The Gentleman Poet

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The Gentleman Poet

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

Elizabeth Person is sailing to the Jamestown, Virginia, with her mistress when a blinding headache comes, always a warning sign of danger. Storms beset the ships, ending with the company shipwrecked in the Bermudas. Elizabeth befriends the ship's scribe,William Strachey,  and is wooed by the ship's cook, Thomas Powell. Elizabeth discovers that William is not all he seems, it turns out he is William Shakespeare, fleeing powerful enemies in London. Elizabeth convinces William to write a play to help entertain the shipwrecked company while they rebuild the ship to continue their trip. Elizabeth and William must both decide if they will let the ghosts of their past destroy their future, or if they will take steps into a new and exciting life.

What is The Tempest was based on a real experience in William Shakespeare's life? "The Gentleman Poet" by Kathryn Johnson explores that very premise. I was familiar with The Tempest but it had never been one of my favorite Shakespeare works before, but Kathryn Johnson's book awakened a new appreciation for the story. With a well-written plot, interesting characters, and lots of intrigue and romance, "The Gentleman Poet" breathes new life into an old classic.

Book Blurb for The Gentleman Poet

Many scholars believe one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, The Tempest, was inspired by a shipwreck and true tale of survival that captured the imagination of 17th-century London. But what if the greatest playwright of all time didn’t simply read about the wreck of the Sea Venture off the Bermuda coast? What if Will was on board, fleeing powerful enemies, daring one last great adventure near the troubled end of his career?

Elizabeth Persons’ blinding headaches are an ominous sign, one she knows well as a warning of danger. The young servant girl is one of 150 passengers who survive a terrifying hurricane then struggle ashore in the Bermudas, rumored home to evil spirits. Despairing of rescue, Elizabeth and the others make their home on the uninhabited island for nine long months while they build a new ship to complete their voyage to Jamestown, Virginia. While there, love blossoms between Elizabeth and the young ship’s cook, and she befriends a mysterious old man.

Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2010 4.50