptuousness and intrigues of Queen Elizabeth I's court, this powerful novel reveals the untold love affair between the famous poet John Donne and Ann More, the passionate woman who, against all odds, became his wife.

Ann More, the fiery and spirited daughter of the Mores of Loseley House in Surrey, came to London destined for a life at the court of Queen
Paperback, 504 pages
Published April 3rd 2009 by Pan Publishing (first published January 1st 2009)
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True love conquers all.....,

Or does it? Ann More comes to London to stay with her aunt and hopefully gain a position in the household of the aging Queen Elizabeth, although Ann's forthright nature is a bit of a hindrance and a slightly disgraced Ann is relegated to assisting in her aunt's household. Ann soon catches the eye of her uncle's secretary and erstwhile poet, John Donne, but she'll have none of him - at first. When the two eventually recognize the love they share they have an uphill
Tara Chevrestt
This was a very pleasant story and I enjoyed it despite its complete lack of excitement. It is just a love story. The lady is Lady Ann More, daughter to one ambitious George More who desires to marry her off to the man with the greatest title to his name. The poet is Master John Donne who holds no favor in her father's eyes. The two fall in love quite by accident. In the court of Elizabeth I, (Do not be fooled.. The Queen only has one brief appearance. This is not about Elizabeth.) the lady and ...more
Sally Ewan
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This was a serendipitous find, since we are reading Donne's poetry and Izaak Walton's biography of Donne as part of Dempsey's studies this term! This is the story of Ann More and Donne's relationship, of their love for one another in a time when most people married to better their social or economic situations. Having read his poetry ("He's a pervert!" was Dempsey's comment), I liked the author's portrayal of both people involved. She made them seem real to me. Her historical research and ...more
Roman Clodia
Jun 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really should have known better than to expect anything from a book with such a risible title so I guess it's my own fault that I disliked so much of this book. Ann More, the wife of John Donne, is one of those women of whom we know literally nothing and so it's an ideal opportunity for a fictional imagining of who she might have been. But Haran manages to be both incredibly clichéd and, for me, completely unconvincing in historical evocation, characterisation and, most of all, language and ...more
A. R.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it
When I started reading this, I thought it was going to be my favorite book of the year. Unfortunately the book didn't hold up. Haran did an excellent job with her style and language representing the 17th century. It was probably what I liked most about the book. I could feel the weight of the long skirts being covered in mud. I appreciated the older language in dialogue. And Haran created an engaging character in Ann More. The conversations between Ann More and John Donne were engaging. The ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the moment I opened the first page and read how Ann castigated her sister Bett for the disruption she had been put to in order to sweeten the house in preparation for Bett’s forthcoming wedding, I knew I was going to enjoy this book.

Ann More is the fourth of five motherless daughters brought up at the manor of Loseley, near Guildford in Surrey, by their grandparents, Sir William and the Lady Margaret More. Their brother, Robert, lives with his pompous father and shrewish step-mother,
Heather C
For some reason, something that I cannot really put my finger on, it took me a long time to decide I was in the mood to read this book. I think that part of it was the fact that I truly had no idea who John Dunne was, besides the fact that he was a poet. Secondly, because I knew he was a poet, and I really don’t like reading poetry, I likely steered away from this because I was intimidated by the possibly of needing to read poetry. If you are like I was, I want to reassure you that you don’t ...more
I remember reading some of John Donne's early stuff, his lady-hating stuff, way back in my sophomore year of college. It was sort of jerky, and misogynistic, and didn't do it for me. I couldn't remember what I knew about his personal life, whether he was married, or the fact that he began life Catholic at a time when that was dangerous. But this is all from the point of view of a lady who knew him, and that's where the story gets interesting. Because I couldn't remember, it made the suspense of ...more
Nancy Mastro
May 31, 2010 rated it liked it
I picked up the novel in hopes of learning more about poet John Donne, and it did not disappoint. Admittedly, the book started slowly for felt too much like a romance novel, which I detest. But after 100 pages or so it began to hook me, so I continued. What I liked about the novel is what appears to be its historical accuracy, as well as a realistic picture of life in the 1500s. The lack of women's rights, the punitive government and police intrusion into private affairs, and the high ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book could have been great if it were about a third shorter.

It felt slow especially at the start --- the title couple don't even meet until around chapter 7. While I appreciate the character development that went into Ann, the main conflict should have been introduced sooner and their initial became tiresome. The social and parental obstacles were enough that it wasn't necessary to waste a lot of time on infighting.

Also, if we are reducing, take out most of the similes. They were
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed with this. I kept waiting for something to crack but it never happened. Clever use of John Donne's poetry to parallel their relationship, but then I'm a fan anyway. Interesting use of local locations and I learnt that John and Ann Donne lived in Pyrford Manor when they were first married. I've stayed there too. Long after it was a Hammer Horror Films location and long before it was pulled down to become luxury flats on the banks of the river. Clever use of Elizabethan cliches, ...more
Tudor Book Blog
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Tudor Book Blog Book Review (

*Warning, there are several spoilers in this review!


This novel is centered around Lady Ann More, and focuses on the last years of Elizabeth I's reign. Ann is a young girl, about 14, who is one of four daughters to Sir George More and niece to Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Keeper of the Seal. She meets John Donne, a poet and secretary to Ann's uncle, the Lord Keeper. The two fall in love and eventually marry in secret, much to
Pat Jorgenson Waterchilde
An interesting read. Ms. Haran fictionalized the love story of Ann More and John Doone. Set in the later years of Queen Elizabeth I, the author captures the spirit and culture of England in the 16th century. Ann's love for John was forbidden by her father yet she defied him and they secretly married.
Based on a true story, I enjoyed the writing style and historical context. If you enjoy reading about England's Middle Ages, this may be a good novel for you.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
My favorite kind of book: historical fiction based on a true story. Although the one person we actually know a bit about (John Donne), kind of seemed like a flat character in this book. But otherwise: loved it.
Carly Thompson
This is one of the best books that I have read recently. The Lady and the Poet is a fictionalized account of the courtship of the poet John Donne and his wife Ann Moore. Narrated by Ann, this is believable romance and historically accurate (at least to this non-historian)depiction of the late Elizabethan Era. I liked that Haran created a character in Ann who was strong, determined, and willing to risk her high social status for love without making the mistake that many historical fiction writers ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
‘We are twin souls, you and I.’

I enjoyed this novel. Not so much for what it tells me, but more for where it takes me.

Ann More, fourth daughter of George More, and her sisters are brought up by their grandparents in 16th century England (near Guildford in Surrey) after their mother dies. Their father and his second wife, together with their brother live nearby.

Ann, who is fourteen when this story opens, hopes for a better fate than her sisters: married off by her father in the interests of
Suzette Kunz
Mar 22, 2010 rated it liked it
I wish I liked this book more than I did. It's historical fiction about the relationship between John Donne and Ann Moore. I guess the things I liked about it were the detail about life at the time and showing the implications of marrying outside your families wishes as she did. The thing I didn't like is her portrayal of John Donne. Yes, the story is about Ann and told from her perspective,but I felt like John was a very flat character and he was the whole reason I wanted to read it. Here's the ...more
The author's passion for Donne certainly shines through in her imagined account of the relationship between John Donne & his wife Ann More; her inclusion of Donne's poetry unfortunately eclipses the contents of her own storytelling.

Whilst easy to read & a pleasant way of passing away the day, I failed to be drawn into the world of Elizabethan England despite the obvious efforts of the author into projecting that era's historical reality. The narrative is disjointed at times and the
Marthe Bijman
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Many excellent “Künstlerromane” have recently been published – Jane Jakeman’s “In the Kingdom of Mists”, about Claude Monet, and “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, by Tracy Chevalier, about Johannes Vermeer. Haran’s “The Lady and the Poet”, about Elizabethan poet John Donne and his wife, Ann More, compares well to others in this category. Haran has written an engaging, eloquent imagining of their contentious love affair and their struggle against the class inequalities that typified 16th century ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book at the Dollar Tree and was pleasantly surprised. Usually books from the Dollar Tree are not good. I read one that was alright, but I also read one that had a horrible ending. This one was stellar. It is the love story of John Donne and his wife, Ann More. I enjoyed reading it because Ann is such a fiery spirited character who defied conventions of her time and family, especially when they kept her from her beloved John. I also enjoyed the love between John and Ann and how John ...more
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
Holy Sonnet 17

Since she whom I loved hath paid her last debt
To Nature, and to hers, and my good is dead,
And her soul early into heaven ravishèd,
Wholly on heavenly things my mind is set.
Here the admiring her my mind did whet
To seek thee, God; so streams do show the head;
But though I have found thee, and thou my thirst hast fed,
A holy thirsty dropsy melts me yet.
But why should I beg more love, whenas thou
Dost woo my soul, for hers offering all thine:
And dost not only fear lest I allow
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have always loved John Donne's poetry and was thrilled when I heard about The Lady and the Poet which is the love story of John Donne and Anne More. I have had the book for a while but saved it for my Valentine's Day read. The story of John Donne and Anne More is one of those star-crossed-lovers stories. Donne was the randy, man-about-town of late Elizabethan London, and Anne More was the daughter of Sir George More. During a time when fathers chose and negotiated their daughters' marriages, ...more
Sep 04, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a historical fiction novel that takes place in Elizabethan England and centers on the real-life romance between the poet John Donne and Ann Moore. Ann is part of the nobility and is expected to marry into her class, and perhaps higher, to increase the status of her family. However, she falls in love with the relatively poor, poet John Donne, who comes from humble beginnings and is rumored to be a Catholic. I enjoyed this story, as it gave me lots of great insights into Elizabethan ...more
Gail Richmond
Aug 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Thoughtfully researched and written to integrate the poems of John Donne and the speech of Elizabethan England, The Lady and the Poet is the tale of the life and romance of Ann More, John Donne's young wife who died in childbirth after twelve children and only fourteen years of marriage. More's wealthy family played significant roles in the court of Queen Elizabeth, and Ann went against her family's wishes and her training to marry Donne. Much is known of Donne, and yet there is little extant in ...more
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
While visiting Losely Place and Gardens outside of Godalming, England recently, the tour guide revealed that one of the residents of this grand home, Ann More, refused to marry her father's choice and secretly married poet John Donne. As a fan of Donne's poetry, the story intrigued me enough to read this historical fictional novel of their love story. It was definitely a good read of a remarkable headstrong, well-educated young woman of the late 14th century who followed her heart to marry her ...more
I was looking for a novel that would tell me a bit more about John Donne's life. This one is well written but reads too much like a romance for me to completely love it. The focus is on his wife Anne, and since little is known of her I was disappointed in the mostly fictional part of her story. I was looking for more fact. I also didn't get that much of a "feel" for the time period involved, which is the end of Gloriana's reign.
Still, I did not feel as if I had wasted my reading time! I just
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book and found that once I had got started I couldn't put it down. The story follows Ann who is a very headstrong girl/woman and her relationship with not only the poet John Donne which is mentioned on the back of the book and in the title, but also the relationship with her family. It was an interesting story to read and even though it is set in the reign on Elizabeth I it is little mentioned apart from every now and again so it does not follow the strong relationship ...more
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is one of those books where I feel like anything I write is not going to do it justice, so I'll make it brief. This is a thoroughly romantic read of historical fiction about the love between two people who each give up much in their lives to be together. John Donne, a poet falls in love with a lady, Ann Moore. Some of Donne's poems are found throughout the novel, giving deeper understanding to their meaning as the story unravels. This is one of the most romantic pieces of fiction that I've ...more
The most impressive thing about this novel is the writing style. Maeve Haran easily captures something similar to the prose and diction of the Elizabethan age that she is writing about, and this helps to convey the aspects and mood of the story better 21st century style would have. Ann is a likable, believable and relatable character and Haran's portrait of Donne makes it very easy to believe that she would have risked all to be with him. there are a few slow points here and there, but in ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 14, 2015 11:08AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Lady and the Poet by Maeve Haran 2 8 Jan 14, 2015 11:52PM  

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Maeve Haran is an Oxford Law graduate who worked in journalism and television before writing her first novel, Having It All, a worldwide bestseller translated into 26 languages, and turned into a miniseries in Korea. She wrote eight more contemporary novels, one work of non-fiction, and three years ago began to write historical fiction. Her first historical novel, The Lady and the Poet dramatized ...more