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Will Paperback – May 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425198715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425198711
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,595,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - Tiffany's informative account of Shakespeare and his world weaves fact and fiction in a historically accurate setting. The colorful tale starts when young Will discovers the beauty of the written word not in the airless schoolroom where he spends his days copying Latin phrases, but in his Uncle Edward's library. He reads voraciously and learns much about the world from the books and from the perilous climate of religious intolerance. As events continue, he weds Anne Hathaway, and they have three children. He yearns to be a playwright, and his restlessness compels him to journey to London where he meets Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and other famous contemporaries, all of whom influence his work. As he gains fame, he misses his family in Stratford, but his passion for the world of the stage overwhelms familial desires. This novel, by the author of My Father Had a Daughter(Berkley, 2003), which is about Judith Shakespeare, gives readers a wonderfully intimate view of day-to-day life in Shakespeare's England. Historical details, such as references to the plague and to fickle Queen Elizabeth, all help make this novel come alive. Teens will enjoy the brisk pace, colorful characters, and conflicts and successes in the life of this literary giant. - Susanne Bardelson, Kitsap Regional Library, WA
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

Tiffany, author of My Father Had a Daughter (2003), which was a tale about Shakespeare's youngest daughter, Judith, tackles the life and work of the master himself here. As a boy, young Will admires his uncle, Edward Arden, who has an extensive library that he allows Will to use. It is Arden's eventual execution that sets Will against the monarchy and sets the stage for his complex relationship with Queen Elizabeth. After marrying Anne Hathaway and having three children with her, Will sets off for London to make his fortune. He is captivated by a group of players he witnesses putting,^B and he falls in with the theatrical literary crowd in London, including Thomas Kyd and rambunctious Christopher Marlowe. Both his patron, the young and almost pretty Henry Wriothesley, for whom Will writes sonnets, and the "dark lady," Emilia, make appearances and capture Will's attentions and affections. For those who want to be immersed in the vibrant world of sixteenth-century London and the life of the great writer, this lively, boisterous novel will have much appeal. Kristine Huntley
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

Grace Tiffany is a Shakespeare scholar who writes smart, entertaining fiction. Her newest novel, PAINT (Bagwyn, 2013), is based on the life of Emilia Lanier, a scandalous seventeenth-century poet thought by some to have been the mysterious Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets. PAINT is the third of a network of novels in which Tiffany explores Shakespeare's fraught relations with women, both at home and in the busy London theater world. The first of this group, MY FATHER HAD A DAUGHTER, won Booksense 76 listing from the independent booksellers of America. Tiffany's sole novel for teenagers, ARIEL, appeared on the 2006 American Library Association list of best novels for young adults. She has also written two nonfiction books about English Renaissance culture. Visit her "Shakespeare in Fiction and Fact" blog at: http://www.shakespearefiction.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ed on June 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a great read! It is a page turner that presents a vivid picture of Elizabethan London. I especially enjoyed the subtle comparison between the way Will sees an event and his daughter's view of the same event as described in Tiffany's earlier novel about Shakespeare's daughter, Judith. Also, the reference to the Earl of Oxford is very funny. (The Earl's descendant's claim that he wrote Shakespeare's plays.) We do not exactly enter Shakespeare's mind, but we can see something of how he observed human nature and how the words flowed to paper and stage. (It reminded me of the scene in Amadeaus in which we see Mozart writing his Requiem.) Brevity may be the soul of wit, but this book is too short. More pages next time please!!!!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amy Silver on December 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Unlike with fictional Shakespeares created by other, more famous writers, I could actually believe this fictional Will wrote the great man's plays. He is complex, warm, insightful, funny, ambitious, innocent and sophisticated at once. One can imagine him having penned Shakespeare's greatest lines, yet he doesn't walk around spouting iambic pentameter. The story of his relationships with contemporary playwrights, including Kit Marlowe and Ben Jonson, and their alternately friendly and bitterly competitive rivalries is spellbinding, as are the political subplots. However it is the story of Will's relationship with Anne Hathaway, and the way his plays themselves are shown to reflect his growing maturity and his eventual return to his marriage and his "real" life, that is most compelling and profound. Dr. Tiffany gives us a convincing and extremely entertaining portrait of Shakespeare and the personal and cultural context in which he wrote. Read the first few pages on "Look Inside" and you'll be hooked!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ed on June 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a great read! It is informative, funny, and moving, and hard to put down. Alas, it is too short -- brevity is not the soul of historical novels. We are shown much of Shakespeare's London and meet Marlowe and other real characters. We are shown a glimpse of Shakespeare writing in passages that remind me of the scenes from Amadeus in which Mozart composes his Requim. Finally, the reference to the Earl of Oxford, claimed by some to be the real author of Shakespeare's work, is very funny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KDelphi on October 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think the "problem" some ppl have with her writing style, is that they seem to expect it to be an autobiography or something. She didn't personally know Will, nor come across any "secret files" on him. She writes NOVELS, created by her vast knowledge of the author and his works. They are, to me, a fascinating read, even for a person who has not studied Shakespeare, except as an amateur. Thank you for the fun.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew M. Yau on March 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Grace Tiffany's WILL is a solid testimony to the rising and flourishing of one of the greatest playwright and poetry in history. The legend of a master began in the library of Will's recusant uncle, whose collection ranged from Ovid's Metamorphoses to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, greatly enthralled the school-aged Shakespeare. Uncle Edward's adamant denial of the Protestant and his audacious refusal to the Queen's Protestant faith had ineluctably, and inveterately imbued in Shakespeare the staunch conviction to speak against the absurdity of monarchy.

The time was 1588 in London, a dark and grim period in which a plague decimated the city at the backdrop of an imminent war. The Catholic Spain, without its stupendous fleet and navy power, threatened to sail its gunboats up the Thames. Struggling Puritans and papists dared to defy the Protestant Queen Elizabeth who relentlessly executed her enemies and pinned their heads on the pikes of London Bridge to rot. With an amazing gift of words and iambic meter, Shakespeare deftly deflected his mocking against the Queen to his poetry, which he embellished with parodies, nuanced words and satires couched in rich metaphor. It was with the pulchritude of poetry's doubleness and roundness that Shakespeare's jests against the reign was left unnoticed, though many of the lines were no less provocative than the incendiary jests spun by the seditionist. Even if the Queen herself might have sensed that he hovered just out of her sight and whispered those lines to her beneath his breath, she found no evidence of treason in his plays.

The making of a master did not come about without a catch. Whether it was really flesh that had intervened, Shakespeare's tight grip of his dream took a toll on his marriage.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By H. Addison on January 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I loved Tiffany's first Shakespearean novel, My Father Had a Daughter, so I had high hopes for Will. I was not disappointed. Tiffany vividly explores the complex personal and historical forces that shaped Shakespeare's life and work, including his contact with fellow playwrights, his relationship with his wife Anne, etc. I was struck by Tiffany's uncanny ability to sketch the bard as an ordinary yet inspired--and inspiring--man. Though it's possible that Will may irk the Marlowe enthusiasts who give Marlowe credit for Shakespeare's plays, I found its account of the competition and friendship between Renaissance playwrights subtle and convincing. I also appreciated how Tiffany's second novel provides us with Shakespeare's perspective on events reported by his daughter in My Father Had a Daughter. Wonderful!
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