Shaking Up Shakespeare

The Bard’s works have been read and appreciated for centuries, but the man himself is something of a mystery.  Enjoy these imaginative versions of his life history as well as a few reinterpretations of his works.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

A young Latin tutor falls in love with an eccentric woman named Agnes, who is well known for her knowledge of herbs and healing. They marry, and she becomes a central force in his career as a writer, as well as a fierce protector of their twin children, Judith and Hamnet.

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Mistress Shakespeare by Karen Harper

An intriguing historical novel about the woman Shakespeare loved before he met and married Anne Hathaway.


Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell

When Shakespeare scholar Kate Stanley receives a mysterious box containing an intriguing puzzle, it sends her on a journey that may lead to literary history’s greatest secret. . . or her death.


The Secret Life of William Shakespeare by Jude Morgan

A detailed imagining of the life of a seemingly ordinary man who would become the genius author of the ages.


The Tutor by Andrea Chapin

Thirty-one year old widow Katherine de L’Isle has resigned herself to spending the rest of her life keeping company with her cousins and their children at Lufenwal, the estate of her uncle, Sir Edward.  When Edward flees after the death of the family’s priest, Katherine is left to deal with a home in chaos.  Enter tutor William Shakespeare, a man who will have an unexpected effect on Katherine’s life.

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Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore

A humorous, noir version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Pocket of Dog Snogging, his sidekick Drool, and his pet monkey, Jeff.

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Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Living in the shadow of a famous person has not been easy for Richard Shakespeare. He aspires to act in the glittering London playhouses dominated by his older brother William, but instead is penniless and bitter.  When one of William’s priceless manuscripts is stolen, suspicion falls on Richard. Navigating the darkest and most dangerous parts the city, Richard must play the role of his lifetime to recover the stolen item, restore his reputation, and avoid the gallows.

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Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Felix, the brilliant artistic director of a local theatre festival, had been planning an amazing version of The Tempest. Instead, through an act of unseen treachery, he finds himself living in exile in a backwoods shack, mourning the loss of his beloved daughter, Miranda. After twelve years an opportunity arises for him to perform his play and take revenge against those who betrayed him.

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A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

In this retelling of King Lear, an Iowa farmer decides to divide his land between his three daughters.

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Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Kate Battista feels put upon, having to take care of the house, her scientist father and her over-privileged sister, as well as working at a pre-school where her acerbic comments are not always appreciated by parents or supervisors.  When her father comes up with a plan to prevent his lab assistant, Pyotr, from being deported he, as usual, expects Kate to cooperate. But Kate is furious at this assumption, and sparks fly as Dr. Battista and Pyotr try to persuade her go along with their plan.

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