In a quiet manor house in Oxfordshire, an ailing housekeeper by the name of Aerlene Ward feels that she must now confess the great secret that has shaped her life: she is the illegitimate daughter of William Shakespeare, England’s most famous playwright.
With a brilliant eye and ear for this rich period of history, Richard B. Wright brings to life the teeming streets of Elizabethan London and the seasonal rhythms of rural life in Oliver Cromwell’s England as he interweaves the intriguing stories of the lovely Elizabeth, who allows herself to be seduced by a struggling young writer from Stratford, and her plain but clever daughter, who must live with the consequences. As their lives unfold, secrets are revealed, love is found and lost, and futures are forever changed. Readers will be fascinated by glimpses of the young Will as an actor with the Queen’s Men and, fifteen years later, as a world-weary but increasingly wealthy playwright—who may have had an unexpected daughter. An engaging blend of invention and historical detail, and echoing the unmistakable style of the Bard himself, Mr. Shakespeare’s Bastard confirms Wright as one of our finest storytellers. This unforgettable novel will delight the senses and touch the heart.
Praise for Richard B. Wright’s Mr. Shakespeare’s Bastard:
Shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Canada and Caribbean Best Book
“A writer of insatiable curiosity and intelligence who just happens to have perfect pitch for dialogue and nuance. These qualities have made Richard Wright one of Canada’s top literary talents and Mr. Shakespeare’s Bastard yet another total delight to read.” —The Toronto Star
“An immensely entertaining romp … Lizzy’s story and Aerlene’s story are wonderfully funny and suspenseful and absorbing … Wright is a gifted storyteller and in Mr. Shakespeare’s Bastard he’s at his absolute storytelling best.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“Wright’s gifts as a novelist, notably here his ability to craft extraordinarily believable female characters, remain in full swing, as do his eternal interests, including his intense exploration of his characters’ interior lives … Mr. Shakespeare’s Bastard is a smartly paced, lively and Shakespearean story of the many-splendoured varieties of love … Throughout this lovely novel, Linny, the plain daughter of a pretty mother, shows her resemblance to her father in everything from the cast of her brow to her insight into the human heart.” —Maclean’s
“A masterful novel … confirms his ability to evoke an authentically female sensibility.” —The Montreal Gazette
“Wright gives the reader the gift of a gorgeously portrayed 17th century London … its hustle and bustle, its dastardly thieves and its crowded marketplaces are vividly recreated in this captivating novel. Wright is such a lovely writer; his story unfolds and before you know it, you’re hooked. The glimpses of Shakespeare are irresistible … Wright’s characters are splendid. This little novel lives up to Wright’s previous successes and gives readers a delightful foray into England in the 17th century.” —The Vancouver Sun
Length: 288 pp
Australian/New Zealand rights, HarperCollins Australia
Canadian rights, HarperCollins Canada
Turkish rights, Pegasus
For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
||Richard B. Wright is the author of twelve novels and a book for children. His fiction has been published in Canada, the U.S. and Europe and has won various awards including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the City of Toronto Book Award, the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction.