Book Review: Dark Aemilia (A Novel of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady) by Sally O’Reilly

 Picador Published May 27, 2014 448 Pages
Published May 27, 2014
448 Pages

This is the story of Shakespeare’s lady love. 

Aemilia Bassano, the daughter of a Venetian musician and the Queen’s favorite is known for her beauty, love of poetry and her sharp tongue and wit.

The mistress to Lord Hunsdon, Aemilia has been able to live the life of uncomplicated luxury. But when meets William Shakespeare who fuels her passion for words and for true love.

But fate has another plan for Aemilia and her ill-affair with William. Ten years later, her beloved Queen is dying, William hates her, she is married to a lame and she is taking care of her young son Henry.

When Henry gets sick, Aemilia must turn to unconventional methods in order to save her son.

I really enjoyed this book. Before this book, I never heard of Shakespeare’s dark lady so my curiosity peaked. The controversy surrounding Shakespeare is just as good as his plays. But anyway, what I enjoyed about this book was Aemilia herself. She was a woman defined and although she had a role to play she knew the role and played it better than anyone expected.

Her loyalty was something fierce and I respect that in anyone (fiction or nonfiction). Beyond her loyalty I love how realistic she was and how she wasn’t a linear character; she grew and developed into a woman I respect.

I also loved the fact that this book was less about the relationship between Aemilia and Shakespeare and more about Aemilia.

I love the attention to detail the author created. The scenery was perfect; you can tell that the author did some research to create this setting.

However despite the great story-line, character development and perfect focus this book was way too long . . . by like 300 pages too long.  Also the ending although, for a lack of better term, correct in

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but the length despite all the good qualities, made me lose focus and put the book down.

3.5 Pickles

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