The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett is a fictional mystery which I believe most book lovers will enjoy. The story is about a young widower named Peter who restores, sells, and collects old books. An introvert, Peter prefers the solace of working with “silent” partners as opposed to interacting with real people. While at college, he falls in love with a wealthy female classmate who loves and marries him in spite of his oddities.
After the death of his young wife, Peter discovers a watercolor bearing a striking resemblance to her tucked inside a book in a local shop in England. The discovery of the painting leads Peter on an unexpected treasure hunt in a completely different direction. While searching for the artist who painted the picture, he uncovers evidence of a manuscript which may provide proof positive that Shakespeare was without doubt, creator of all the works attributed to him.
A gripping mystery unfolds with a cast of feuding families which kept me on the edge of my reading chair. The story flits back and forth in time providing the origin of the rare Holy Grail Shakespearian manuscript Peter discovers and histories of past forgers who may have played a role in it. I found this aspect of the story somewhat confusing, but it all made sense in the end. This is a clever mystery which I enjoyed a great deal. Part of the story includes interesting information about the book restoration process in addition to the creation of forgeries. I liked that. Reading this novel made me want to visit a rare book shop in hopes of finding a treasure of my own!