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The Sonnet Lover    by Carol Goodman Amazon.com order for
Sonnet Lover
by Carol Goodman
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Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

William Shakespeare is one of the world's most renowed writers of the sonnet. Dr. Rose Asher, a Professor of English Literature and Hudson College in New York, is an expert on sonnets penned by the fairer sex. She has always found it a challenge to teach students to appreciate these romantic verses, but one student in particular has caught her attention: Robin Weiss.

Robin has an extraordinary feel for the sonnet, and recently returned from summer school in Italy where he filmed a short piece about The Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets, claiming that she was Shakespeare's lover and lived outside Florence. Rose is sceptical until she hears the last sonnet in his film, apparently written by the lady herself to her lover was he really Shakespeare?

The reader is treated to an intriguing plot as Rose returns to La Civetta in Italy, where she also spent some time as an undergraduate some twenty years earlier, and where she left her heart. Violence and intrigue follow Rose as she tries to unravel the truth of what Robin claimed to have discovered that is before he committed suicide after the first screening of his movie. Her motive in going to back Italy is to make sure that the young man she believes pushed Robin from the balcony is held responsible for his actions, although this could forever estrange her from her old flame, Bruno, who is also the young man's father.

The plot of this novel is fine, and both the style and the prose are good so why did it not grip me? Although all the elements are there to make a great read, it was somewhat pedantic, and many of the twists and turns in the plot came as no surprise even the ending was all too predictable. Though its central puzzle is an absorbing one, The Sonnet Lover is perhaps not the best representative of Goodman's literary mystery series.

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