Dark Lady

A Novel of Emilia Bassano Lanyer

Fiction - Historical - Personage
300 Pages
Reviewed on 05/26/2017
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Author Biography

Author Biography: Charlene Ball
I have been interested in Emilia Bassano Lanyer ever since I heard that she might have been not only Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady,” but a poet in her own right—and an early feminist. I studied Renaissance literature in college and graduate school, and have taught English and women’s studies. I have published fiction and nonfiction, and written book and theater reviews. I live in Atlanta where I write, volunteer, and sell books with my wife Libby Ware, an author and bookseller.

    Book Review

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.