Jude Morgan is a writer whose books have been on my wish list for some time, put there because I've read laudatory reviews by people whose opinions I trust and whose tastes I share. I was thus particularly pleased when I found that the book parcel in this morning's post contained Jude's The Secret Life of William Shakespeare, billed as "for fans of David Mitchell and The Children's Book, or of the blockbusting biographies of great writers, or just anyone who loves books and wants an intelligent, utterly compelling, brilliant read," - I fall in all those categories.
I've already read two novels featuring Shakespeare, the bold, brilliant and bawdy Will by Christopher Rush (post here), and the altogether quieter, more reflective The Sonnets by Warwick Collins (thoughts here), so I shall be interested to see what manner of man he becomes in this latest incarnation; I suspect he is in safe hands.
The author has some very high profile followers, for example, Hilary Mantel writes, "As soon as I saw a Jude Morgan book I tossed aside the twenty other review copies I should have got to, and sat down to read it .... completely involving, absorbing. Full of insight and very accomplished ....", and Tracy Chevalier: "Wonderful - rich, authentic, beautifully written. He has written about Byron, Keats and Shelley in Passion and the Brontë sisters in The Taste of Sorrow, and now here he puts Shakespeare's relationship with his wife Anne at the heart of things, in what's been called a "wholly believable" fiction. I am so looking forward to reading it.