A bold and captivating novel about love, passion, and ambition that imagines the muse of William Shakespeare and the tumultuous year they spend together.
The year is 1590, and Queen Elizabeth’s Spanish Armada victory has done nothing to quell her brutal persecution of the English Catholics. Katharine de L’Isle is living at Lufanwal Hall, the manor of her uncle, Sir Edward. Taught by her cherished uncle to read when a child, Katharine is now a thirty-one-year-old widow. She has resigned herself to a life of reading and keeping company with her cousins and their children. But all that changes when the family’s priest, who had been performing Catholic services in secret, is found murdered. Faced with threats of imprisonment and death, Sir Edward is forced to flee the country, leaving Katharine adrift in a household rife with turmoil.
At this time of unrest, a new schoolmaster arrives from Stratford, a man named William Shakespeare. Coarse, quick-witted, and brazenly flirtatious, Shakespeare swiftly disrupts what fragile peace there is left at Lufanwal. Katharine is at first appalled by the boldness of this new tutor, but when she learns he is a poet, and one of talent, things between them begin to shift, and soon Katharine finds herself drawn into Shakespeare’s verse, and his life, in ways that will change her forever.
Inventive and absorbing, The Tutor is a masterful work of historical fiction, casting Shakespeare in a light we’ve never seen.
"When young William Shakespeare (an actor and aspiring poet) begins work as a tutor for a wealthy Catholic family, a well-read widow becomes his muse—and his editor, too. As Will's editrix falls under th espell of his pretty words, a question lingers: Is he sincere, or just a gifted player? Chapin's debut captivates, and it's her subplots of screaming witches and unsolved priest murders—not the Bard's fledgling verse—that keep the novel afloat."—Entertainment Weekly
"For readers who love Shakespeare, this woman-behind-the-man set-up...will provide a cozy afternoon's pleasure."—The New York Times Book Review
“An ingenious and captivating historical novel. . . . Not only does Chapin tell a good tale, she brings Shakespeare winningly alive to display ‘the curious, brilliant alchemy of his mind.’ ”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Hugely enjoyable, The Tutor is erudite and emotionally intelligent, and the Shakespeare who emerges from the pages may be unexpected, but feels absolutely authentic."—The Daily Mail
“This is about [Shakespeare and Katherine’s] romance and how it funnels into his poem Venus and Adonis. It’s completely wonderful and fun to imagine what happened [during Shakespeare’s lost years].”—NBC News, Weekend Today in New York
"With all the fire and spark of the best romance novels but the detail and weight of finely rendered historical fiction, debut novelist Chapin has crafted a fascinating and masterly background to Shakespeare’s first published work, the narrative poem Venus and Adonis."—Library Journal
Andrea Chapin has been an editor at art, movie, theater, and literary magazines, including "The Paris Review," "Conjunctions, " and "The Lincoln Center Theater Review." She has written for such publications as "More," "Redbook," "Town Country," "Self," "Martha Stewart Living," and others. Chapin lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.