Sunday, 4 August 2013
Shakespeare's Mistress by Karen Harper
When Queen Elizabeth's men come looking for William Shakespeare - a rumoured Catholic in a time of Catholic-Protestant intrigue and insurrection - they first question a beautiful, dark-haired woman who seems to know the famous playwright very well. Too well.
She is Anne Whateley, born in Temple Grafton, a small town just up the river from Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. And as church records show - were anyone to look for them - Anne Whateley was wed to William Shakespeare in a small country church just days before he married another woman, Anne Hathaway, who has lived as his wife for decades.
In SHAKESPEARE'S MISTRESS, Anne Whateley - who may or may not be Will's true wife - tells her story. Stretching almost fifty years, from the rural villages of Warwickshire to the bustling city of London, with its teeming streets and lively theatres, it's a story of undying passion, for life, love, and literature.
I picked this up randomly in my local Library and am I glad that I did. I gave it an 8/10.
This is the story of Anne Rosaline Whateley, who if we are to believe certain facts and this fictional account of her life was the first Mrs William Shakespeare.
In this book Karen Harper has done some research into the mystery about whether or not Anne Whateley actually existed and has woven a fictional tale about the relationship of William Shakespeare and Anne Whateley. In this book Harper makes it look like William shared his life between the two Anne's. Anne Whateley became his London wife so to speak while Anne Hathaway became his rural wife. He seemed to find a balance in his life for the both of them.
Anne Whateley appears to be his soulmate and might have been the basis of several characters in his plays and verses. Personally I felt sorry for Anne Whateley and feel that if William had more of a backbone that he would not have married Anne Hathaway. Anne Whateley even helped to transcribe some of his writing for him in this story due to a problem with his hand/arm.
The book is well written and is a fairly credible and believable account of what could have been and might have been.