About The Dark Lady’s Mask: A Novel of Shakespeare’s Muse
Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister in this novel of England’s first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare.
London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.
Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.
The Dark Lady’s Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.
FABULOUS book with a FIERCE female protagonist.
I love the way Sharratt depicted Aemilia Bassano Lanier. For those of you familiar with my reviews, you are aware of my affinity towards extremely strong and independent female characters, and believe me Aemilia is indeed strong. Her intelligence, instinct for survival and cunning nature allow her to remain resilient during the darkest of times. In the face of adversity this woman rises to the challenge, never crumbling, rather she deals with what is put in front of her to the best of her ability, often over achieving. She’s unconventional, compassionate, possessing unlimited talent. It’s a shame her romantic life was more misses than hits filled with heartbreak. The Weir sisters were a great addition to the story along with Shakespeare.
Riveting story, pulling at your heartstrings, of a woman ahead of her time in actions and thinking. Her thirst for freedom is intoxicating, truly a maverick.
Sharratt certainly painted a wonderful picture of an unforgettable woman and is now a favored author, I look forward to more from this authoress, with her outstanding ability to portray a woman of strength matched with intelligence I can only image what she will pen next.
MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.
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Publication Date: April 19, 2016 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt