THE SECRET LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
With the paucity of information about William Shakespeare’s early life, Morgan is free to take liberties with the Bard’s days in London. Using his wife, Anne, and his playwright/actor compatriots as key characters, Morgan creates an imaginative, absorbing and totally believable story. She even follows Shakespeare’s lyrical meter and phraseology in this biography that’s as lively as a Shakespeare comedy and as human as one of his dramas. Truly a delight to read.
The tension between William and his father pushes the would-be actor into leaving Stratford as part of a band of traveling players. He becomes part of a group of theatrical characters including Ben Jonson, Kit Marlowe and Thomas Nash as well as his patron, the Earl of Southhampton. Though wife Anne understands his need to leave, she arrives in London to see for herself if he has a mistress and if the tales about his shocking friendship with two actors are true. Will’s power with words and desire to create allow Anne to leave him to his work, secure in his love. (ST. MARTIN’S, Apr., 400 pp., $26.99)