Monday, July 29, 2013

Many fantasy, time travel, and science fiction books are written for young children or teens, so it is delightful to find one that is aimed at an older group of readers. Ellen Wilson’s novel, ‘In the Shadow of Shakespeare,’ is better understood by someone having a detailed knowledge of England during the years in which Shakespeare lived. Most time travel stories require a strong suspension of disbelief because the author doesn’t bother to give us an explanation regarding the reason why the character can travel through time. Ellen Wilson does a good job of laying the groundwork for this story.


If this book has a flaw, I think it lies in the fact that some of it will pass over the head of readers who have no knowledge of Elizabethan England. There are few today who are aware of the controversy regarding the existence of a writer named Shakespeare unless they had English literature in college. Wilson weaves this controversy into her story in a way that is compelling and interesting.


The characters are believable, the story is well plotted, and you feel as if you have been immersed in the culture of the day. If you like intellectual literature you will enjoy this book, but if you taste runs to Harry Potter or stories written for young children, you should probably select something else.