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Extended Audio Sample Mistress Shakespeare: A Novel Audiobook, by Karen Harper Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 53.68 out of 5 3.68 (31 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Karen Harper Narrator: Anne Flosnik Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2009 ISBN: 9781423381600
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Dark-haired and strong-willed, Elizabethan beauty Anne Whateley takes up her pen to divulge the intimate details of her daring life and her great love, William Shakespeare. As historical records show, Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton was betrothed to Will just days before he was forced to wed the pregnant Anne Hathaway of Shottery. Their secret wedding in a country church brings together two passionate souls whose union survives separation, betrayal, and the barbs of small-town gossips. From rural Stratford-Upon-the-Avon to teeming London, Anne and Will struggle to forge his career and remain safe from Elizabeth I’s campaign to hunt down secret Catholics. Persecution and plague, insurrection and inferno, friends and foes, even executions, all come to life in Anne’s heart-rending story. Spanning half a century of Elizabethan and Jacobean history and sweeping from the lowest reaches of society to the royal court, this richly textured novel tells the real story of Shakespeare in love. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki Ford | 2/9/2014

    " Interesting and well-researched view on the woman who might be Shakespeare's Dark Lady. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Doria | 1/30/2014

    " This book struck me as pretty light-weight, to say nothing of the fact that the entire premise - Shakespeare secretly married another woman before he was forcibly wed to Ann Hathaway - is pretty shaky. It's basically a paperback torrid romance, Elizabethan style: love in the time of Bubonic plague, etc. It's okay for reading on the T, but I kept finding myself covering the cover. Forsooth! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 1/25/2014

    " Lots of interesting historical details about England in Shakepeare's time and an explanation for his strange personal life that is intriguing and fun in a soap opera way, although from what I've read there isn't any significant historical support for it. I probably would have given it 4 stars except that something about the narrative voice just didn't work for me, and I didn't find myself liking the characters all that much. Sometimes it felt more like straight biography than historical fiction, even though it was definitely fictional. I would probably try another book by the author if it was on a topic I was interested in; she obviously loves history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 1/25/2014

    " I've always thought of William Shakespeare as just a playwright and a poet, so it was interesting to see him as a person instead. I liked the premise of the book, but found the last part dragged a bit. Perhaps it was my impatience. I frequently get impatient with a book when I am nearing the end. One factual error really bothered me. Will and Anne go to Westminster Abbey to see the burial site of Elizabeth I in the Henry VIII Chapel. It's the Henry VII Chapel. Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York are buried there in an exquisitely beautiful chapel. Henry VIII is buried at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Perhaps it was a typographical error, but such errors should not be committed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ali W | 1/13/2014

    " I almost finished this book, but not quite. Enjoyed the story but did just seem to drag on and I had other stuff going on in my life, I never had the motivation to read the last couple of chapters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kiran | 1/11/2014

    " Fairly enjoyable read; the writng didn't feel ground-breaking. But it was easy to read and interesting to have this perspective on both Shakespeare and the events of the times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suburbangardener | 12/30/2013

    " A very plausible version of Shakespeare's life, this book is also a very entertaining read. It's told from the point of view of The Dark Lady. It breathes life into the events surrounding the writing of some of the greatest plays in the English language. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paige | 12/26/2013

    " Very enjoyable immersion into Elizabethan England. Told by Shakespeare's muse and mistress, the literary and likeable Anne Whately. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 12/19/2013

    " I love the way Harper used Shakespeare as a character, and took the lines from his many works to weave a compelling story "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne | 12/19/2013

    " It was story about shakespeare's mistress. Pretty good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie Lawton | 12/14/2013

    " Very interesting. I hadn't heard this bit of history. I realize this is historical fiction but there's usually more than a grain of truth. Was Shakespeare actually married to another woman when he married Anne Hathaway? Hmmm .... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan Aldergate | 12/4/2013

    " This was an interesting read. Elizabethan England is one of my favorite periods in history, and this was a pleasant surprise. Another find at the Buckeye Book Fair, well written and a very engaging heroine. Solved the mystery of the dark lady anyway. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ulla | 12/4/2013

    " A truly wonderful novel! Anybody who loves Shakespeare should read it, and I warmly recommend the audiobook version, narrated by the fabulous Anne Flosnik!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ilona | 12/1/2013

    " GREAT STORY! FUN TO READ! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caroline | 9/23/2013

    " I love this book so much! Its beautifully written and is definitely an interesting on the identity of "the Dark Lady." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Larene | 6/20/2013

    " makes me curious what kind of writing Shakespeare would have turned out if he was allowed freedom of speech. He really had to cater towards the queen and not write anything too anti-government. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ali | 5/25/2013

    " This book was good. I can't really pinpoint a true reason for disliking it. But, still, it wouldn't be one of my favorites. The writing was of amazing quality, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloria | 8/9/2012

    " I found this very moving as well as enlightening. I enjoy Shakespear and now to know more of his personel life has helped to understand him better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Anderson | 1/25/2012

    " The history surroundling the theater was very interesting. Mistress Shakespeare did not have a backbone though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 1/22/2012

    " In this book we learn about Anne Whatley, who supposedly was married to Wm. Shakespeare before Anne Hathaway and she remained first in his heart. I learned a great deal about Elizabethan times and Shakespeare himself. The author made everyone quite human and believable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sgarrard | 11/4/2011

    " A great re-imaging of the life of Shakespeare told from the view of his mistress/wife. An interesting read, well developed characters, great story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christa Wilson | 10/29/2011

    " Good Book. Liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 10/19/2011

    " It was pretty good, but the writing wasn't as convincing as I had hoped it would be. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 2/28/2011

    " I thought this book was just okay. I hated that Anne was so weak for a man and felt like she wasted her whole like waiting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 1/8/2011

    " Good story about Shakespeare's hypothetical second wife. Well written and interesting. Great for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 11/26/2010

    " This was an interesting read. Elizabethan England is one of my favorite periods in history, and this was a pleasant surprise. Another find at the Buckeye Book Fair, well written and a very engaging heroine. Solved the mystery of the dark lady anyway. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 11/13/2010

    " This work of fiction is very believable and nicely paced. It seems far more realistic than the usual historical fiction, though the core idea of the "other" or first Mistress Shakespeare is questionable, to say the least. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tacowsh1t | 10/21/2010

    " As usual Karen Harper did an amazing job makeing history come alive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aubrey | 10/4/2010

    " A good read if you like Shakespeare and historical fiction. The writing wasn't phenomenal (no Sharon Kay Penman) but an entertaining and fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Casgoc | 9/12/2010

    " This was a fun read, giving insight to Shakespear's time period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christy | 8/26/2010

    " What a wonderful way to look at Shakespeare...through the eyes of a woman who might have been his lover and muse...Karen Harper hit this one out of the park... "

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About the Author
Author Karen HarperKaren Harper is a New York Times—and USA Today—bestselling author whose novels, both historical and contemporary, have been published worldwide. A former college and high school English instructor, Harper now lives in Columbus, Ohio and Naples, Florida, and frequently travels around the country to promote her books and speak about writing.
About the Narrator

Anne Flosnik, a seasoned audiobook narrator, has over four hundred titles to her credit and several awards and distinctions, including three AudioFile Earphones Awards, a USA Today Recommended Listening, and the American Library Association’s Special Services to Children Award. She has twice been an Audie Award finalist. She is an accomplished actress with lead credits on stage, on television, and in commercials and voice-overs.