Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Gentleman Poet: By Kathryn Johnson: Book Review (And link to CONTEST)

The Gentleman Poet: A Novel of Love, Danger, and Shakespeare's The Tempest

by Kathryn Johnson
Avon A (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-0061965319

Description: En route to the Americas in 1609, Elizabeth Persons, a young servant girl, sees her blinding headache as an ominous sign. Sure enough, a hurricane during the final leg of their journey tosses the ill-fated Sea Venture and its one hundred and fifty passengers and crew onto the dreaded shores of the Bermudas, the rumored home of evil spirits and dangerous natives. In the months that pass—time marked by grave hardship, mutiny, adventure, danger . . . and a blossoming love between Elizabeth and the wrecked ship's young cook—she despairs of their ever being rescued. But she finds hope and strength in a remarkable new friendship, forming a fast bond with the Sea Venture's historian, a poet traveling under the name of William Strachey. But Will is more than he seems. To many back home in England, he is known by a different name: Shakespeare. And he sees in their great shared travails the makings of a magical, truly transcendent work of theater.

The Good Stuff
  • Extremely well researched!!
  • Fresh and entertaining
  • Absorbing, it took me a few reads of the first few pages, but after that I did not want to put it down
  • It makes me want to read The Tempest by Shakespeare
  • Wonderfully descriptive without being too flowery or polite.
  • The description of the storm is fantastically real you almost feel seasick
  • Loved the metamorphosis of the main character -- brilliantly done
  • Wonderful ending
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Would have liked a bit stronger of an opener, but again that is due more to my lack of focus than to the authors talents (Ok, I started reading it while Jesse was still awake and screaming -- probably not a good idea)
  • Makes me want to read The Tempest -- hmm better see if they are doing it at Stratford this year

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Despite my dislike for the old crow, I felt sorry  for the terror I saw in her eyes'"

"For myself, I wished for a quick end, the sooner to join my dear father and mother, cruelly taken  from me by queen and plague - one fate no more merciful than the other."

"The same woman whose name I'd been given, no doubt in the hope of protecting us.  A daughter christened, even if in the wrong church, after her, Elizabeth the queen, might be a talisman: You see, we named our child after our beloved queen! Is this not proof enough of our loyalty."

"It is a gift. Your love of food makes it delicious"

What I Learned
  • Really sucked to be a women in the early 1600's
  • Having any sort of religious conviction was a very bad thing in the 1600's
  • Shakespeare was one interesting fellow
Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Auntie Sheila is going to love this one and I think I will lend it to her
  • Lovers of Historical Fiction
  • Pretty much anyone

4.5 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in  return for an honest review --Yup people send me stuff and I get to tell them what I honestly think of them -- how frickin cool is that!


The author is running a Shakespeare contest on her website.  Links are now available on her Facebook page and her website, and the contest runs through to 9/30.  You can see info and photos located here:

Prize pack includes a Shakespeare tote bag, signed copy of The Gentleman Poet, Macbeth on DVD from Folger Shakespeare Theater performance, a Tempest T-shirt, Shakespeare-themed stationery, and some English goodies like Shakespeare-blend tea and jam.


  1. Sounds great! Thanks for linking up at FMIC! Have a great day!

  2. Looks great. I liked The Tempest - hope you do too :)