I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
Aemilia Bassano grew up in Queen Elizabeth's court. She later becomes mistress to a much older Lord Hunsdon, the son of Mary Boleyn. Lord Hunsdon takes Aemilia to a play where she meets a young playwright, Will Shakespeare. From the moment they meet, an anger and passion envelop both Aemilia and Will, and their love affair begins. Shakespeare wrote of a Dark Lady... this tells of how dark Aemilia really might have been.
I devoured this book! I was thrown into Shakespearean London with a force. There were engaging and very real descriptions of the city, houses, dress, characters and even the plague. Aemilia's character felt raw and real. She is described as a proto-feminist of her time and I felt connected to her cause to become a published and recognized poet and writer. While some of the steps she takes to get there are brash, I think it just adds to the excitement of the story. There is quite a bit of lewd language and erotic romance, which I'm usually not that into; however, it works for me and makes Aemilia more down to Earth. There is a thread of the supernatural that is worked into the story, witchcraft is a theme throughout. At first I thought it was just being used as part of everyday Elizabethan society, but it is taken farther by Aemilia in her quest to save her son from the plague and later to be known as a writer. It seems almost unnecessary, but ends up tying in nicely with the story of Macbeth. As an added bonus for me, I enjoyed learning about Aemilia Bassano-Lanyer; a real woman in history who may have played an important role in many of Shakespeare's writings.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.