1600s – England
For centuries, readers have debated the identity of the mysterious Dark Lady in William Shakespeare’s sonnets. Emilia Bassano — lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth and one of the first women poets in England — could be the answer.
In Shakespeare’s Lady, Emilia Bassano is one of the most dazzling ladies at court when she meets the little-known playwright William Shakespeare. Shakespeare sees the world like no one ever has before, and despite everything — his wife in Stratford-Avon, Emilia’s husband and young son, and the will of the fiery and unpredictable queen — they fall in love. But the course of true love never did run smooth, and the Virgin Queen does not take lightly to her ladies straying. These star-crossed lovers must fight for their love — and, eventually, their lives. Meanwhile, William, courting the queen’s favor for his new theater, pens some of the most memorable stories ever written, and encourages Emilia to write; he helps her compose, and eventually steals, a little bedtime story she calls A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In the tradition of Jane Austen Ruined My Life and The Other Boleyn Girl, this is a breathtaking, emotionally rich story spun out of historical fact. From the plague-ridden streets of London to the throne room of Greenwich Court to the stage of The Globe Theater, this is a meticulously researched and gorgeously written story about grace, forgiveness, and the forbidden love between the greatest poet the world has ever known and the woman who inspired him.