Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Gentleman Poet by Kathryn Johnson

 I'm very impressed with the writing style of this. It does not feel like a debut at all, but like it is written by a very experienced and established author. Very well done.

The year is 1609 and a young woman, Elizabeth, is a servant to a cruel witch of a lady aboard a ship sailing from England to the new colony, Virginia. A storm causes them to be shipwreched in the Bermudas where they wash up on a little island and proceed to build a little camp of sorts, attempt to maintain law and order, and build a new ship.

You wouldn't think there would be much intrigue on a little island full of castaways but there is.. There's mutiny, marriage, attempted rape, and a secretive poet passenger.. William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare becomes a father figure to Elizabeth while Elizabeth struggles to satisfy her evil mistress, gather miscellaneous herbs from the island, cook for the colony, and fend off the unwanted advances of a man named Thomas.

This is where it bothered me. One day she is cursing Thomas, telling him to go away, and the next day she is missing him, pining for him, and then bedding him. Her personality changes so drastically from page to the next... This brings this novel down to a four star.

It is superbly written, however. I liked how Elizabeth comes to battle her inner demons regarding men and how she begins a friendly comeptition of sorts with the cook, Thomas, as she attempts to outdo him in cooking.

Favorite quote: "How was it that men obsessed on the female form? The mere passing of a fully dressed woman set their bodies to stiffening. Drunk at the sight of her, even if not a swallow of ale had passed their lips, they'd titter and guffaw amongst themselves. Revolting behavoir!"

I bought this book from Amazon.


  1. I thought you would enjoy this one - very well written and not too "Shakepeare"

  2. This sounds like a book I'd enjoy - will have to look around and see if I can find it here.