I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
My Stratford Friend by Dominick Reyntiens
Published: August 8th 2015 by Valley Press
Goodreads Summary: ‘I have hanged more men for what they have written than for what they have done.’
This quote from Queen Elizabeth I’s most savage enforcer, Richard Topcliffe, goes straight to the heart of the world that surrounds Tom Wickham – a stable boy who, by the circumstances of his birth, becomes young William Shakespeare’s closest friend.
Warwickshire was one of the last Catholic outposts of Tudor England. History is written by the victors, but this is a story of a torn and bloody country as seen through the tear-stained eyes of the vanquished. The layers of Tom and Will’s turbulent environment are peeled back, revealing passion, love and desire fighting for oxygen on the face of a spiralling mountain of fear and retribution.
Review: I love reading about this time period so I was excited to get the opportunity to read this. I’m no Shakespearean expert but I have read several of his plays and sonnets. I was really intrigued by having this story written through a fictional character’s POV, who is meant to be William Shakespeare’s best friend. They grow up together and this story moves through all of their adventures and struggles. Everything is written in such strong detail that it is easy to visualize and connect with the characters. I’ve read stories like this before where a fictional character was created to become a famous person’s friend and tell the story through their eyes. This is definitely one of the better ones of those. With elements of drama, history, tragedy, poetry and passion throughout this book, there is something for everyone.