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About the Author: Charlie Lovett

I was born in Winston-Salem, NC and grew up as the child of an English professor. We spent our summers in the rural North Carolina mountains, so I felt an early affinity for the countryside. I was educated at Summit School, Woodberry Forest School (VA), and Davidson College (NC) and in 1984 went into the antiquarian book business with my first wife, Stephanie. About the same time I began to seriously collect books and other materials relating to Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

When I left the book business in the early 90s, I continued to be a book collector, and now have a large (and growing) collection of rare (and not so rare) books and artifacts connected to Lewis Carroll and his world.

In 1997 I received my MFA in Writing from Vermont College (now Vermont College of Fine Arts). During my work on this degree I researched and wrote Love, Ruth, a book about my mother, Ruth Candler Lovett, who died when I was two years old. Maya Angelou called the book “tender, sensitive, and true.”

After completing my MFA, I traveled with my wife, Janice, and daughter, Jordan, to England where we lived for six months in Kingham, Oxfordshire. We immersed ourselves in the culture and made lifelong friends. Ten years later, we purchased the cottage we had rented in 1997 and renovated it. My wife and I now spend about 6–8 weeks a year in Kingham, and have traveled extensively throughout the UK.

In 2001, my wife was hired to oversee the third grade drama program at Summit School. Bemoaning the dearth of good material, she asked if I would write a play. Thus began my career as a children’s playwright. For eleven years, as Writer-in-Residence, I wrote plays for third graders and for eighth and ninth graders. Nineteen of my plays have been published and have proved extremely popular and have seen over 3500 productions in all fifty states and more than 20 foreign countries.

During all my years as a writer, I have worked on writing fiction. I wrote my first novel-length manuscript in the early 1990s and, with luck, it will never see the light of day, but it did prove to me that I could write a book-length work of fiction. In 2008, my novel The Program, about an evil weight loss clinic, was published by the micro-press Pearlsong Press, which later published my YA novel The Fat Lady Sings.

But my big break-through as a writer came when I put together two of my passions—rare books and the English countryside—to write The Bookman’s Tale. It was a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes and Noble Recommends selection, and has been translated into several foreign languages. Parade Magazine called the book “[A] delightful tale of love and bibliophilia.”

My next novel, First Impressions, is another literary adventure, this one starring Jane Austen. People Magazine called it “a delightful novel that weaves together a modern love story and a literary mystery involving Jane Austen.”

2015 was a busy year for me, being the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I curated a major exhibition called Alice Live! at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. I spoke at the international gathering of Carroll enthusiasts in New York and wrote the introduction to the new Penguin Books edition of Alice. 2016 also saw the publication of my Christmas book, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge, which USA Today called “[a] clever, merry, and, yes, convincingly Dickensian reimagining of this Victorian tale.”

My new novel, The Lost Book of the Grail, will be published on February 28, 2017. Set in an English cathedral library, and reaching through centuries of English history, it tells the story of bibliophile and Holy Grail enthusiast Arthur Prescott as he works to uncover a centuries-old secret about the cathedral’s history.

None of this could have happened without the support and love of my wonderful wife, Janice, and my fabulous children, Jimmy and Jordan.


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Goodreads rating: 3.74

Paperback, Published in Jun 2018 by Alma Books Ltd

ISBN10: | ISBN13: 9781846883026

Page count: 379

A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller’s search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love.

Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.

As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman’s Tale is a former bookseller’s sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature’s most tantalizing mysteries, with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt’s Possession.

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