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Reviewed by Sefina Hawke for Readers' Favorite
Dark Lady: A Novel of Emilia Bassano Lanyer by Charlene Ball is a historical fiction novel on the life of Emilia Bassano Lanyer. This is a book that would appeal most to a mixed audience of mature young adults and adults who enjoy historical fiction with a strong female as the main character. Emilia Bassano Lanyer was a beautiful and intelligent young woman living in Elizabethan England in poverty; her life had been far from easy as she grew up in a family of secret Jews, only to become a young orphan. However, Emilia Bassano Lanyer managed to make the best of her life as she became mistress to a nobleman, but her life fell into disarray when she was left pregnant, poor, and abandoned.
Charlene Ball was clearly in her element as a writer as she did a spectacular job in keeping Dark Lady realistic to the time period. Emilia is a well-written and well-developed character, considering that she really lived during that era. I really enjoyed Emilia Bassano Lanyer's character because of how she managed to roll with the punches; one bad thing after another kept happening to her, yet instead of just giving up she managed to keep going and I admired her for that. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I would love it if the author wrote a follow up novel or a separate book that focused on one of the other characters.