England, 1601. When Queen Elizabeth's men come looking for William Shakespeare - a rumoured Catholic in a time of Catholic-Protestant intrigue and insurrection - they first question a beautiful, dark-haired woman who seems to know the famous playwright very well. Too well.
She is Anne Whateley, born in Temple Grafton, a small town just up the river from Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. And as church records show - were anyone to look for them - Anne Whateley was wed to William Shakespeare in a small country church just days before he married another woman, Anne Hathaway, who has lived as his wife for decades.
In SHAKESPEARE'S MISTRESS, Anne Whateley - who may or may not be Will's true wife - tells her story. Stretching almost fifty years, from the rural villages of Warwickshire to the bustling city of London, with its teeming streets and lively theatres, it's a story of undying passion, for life, love, and literature.
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One of the most exquisite novels I have read in a very long time - Michelle Moran
a highly readable book for anyone who enjoys Tudor history - Daily Mail
So vivid and authentic - a totally satisfying recreation of one of the great Shakespeare mysteries. I couldn't put it down - Rosalind Miles, author of I, Elizabeth and Guinevere
Harper...knows her period well, and it shows...often in sure handling of the details of politics, theatre, and daily life, including some harrowing passages featuring childbirth and the plague - Booklist
The novels chief pleasures derive from the easy interaction of Shakespeare's work, the history of Elizabethan England and the life that the author imagines Shakespeare might have had - Publishers Weekly
Elizabethan history has never been this appealing - NEWSDAY
In a wonderful, lively, insightful and heartbreaking love story, Harper allows Shakespeare's secret wife, Anne Whateley, to narrate her colorful, lusty story. With her sharp eye for detail and dialogue, Harper delivers a tale that resounds with the colour and atmosphere of life in the theatre, London and the intrigues that ran rampant in England - Romantic Times