I’m sure there’s many that would agree with me when I say that Bernard Cornwell is one of the best historical writers of current times, so when I was approved to review his newest book Fools & Mortals I genuinely couldn’t believe it! Fools & Mortals didn’t disappoint, it was funny, witty & told a brilliant story; & I cannot wait to read it again.
I was sent an eARC of this book by Harper Collins
in return for an honest review.
This book contains forceful kissing, flippant discussions of
rape scenes within plays, hints at childhood sexual abuse & details of animal abuse.
This glorious story tells a tale about William Shakespeare’s younger brother & his life in big ol’ London; we learn about how a very young & scared Richard turned up in the great city unexpectedly after he got himself in trouble at home, & of the horrors he endured as a young teenager at the hands of a school headteacher. We spend a lot of time with Richard whilst he’s on the stage, playing some of the smaller female parts in his much-loved brother’s plays & the struggles he had to deal with as a male actor hitting his adulthood. We also get to learn about the difficult relationship that Richard & William had, & of course we learn about how Richard met the woman he later married. Additionally, we also receive glimpses into real-life Elizabethan England & we even get a peak at her royal highness too!
“ “The whole world looks bright and clean after
snow,” he mused, “then sinful mankind
besmirched it” ” – 60%
I genuinely didn’t want this book to end – it was my first adult historical fiction read for a while so part of me feared I may have gone off of the adult book genre, but I was totally wrong. Cornwell’s writing is honestly just so good, I don’t know how else to explain it; I was hungry for every word & read the book at every possible moment. The book was full of so much humour & Cornwell has managed to take the wit of Shakespeare’s plays & make it totally his own! I had a huge grin on my face for a lot of the book because of the writing, & even during the sadder or less positive moments, I was still so focused on the level of the writing.
“When men do evil and claim that they are
doing God’s work, then they are at their
most dangerous. They are more than dangerous!
They are the vilest of sinners.” – 60%
Before reading this book I didn’t know anything about Richard; I wasn’t even sure that Shakespeare actually had a brother! But when I finished the book I felt like I knew Richard – & I’m now totally in love with a man that lived hundreds of years ago. Cornwell’s writing was so perfect, & even after just 23% of the book I felt like I’d met Richard before; as if Fools & Mortals were a sequel & that I’d already got to know Richard in a previous tale.
“And yet, to say the truth, reason and
love keep little company together nowadays”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3; Scene 1; Line 138
Fools & Mortals 100% reminded me of why I love historical fiction, I learnt so much about Shakespeare’s brother & Elizabethan England from this read; & I loved the afterword written by Cornwell about the details that are based on fact & those which are based on speculation. I’m not very good at writing reviews about books that I really love, because all I want to do is tell people to get out & buy the book – so, get out & buy the book.