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Loving Will Shakespeare Paperback – June 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152062211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152062217
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–With little factual material to work with (other than the famous second best bed bequeathed to her in Shakespeare's will), Meyer has created a fascinating, complex young woman. Agnes Anne Hathaway lost her mother in her early teen years, and her stepmother was cantankerous and verbally abusive. This first-person narrative follows the ups and downs of the subject's life as more children enter the home and she continues to feel lonely, shunted aside, and fearful of ever gaining real happiness. Since she's seven years older and a close friend of the family, she has known Will since his birth, and when he blossoms into a handsome, intelligent 18-year-old, she is mesmerized by his energy, charm, and creativity. Teenage girls will relate to Anne's rebellion against life's limitations and her fear of never being loved, and rural Elizabethan life is vividly depicted in this bittersweet romance.–Melissa Moore, Union University Library, Jackson, TN
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Agnes Hathaway's childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood have plenty of Cinderella elements: a wicked stepmother, at least one wicked stepsister (actually half sister) and her eventual rescue by an immature 18-year-old Will Shakespeare. Meyer does her usual fine job of weaving a fictionalized life tapestry from historical lives and events. Since little is actually known about Shakespeare, and even less about Agnes (Anne) Hathaway, Meyer had only snippets of information from which to work. Her speculations make for fascinating reading, as she works the slim facts into a story about a young woman frustrated by her inability to escape her family and drawn into a love, deemed socially inappropriate, for a much younger man. Readers looking for insight into Shakespeare will be disappointed. Those open to meeting a feisty young woman who is determined to live her own life in spite of societal confines, though, will be quickly absorbed by Meyer's vividly imagined portrayal of a courageous, long-suffering wife. Suggest Laurie Lawlor's The Two Lives of Will Shakespeare (2006) as a follow-up. Frances Bradburn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

My first book, MISS PATCH'S LEARN-TO-SEW BOOK, published more than forty years ago, was intended to teach young girls how to knot thread, make a neat stitch, and sew simple items. The main character of my most recent book, THE WILD QUEEN, Mary, Queen of Scots, is a far cry from the roundish, gray-haired lady with a needle in her hand and spectacles on her nose. Since the thrill of seeing that first book in print, I've written over fifty more books, non-fiction and novels (most recently, historical fiction). In the process I've learned more about writing and a lot about history, a subject that was not my favorite when I was a young student but has become my passion--a passion I love to share with readers.

Customer Reviews

And, soon, when Will returns from his time abroad, Anne realizes that he is the one for her.
Erika Sorocco
The "romance" with Will didn't even turn up to the end of the novel, and what little there was consisted of plain, uninteresting conversations.
I highly recommend this book for those who love historical fiction, lovers of the Tudor age, and those who just love a good love story.
Elyssa Szkirpan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Agnes "Anne" Hathaway has never had an easy life. She had a loving mother, and a wonderful family up until the day the sickness came, stealing the life of her beloved mother, and leaving her father a widower. Agnes feels that the family would have been able to survive, with just her, and her siblings; but father thinks differently, and takes an evil wife (Joan) to be Agnes' new stepmother. Joan treats Agnes as if she were lower than rat poison, and, eventually, when Agnes' father passes on, Joan begins to threaten the poor Agnes. Forcing her to become romantically involved with a man whose temper rages at anytime. The only consolation Agnes has in her life, is the affections of young Will Shakespeare. While Agnes is Will's senior by eight years, she finds herself drawn to the boy whom she saw in diapers, and soon finds herself sharing passionate embraces with the young poet. Will makes Agnes (whom he refers to as Anne) feel loved, and cared for. Something that she has not experienced since the death of both of her parents. Together, the two lovers begin sharing secrets, and planning a future. And, soon, when Will returns from his time abroad, Anne realizes that he is the one for her. The only problem is that Will craves a life of travel, and playacting; while Anne wants nothing more than a stable marriage, and a family to spend time with. Now, as the two grow closer and closer, Anne must make her choice...follow her heart, or take into consideration the unbelieving stares and whispers of those who feel that she's making a fool of herself.

I have read very few plays by Shakespeare. But those which I have devoured, were adored. Which is the main reason Carolyn Meyer's LOVING WILL SHAKESPEARE appealed to me so greatly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elyssa Szkirpan on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meyer

We know him for his famous plays, sonnets, and invention of many of the common words in our language. Additionally, he created cultural icons that we still refer to today in common situations: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear. In case you're about 600 years behind, I'm talking about William Shakespeare. Yes, the William Shakespeare. We know him for his work and influence on English literature, and historians speculate who he really was in private and what he did, but, Carolyn Meyer takes this in-depth speculation to a new level when she writes a fictional novel from the view point of Shakespeare's wife, Anne. Some of you may remember Anne as the wife Shakespeare left his second best bed to, but Meyer makes Anne just a little more memorable than history has allowed. Although most of the events portrayed are correctly arranged as to when they happened and the outcome, the conversations are predominantly fictional.

Born around 1555 and 1556, Anne Hathaway was Shakespeare's elder by eight or nine years. She bore his children, managed his home, and waited for his return, but all in girlish vain as Shakespeare began a very public and prominent life in London. Historically speaking, not much is known about Anne Hathaway, but there is speculation that the Shakespeare-Hathaway marriage was result of a pregnancy and that the wedding that was forced on Shakespeare by the Hathaway family ended in a desperate loathing between Hathaway and Shakespeare. Meyer, however, portrays a much more pleasant version of the story, and aims to fill in the gaps with fiction.

In Meyer's version, Hathaway is a simple, English country girl who is living in a cramped cottage with her siblings and father after her mother's death.
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Format: Hardcover
Having been fortunate enough to have read Ms. Meyer's previous release, MARIE, DANCING, I was anxious to read her take on the life and times of William Shakespeare. Although I must admit that I enjoyed Marie, Dancing, based on Marie van Goethem and the role she played in becoming the inspiration for Edgar Degas's sculpture, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, just a tad bit more than LOVING WILL SHAKESPEARE, I did thoroughly enjoy this book.

LOVING WILL SHAKESPEARE is the story of William Shakespeare and his wife, Agnes "Anne" Hathaway. Anne, however, is the main character in this story, and although I wasn't disappointed, per se, I can admit that I was hoping for more of an intimate look into Mr. Shakespeare himself.

Having lost her mother to illness, Anne finds herself with a new stepmother, Joan, who is eerily reminiscent at times to the evil stepmother portrayed in the classic story of Cinderella. After the last attempt to fix her up, yet again, with a cruel and intolerant suitor, Anne realizes that she's been looking for love in all the wrong places. But how can she be in love with young Will Shakespeare, though, when she's known him since he was a toddler?

In love with him she is, although it takes her awhile to act on her feelings. Thankfully for Anne, Will returns her love. Not so fortunately, however, is the fact that Will has the desire to write sonnets and poems, to act on the stage, to travel the world and see the sights. All Anne has ever wanted is to be married, to raise children with a man she loves, in a home they can call their own.
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