The Sonnet Lover

Carol Goodman, Author . Ballantine $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-345-47957-0

Goodman (The Ghost Orchid ) turns to Shakespeare for the plot of her fifth novel, with mixed results. Rose Asher, Hudson College Renaissance poetry professor, returns to La Civetta, the Italian estate-turned-academic retreat where, as a college student 20 years earlier, she had the romance of her life with married professor Bruno Brunelli. He's still there, but this time Rose has come as an adviser on a film inspired by Shakespeare's sonnets and the mysterious "Dark Lady" therein. The script, which includes an unattributed Shakespeare-like sonnet (taken from a manuscript found at La Civetta), is by one of Rose's star pupils, Robin Weiss, who soon dies in a possibly suicidal accident. The manuscript has vanished, but the sonnet seems to suggest that Ginevra de Laura, the 16th-century daughter of a master mosaic artist who worked at the estate, may be its author—and Shakespear's Dark Lady. Multiple plots and subplots revolve around the manuscript's recovery, Robin's death, the film, Rose's clandestine relationship with college president Mark Abrams, Bruno's presence and worries that Bruno's son, Orlando, may be a murderer. Goodman makes a plausible fictional case for Ginevra's crossing paths with Shakespeare and ably recreates the present and past Italian countryside. Nevertheless, dizzying crisscrosses, love triangles and rampant political machinations surrounding La Civetta's ownership obscure an intriguing solution to the lingering Dark Lady mystery. (June)

Reviewed on: 02/12/2007
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 350 pages - 978-0-7499-3831-4
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 242 pages - 978-0-345-50012-0
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-345-47958-7
MP3 CD - 2 pages - 978-0-7927-4910-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-4865-6
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