Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Welcome To London, Mr. Shakespeare - D. Lawrence Young


Welcome to London, William Shakespeare is a fictionalized chronicle of history's most celebrated author and playwright's "lost years." It's evident that D. Lawrence-Young has done significant research in writing this book, as the details surrounding what we do know about Shakespeare during this time are evenly applied throughout the story. These scant facts are used as the story's stepping stones, the parts between filled in cleverly by Lawrence-Young--and Shakespeare is brought to life.

Set against the turbulent Catholic-Protestant bloodbath of Elizabethan England, we start in the Henley Street home of Shakespeare's parents, John and Mary. I was impressed by the authors ability to reach deeper into Shakespeare's past and into the troubles of his father, who started high, fell low, and was finally able to hitch his wagon to his son's shooting star to rise again.

As a reader, I have the advantage of having visited the Henley Street house--now the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust--and was delighted to have it fleshed out for me again by Lawrence-Young. It's hard to imagine Shakespeare as a glove maker, but that was his early course, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He meets Anne Hathaway who is eight years his senior--and in a forecasting of the celebrity to come--he impregnates her before marriage. He's happy with Anne, but has ambition beyond a husband, father, and glove maker. He visits London, returns to Stratford-upon-Avon, and leaves again a final time. This is when we are transported to London during one of its most tumultuous eras, to accompany Shakespeare on his ascent to the author we recognize today.

I enjoyed reading Lawrence-Young's Welcome to London, William Shakespeare. The story is well written, entertaining, and easy to read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an amusing YA interpretation of what Shakespeare's early life and years in London might have been like.

I was given a free copy of this book and reviewed it for Readers' Favorite.


Amazon Link: Welcome to London, William Shakespeare

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