Dark Aemilia – Sally O’Reilly

A TALE OF SORCERY AND PASSION IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY LONDON—WHERE WITCHES HAUNT WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND HIS DARK LADY, THE PLAYWRIGHT’S MUSE AND ONE TRUE LOVE

The daughter of a Venetian musician, Aemilia Bassano came of age in Queen Elizabeth’s royal court. The Queen’s favorite, she develops a love of poetry and learning, maturing into a young woman known not only for her beauty but also her sharp mind and quick tongue. Aemilia becomes the mistress of Lord Hunsdon, but her position is precarious. Then she crosses paths with an impetuous playwright named William Shakespeare and begins an impassioned but ill-fated affair.

A decade later, the Queen is dead, and Aemilia Bassano is now Aemilia Lanyer, fallen from favor and married to a fool. Like the rest of London, she fears the plague. And when her young son Henry takes ill, Aemilia resolves to do anything to save him, even if it means seeking help from her estranged lover, Will—or worse, making a pact with the Devil himself.
My thoughts:
The book takes place during different important years during her life.
Aemilia is first the mistress of a powerful man and she has everything. She is happy with her lot in life. But the title already says is and the passion she and Shakespeare share drive them mad for each other. That is the first part of her life. Meeting Shakespeare, and losing it all.
The second part takes place when she is married to a gambler and her old life is long gone. She has a son. She still wants to write. But this was not a time for women, men were the writers. In this part something, well I do not want to call it paranormal, let’s just call it witchy, comes over it all. Superstition, needs and wants sets her on a different road. It’s a shitty life to be honest. I can feel the smell and dirt that was the early 1700th century. And it was not pretty and people were fools.
The last part, oh I am not gonna say everything that happens.
She was real, if she really was Shakespeare’s dark lady we do not know. But I quite like how O’Reilly portrayed it here.
Conclusion:
Love, passion, need. Witchcraft, sorcery and poetry. Plague, death and despair. Yes this book really gives us all of it.
Cover
I like the birds

Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Picador (first published March 27th 2014)
Historical fiction
for review

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