London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women. The Dark Lady’s Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.
The Dark Lady’s Mask is intriguing, especially because it is based on a true historical person who knew Shakespeare. Aemilia was a writer herself, a poet who could read Greek and Latin. Most fascinating of all is that she often wore male clothing and was well traveled. In Mary Sharratt's novel, the premise is that she was not only Shakespeare's lover, but also his muse. Although no one will ever know the secrets of their relationship. this book was a great imagining of a possible love story between the two writers. Mary Sharratt writes lovely, easy to enjoy, luscious prose which truly brought this period to life as I read along. I truly enjoyed the novel and highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical biographies or who are followers of the great Shakespeare!
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog, http://greathistoricals.blogspot.ca, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit http://www.historyandwomen.com.