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Loving Will Shakespeare    by Carolyn Meyer order for
Loving Will Shakespeare
by Carolyn Meyer
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Not much is known about William Shakespeare's life, but it is a fact that he did marry Anne Hathaway. Carolyn Meyer takes what little is known and delivers a deeply engaging tale about the life of Anne Hathaway in Loving Will Shakespeare.

Ever since his birth when she was seven, Agnes Hathaway's life is intertwined with that of William Shakespeare. At the many festivals their families attend in and around Stratford, Will always seeks out his older friend, whom he affectionately calls Anne, and never fails to make her laugh.

Anne always welcomes the cheering as her life is not a very joyful one. After her mother died from the Black Death, Anne's father remarried a widow who despised Anne from the start, often accusing her of wanton and sacrilegious acts. Anne, however, threw herself into her work helping out on her father's farm and harvesting honey and beeswax to sell at market. After having her heart broken twice, Anne begins to see little Will as the man he has grown into, and finds that her feelings go greatly beyond friendship.

Meyer has written a vivid depiction of Elizabethan life in a country village. Her explanations for things that are not common today flow seamlessly through the narrative, helping the reader see what life was really like back then. Meyer also describes the characters with such inward detail that their personalities practically jump off the page. All the while, Meyer pulls readers in and keeps them engulfed in the ups and downs of Anne's life, creating an empathy lacking in many young adult novels.

Loving Will Shakespeare is a beautiful book that captures the essence of life and love in the 1600s. Meyer has a wonderful way of bringing the reader into another time and place. She creates an embracing and emotional tale sure to be remembered by all who experience it.

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