I was about to select a book on NetGalley when I realised I had one from earlier in the year that I had forgotten to read. I don’t know how this oversight happened, but I’ve now read Who REALLY Wrote Shakespeare by David Lawrence-Young.
Here is the book blurb.
“William Shakespeare was a con man! A faker and a forger!” With these words from a fellow lecturer ringing in his ears, university lecturer, Daniel Ryhope, sets off on a quest to uncover the truth: Did Shakespeare really write Shakespeare?
Joined by his wife and two friends, Daniel begins the search: analyzing and sifting through information on writers and dramatists who were alive during the Shakespearean era. How could it be that the writer of the greatest works in English came from a small market town? Did the creator of Hamlet and Macbeth have to be rich and well-educated? Was Shakespeare a cover-name for an anonymous aristocratic playwright? Did Shakespeare have connections at court? Was the writer really a woman? Was it possible that the plays were written by a team?
In true detective fashion, Daniel and his friends investigate all the possible options and theories. In the end, they announce their conclusion, appropriately enough, in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.
Using sources from far and wide, D. Lawrence-Young has written a fascinating novel of detection which throws much light on the perennial question: Who Really Wrote Shakespeare?
The blurb really attracted me to this book. I have to say that it had never occurred to me that someone else may have written Shakespeare’s plays and I was fascinated by the idea. Was the famous bard really who he said he was? The story is fictional but it references many earlier works as this question has been debated for over 200 years.
The story starts with fellow lecturer Anna stating that Shakespeare was a fraud. How could the son of a Stratford glovemaker write so well about things he hadn’t experienced first-hand like other countries, battles and sea-storms? History lecturer Daniel decides to try to find out whether Shakespeare really did write his plays and sonnets or was it someone else. He enlists the help of his friend and fellow history lecturer Mike. Soon Jenny, another history lecturer and also Mike’s girlfriend joins in. And later on, Daniel’s wife Beth gets in on the act too. There seems to be a wealth of material on the topic in the university library plus sources online. And I like how Daniel utilises his students too.
It is done in a Poirot detective style with them investigating each other possible candidate in turn. I loved how it is broken down into manageable chunks, with them stopping each session because it is time for favourite TV show or they are hungry, etc. I felt it was written in a style that many of us might write in. It made me feel that there could be a book in more of us than we realise.
I loved this book especially the conclusion reached. And it even had me looking up the question on Wikipedia myself afterwards.
David Lawrence-Young is a prolific author who has spent the last forty-five years teaching History and English. In addition to Who Really Wrote Shakespeare, he has written sixteen other novels – and many more magazine articles – about travelling and history, indicating not only his wealth of knowledge about these subjects, but his love of them too. Follow Lawrence-Young’s blog for more fascinating insights into the life and work of the famous bard.
Who REALLY Wrote Shakespeare is available on Amazon, currently priced at 99p on Kindle. I highly recommend this book, an intriguing, historical detective novel.
Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I received for free. All opinions are my own.