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The Gentleman Poet: A Novel of Love, Danger, and Shakespeare's The Tempest
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The Gentleman Poet: A Novel of Love, Danger, and Shakespeare's The Tempest

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  96 reviews
En route to the Americas in 1609, Elizabeth Persons, a young servant girl, sees her blinding headache as an ominous sign. Sure enough, a hurricane during the final leg of their journey tosses the ill-fated Sea Venture and its one hundred and fifty passengers and crew onto the dreaded shores of the Bermudas, the rumored home of evil spirits and dangerous natives. In the mon ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published August 27th 2010)
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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  350 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Heather C
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This novel has it all: adventure, Shakespeare, romance, survival, sadness. The story of the shipwreck of the Sea Venture and the subsequent survival of its crew is fascinating and told in engrossing detail. You will certainly be hard-pressed to put this book down. It is a fast read that can be finished in one day and leaves you wanting to know more.

The story is told from the first person of Elizabeth and you feel all of her fear, frustrations and sadness. We get to experience through her the ter
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roy Murry
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Before I decided to work with Kathryn on my book, I read The Gentleman Poet.

Romance Novels are not my thing and she was going to help me with my True Crime/Autobiographical novel to clean it up for publishing and I read mostly courtroom drama. I was looking for a match for my book and I found one in Kathryn, who is a good example of well rounded author.

Needles to say I read The Gentleman Poet before I new existed and my novel was not yet pub
Erika Robuck
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Apparently, some historians and scholars believe Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, was based on the real shipwreck of the Sea Venture in Bermuda as it made its way to Jamestown. Because there were no records of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon or London at the time of the wreck, Kathryn Johnson wondered what if the playwrite did leave his native shores? Using true ship records, quotes from plays, and words from Shakespeare himself, Johnson creates a compelling story of the awakening of a young ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Persons is a serving girl during the year 1609. She and the strict women she is in service to, travel to Jamestown aboard a ship known as the Sea Venture . During the journey a hurricane nearly destroys the ship, and just as all hope is lost land is spotted. Instead of being Jamestown, the 150 passengers aboard the vessel find themselves stranded on the Bermudas.........In the months that follow Elizabeth witnesses and experiences hardships, danger, adventure, mutiny, and even love. B ...more
Jun 12, 2011 rated it liked it
For lovers of Shakespeare, The Tempest, historical fiction, early America... very well-done. Kathryn Johnson tries not to emulate or reimagine famous historical events, but instead fits her story in- between the cracks of what we do know about Shakespeare and the early years of American colonization. While the skeptic in me knows this probably isn't what really happened, I would so love to believe that it did. As pure storytelling, Johnson satisfies. Her characters are full of quirks and faults ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fun book to read. Just as advertised it has a shipwreck, deception, tragedy and Shakespeare. Although if you're looking to this book exclusively for Shakespeare, keep in mind that he's actually a secondary character and isn't in it as much as you'd think. It can get a bit boring in spots and the main character isn't anything to write home about but it's an easy read and perfect for travel.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting, light read.
Tia Bach
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Gentleman Poet is as engaging as the author herself. Kathryn Johnson came to our book club to share her passion for this lovely novel, and she was interesting and enthusiastic. I liked the novel the first time, but even more after listening to her (thus, the 4.5). She has written over 40 novels under various pen names, but this is the first she published under her own name. Although marketed as adult historical fiction, the book has also been embraced by the young adult audience winning the ...more
Nov 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Oh to be stranded on a balmy island with William Shakespeare. Immediately, one thinks of The Tempest - with its sorcery and monsters and being at the mercy of elements.

In 1609, a raging tempest deposits the Venture and its passengers onto an island in the Bermudas. Shipwrecked and far from civilization and the constraints of London society, the passengers struggle to maintain order and rules. For young servant girl, Elizabeth, it is a chance to use her gift for herbs and cooking and discover a
Eirene Ritznore
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: list-for-2013
I do not quite know how to review this book. There were parts of it that completely captured me. The tumultuous storm at sea and subsequent ship wreck were vivid. The difficulties faced on the island which the shipmates were marooned on were very real. I could easily envision exactly what Miranda saw each day, either while in the hut with Mistress Horton or seated on the dunes with Willian Strachey or cooking in her little hut removed from the settlement and facing the sea- the translucent, ceru ...more
Jennifer Rayment
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Good Stuff

* Extremely well researched!!
* Fresh and entertaining
* Absorbing, it took me a few reads of the first few pages, but after that I did not want to put it down
* It makes me want to read The Tempest by Shakespeare
* Wonderfully descriptive without being too flowery or polite.
* The description of the storm is fantastically real you almost feel seasick
* Loved the metamorphosis of the main character -- brilliantly done
* Wonderful ending

The Not so Good Stuff

* Would have liked a bi
Patricia O'Sullivan
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
After a violent storm separates their battered ship from a fleet carrying settlers and provisions to Jamestown Colony, the one hundred and fifty passengers of the Sea Venture take refuge on the island of Bermuda. Among them are Elizabeth Persons, a lady’s maid with a gift for cooking, and Will Strachey, a gentleman who claims to be the ship’s historian, but who does little more than sit on the beach scribbling in his journal while the other men labor to build a new ship from the wreckage of the ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Spoilers!! Do not click read more if you don't want to know!!!


Spoilers Below...

Maybe if I'd read The Tempest I wouldn't have had my heart ripped open but I didn't so it did. I don't think Thomas' death was necessary and while I saw it coming right before it happened I denied it up until the very moment she sees the blood. This loss was akin to the death of Prim though not as horrific.

I was shocke
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
I believe people who are fans of Shakespeare will get a big kick out of Kathryn Johnson’s The Gentleman Poet. This is a well written story that has a lot of historical detail, including 17th century recipes!

The heroine is a relatively educated (for the time period and her station in life) servant girl, named Elizabeth Persons. In 1609 Elizabeth travels with her mistress from England to the Jamestown Colony. Their voyage on the Sea Venture is a disaster and they end up washed ashore in Bermuda.

Betty Strohecker
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable tale of a ship caught in a hurricane on its way to America in 1609. Servant girl Elizabeth Persons has a premonition in the form of a severe headache which is followed by a storm-tossed sea which wrecks the ship on the shore of the Bermudas. Elizabeth is caught up in trying to please the woman she serves, following the captain's orders, and an attraction to the ship's young cook. Trying to survive on this land rumored to possess evil spirits and dangerous natives is a challe ...more
Kate Vale
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author took me by the hand and tossed me onto the good ship Sea Venture. Her descriptions were so vivid as to give me a taste of sea-sickness as the storm battered the ship and the people until they finally made it to land on some uninhabited islands. Thank goodness Elizabeth knew herbs and how to use them to make otherwise dreadful meals more palatable. Her friendship with Will--is he really Shakespeare in hiding?--was a delight to vicariously experience and reminded me of other unorthodox ...more
An engaging read. Desert island story meets love story meets mysterious Shakespearean figure.

The Tempest just happens to be one of my favourite plays. This novel ponders whether a certain W.S. could have been on an ill-fated voyage to the New World in 1609 that wound up in the Bermudas after a terrible storm. I won't say much more, except to report that the characters are finely drawn, especially our heroine, Elizabeth Miranda Persons, the cook Thomas Powell, and the intriguing "historian" who
Erica Robinson
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book for a book group and have yet to go to the discussion, but wanted to get out my impressions before they were convoluted by others' opinions :) So, this book was good, but not great. It was engaging and I read it pretty quickly but I really thought it lacked the well-rounded perspective of a satisfying historical fiction novel! When I read historical fiction, I want to learn something! The lack of details and historical information and fairly narrow focus on the romantic relation ...more
Jan 15, 2011 rated it liked it
A fleet of ships sailing from England to America is caught in a violent storm. All ships are lost but one, which ends up on the Bermuda islands. They survive their, quite well, while they build a ship to go the rest of the way to Jamestown. Perhaps William Shakespeare is one of the passengers, under a disguised name, getting out of England because of trouble someone can cause him with the queen. Lots of backlash against catholics at this time.

Elizabeth Miranda is a servant girl, working for Miss
Allison Thurman
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
A historical romance, perhaps, but not of the conventional sense - it's also a tale of the survivors of the shipwreck of the Sea Venture, who lived on Bermuda for nearly a year before finally getting to Virginia. The research is solid, with a lot about the everyday necessities of life: shelter, food (lots of historical recipes), personal safety.

The plot rolls along (mostly) nicely; I delete one star because the ending felt rushed to me. I enjoyed Elizabeth Persons' discovering her ability to sur
Michelle Sampson
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love the plot of this story: young girl treks across the Atlantic and is shipwrecked along with all passengers and crew. It is the early 1600's, she is a servant without many options, and she has suffered a great deal of loss for her 19 years. She meets another passenger who claims to be the ships historian and is contantly writing in a journal. He seems familiar but she can't place him (although just reading the back will provide you with enough clues). I appreciate the liberties the author t ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Enroute to the Americas in 1609, Elizabeth, a young servant girl, sees her blinding headache as an ominous sign. Sure enough, a hurricane during the final leg of their journey tosses the ill-fated ship the Venture and its passengers/crew onto the shores of the Bermudas. In the months that follow, they deal with hardship, mutiny, adventure, danger . . . and a little romance. Elizabeth despairs of their ever being rescued, but she finds hope and strength in a new friendship with the ships historia ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm very impressed with the writing style of this. It does not feel like a debut at all, but like it is written by a very experienced and established author. Very well done.

The year is 1609 and a young woman, Elizabeth, is a servant to a cruel witch of a lady aboard a ship sailing from England to the new colony, Virginia. A storm causes them to be shipwreched in the Bermudas where they wash up on a little island and proceed to build a little camp of sorts, attempt to maintain law and order, an
Mar 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
Interesting twist on some historical fiction -- there really was a boat that sailed from England to bring supplies to the Jamestown, VA settlement that was shipwrecked in Bermuda. And the exact whereabouts of Shakespeare at that time are uncertain -- he wasn't in London or in Stratford. Johnson places the bard on board the ill-fated ship, traveling under the alias of William Strachey (who was in fact the ship's historian) in this tale narrated by a young servant girl. It is while on the island t ...more
Ona Porchswing
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Even a scholar in English Maritime history should enjoy Kathryn Johnson's take on the 1609 shipwreck of the Sea Venture, one vessel in a fleet headed for America and the rocky shores of Jamestown. I'll not offer a thorough synopsis as so many reviewers have already done so, but will say that A Gentleman Poet was a pleasant, enjoyable read; a perfect throw-in-your-bag vacation tale, sure to delight anyone who fancies historical fiction and does so for entertainment. In this tale, the Sea Venture ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathryn Johnson
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
In the interest of honesty, this is one of my books. That is, it's one I wrote because I was fascinated with a Shakespearean legend about Shakespeare's writing of The Tempest. As soon as it was available in print, I reread it because I wanted the story fresh in my mind. It had been over a year since the manuscript left my hands. These many years later after its publication, I still love the fantasy of imagining where Shakespeare might have been, and what he might have been doing during the years ...more
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Bennett
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
An enjoyable read if an unlikely historical novel. What are the odds that William Shakespeare would travel to the American colony of Jamestown in order to escape a vengeful fellow playwright? However, the pairing of Shakespeare's The Tempest with a fictionalized account of a shipwreck in the Bermudas was engaging.

I was somewhat bored with the love story--it seems like nearly every book I've read recently features a woman who is too emotionally scarred or froward to be in a relationship and a str
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Kathryn Johnson is the author of over 40 published novels under a variety of pen names. Most of her contemporary novels now being written under her own name, while she writes historical fiction as Mary Hart Perry, on Goodreads as well.
When Kathryn isn't working on her own novels, she loves teaching at The Writer's Center in the Washington, DC area and mentoring other writers at http://www.WriteBy