Dark Aemilia (Sally O'Reilly)

Article by liz

Dark Aemilia Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250070982
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Picador USA - June 2nd, 2015

This (literally!) spellbinding tale of passion, poetry, and a mother’s love will entrap you from the start. Aemilia Bassano Lanyer, a historical contender for the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s later sonnets, comes vividly to life in this bewitching novel. Her powerful voice refuses to be silenced through the betrayal of lovers, the despair of plague, and more. Famed for her intelligence and “dark” looks, Aemilia lives comfortably at court as the mistress of Lord Henry Hunsdon--until a young William Shakespeare ensnares her, heart and soul. Their passionate, violent affair, short-lived though it may seem at first, binds them together for the rest of their lives, as Aemilia strives for recognition as a poet and playwright in a world where women can be no such things. Sally O’Reilly beautifully paints Aemilia in enchanting, lyrical prose: a Lady Macbeth swinging between lucid, sharp fury and a dreamlike daze of pain. There’s plenty here for Shakespeare fans to love: though the man himself (probably rightfully) doesn’t come off as a prince, exactly, a reverence for the work above all else shines through in dozens of tidbits and treasures--including a brilliant origin story for The Scottish Play (and its curse). With wonderful detail and agonizing sensuality, DARK AEMILIA spins a compelling tale of a secret, forgotten literary affair that might have been.


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