The Bookman's Tale

The Bookman's Tale - Charlie Lovett Peter Byerly has always been shy and has always preferred the companionship of books to that of people. Introverted, bookish, socially inept and even slightly OCD he may be, but he is also smart, talented and knows almost everything there is to know about old books. We meet Peter shortly after his wife has died and just as he is starting to get his life back in order again. Not having had any interest in old books and bookstores since her passing he wanders into a shop in England and finds some mediocre examples of antique books. He is about to put one of them back on the shelf when a small water colour painting falls out from between the pages. Nothing unusual about that, people use all kinds of things as bookmarks – except this small 300+ year-old painting is the spitting image of he recently departed wife. This starts Peter off on what will turn out to be quite an interesting adventure.

This is a book for fans of a good love story mixed with mystery and adventure. If that sounds like a tall order, it usually is, and invariably one of the elements falls flat. That is not the case in this book. Through glimpses into the past the reader has drinks in a pub with William Shakespeare and his cronies. Through Peter’s memories of his courtship we meet his beloved wife and learn about a side of Peter that even he did not know existed. And because of the mysterious painting we read an adventurous who-dun-it as well. Throw in a little history about books themselves, a little information about book restoration and some famous forgeries and you have a book that appeals to anyone in love with books and reading.

Having read a non-fiction book about famous literary forgeries not too long ago I can safely say that Mr. Lovett did his research on that topic, so I can only assume other facts in his book as just as accurate. Makes it an even more interesting read.