Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Spotlight On Carolyn Meyer

Name: Carolyn Meyer
Birth: June 8, 1935 in Lewistown, Pennsylvania
Bio: Grew up loving to read and write. Since adulthood has published around 50 books.
Recent bibliography:
Loving Will Shakespeare (2006)
Marie, Dancing (2005)
Patience, Princess Catherine (2004)
Doomed Queen Anne (2002)
Beware, Princess Elizabeth (2001)
Mary, Bloody Mary (1999)
White Lilacs (1993)

I have already reviewed one of Meyer's books, Loving Will Shakespeare, but I will repost a bit of that review to refresh everyone's memory. It is one of the best books I've read this year.


Told from Anne Hathaway's perspective, LOVING WILL SHAKESPEARE, is her memoir of sorts. Using the framework of her just having received a letter from her husband in 1611, the rest of the book is her recollection of her life up until that point...a sharing of sorts with the reader of how the then-famous Shakespeare had become her husband. Starting with her early childhood she recounts what life was like growing up in a rural village. Meyer provides the reader with a detailed, believable setting. For example, there are certain historical facts that most readers are intellectually aware of to some extent about this time period...the various plagues that were capable of appearing at any time and destroying entire communities and the ongoing struggle both politically and socially of Catholics and Protestants. But Meyer brings these two issues to life in her book. Anne loses not only her mother to the plague, but twenty years later she loses her fiance to the disease as well. And while none of the major plot lines revolve around religion, many of the minor ones do. As far as romance is concerned, Meyer presents a story where two people who have grown up in the same community become friends over a period of time and their friendship deepens and ripens when Shakespeare is beginning to come of age. It is an intellectual, mutual attraction of minds AND bodies when the time comes. That the young man later falls more in love with the stage and writing breaks her heart, but she accepts what crumbs she's given at that point. And although LOVING WILL SHAKESPEARE is a more romantic portrayal or perspective of "what might have been" is well grounded in that her characters are well-developed. Each character has strengths and weaknesses.

I plan on posting two more reviews of Meyer's books this week: Mary, Bloody Mary and Beware, Princess Elizabeth.

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