The Dark Lady’s Mask is the story of Aemilia Bassano Lanier. She was the first Englishwoman to publish her poetry and she was believed to be Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Lady’; his muse and lover. This is the second book I’ve read about Aemilia and Mary Sharratt’s adaptation brings Aemilia Bassano Lanier to life in a most fascinating way.
Aemilia was a strong and independent woman. Well educated and intelligent she had a passion for poetry. She was also reported to have been very beautiful so it comes as no surprise that she would have caught the eye of William Shakespeare. The two become lovers and collaborators as they create plays together. At his son’s death however Shakespeare, guilt ridden, leaves Aemilia. Shakespeare continues writing his plays but for Aemilia, as a woman, the journey is much harder. Yet her strength and ambition carry her forward to a point where she indeed publishes her own poetry and earns a living from it.
This is a wonderful novel and so beautifully written. The story captivated me from beginning to end becoming one of my favorites this year. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Jilly Bond. I have not had the pleasure of listening to her before but she was absolutely the perfect choice for this novel as she really brought the the story to life.
Fantastic novel and highly recommended!