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Monday, June 24, 2013

The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

The Bookman's Tale is an interesting mixture of mystery, romance, antiquarian books and booksellers, and forgery.  

Peter Byerly, a grieving widower, is trying to get on with his life by returning to his career and passion as an antiquarian bookseller.  In a small bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, tucked in an antique book a small watercolor is a watercolor that looks like his late wife. The portrait, however, is Victorian and signed only by initials.

In efforts to ascertain more information about the artist, he finds himself gradually more interested in his chosen field as well.  The small watercolor initiates a search that leads Peter back to books and their provenance...and to Shakespearean forgeries.

The novel has time shifts that illuminate Peter's background, especially his relationship with his wife; the Victorian period and the artist and model of the watercolor; and the provenance of a book that dates from Shakespeare's time and travels through one bookseller and book collector to another all the way to the present.

Interesting details:  
1)  Peter has a social anxiety that requires medication and still often curtails his ability to          mix easily with people.  
2  )The information about rare books and book preservation and book forgeries.

A perfect mystery for a booklover!

NetGalley/Penguin Group, Viking.

Mystery/Historical.  2013.  Print Version:  368 pages.
  • ISBN-10: 0670026476


  1. I just brought this one home from the library so was curious about it--booklovers book always is promising!

  2. This has got to be a must read for me. I visited Hay-on-Wye several years ago and loved it. It was a booklover's dream. Glad to hear you enjoyed the book!

  3. Danielle - The book details were what interested me the most, especially all the books that have been written about rare book forgeries!

    Iliana -- How neat that you have been to Hay-on-Wye! I imagine it would take quite a while to browse a book town!

  4. I have this one on hold at my library and I'm hoping (especially now) that it gets here soon.

    BTW, I felt like I was going to freeze at this "summer festival" in Hay-on-Wye one year. British weather...

  5. Oh, Sam, you are another lucky visitor to Hay-on-Wye!