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THE GENTLEMAN POET
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Tropical Locales
Subtitled “A Novel of Love, Danger and Shakespeare’s The Tempest,” Johnson’s debut is an imaginative concept that demands readers suspend their disbelief and what they think they know about the Bard. However, if one looks at this novel as being about a young woman’s growth, life in a new world and the dangers inherent in society, then this is a tale far beyond Shakespeare and with the added recipes, engaging and clever.
Servant girl Elizabeth Miranda Person is aboard a vessel headed for Jamestown when a storm sends them off course. The passengers fortunately land on Bermuda. Among them is Will Strachey, a writer, who takes an interest in Elizabeth, for they share a secret about their faith that can lead to death.
Shipwrecked in a land of dangerous natives and unused to harsh conditions, the survivors build a community and start work on a ship. With Will’s help Elizabeth, known as Miranda, remains optimistic, finding time to indulge in her passion for cooking and the ship’s cook, Thomas. As Elizabeth builds a new life, and Will writes about it. When tragedy strikes, he helps Elizabeth find the strength to return to England. (AVON A, Sep., 320 pp., $13.99)
Reviewed By: Kathe Robin
Publisher: AVON A
Published: September 2010