LIZA BOWE by Shirley Barker
Kirkus Star


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There's a lilt to the name as you say it- and a lilt, too, to her story, though she was only a barmaid at the Mermaid Tavern in the days when Kit Marlowe was cock of the walk- and Tom Kyd and Robin Greene and Tom Nashe and George Peele scribbled plays and verses and doggerel and pamphlets; when the Walsinghams sponsored now one, now another; and when Will Shakespeare quietly went his way, belittled by those who thought themselves his betters until such time as the people claimed him for their own. The tavern and its patrons, the girls who waited on them and the sour-faced Puritan who ran it, all come to life. The streets of London live too, even more surely than the green meadows round about Cambridge, where Liza first knew the youths who later gathered at the Mermaid- and where she loved Philip Fineux, gentleman, though knowing he was not for the likes of her. A message from Philip brought her to London- and the Mermaid; and for some years she was again Philip's woman, though he had sold his soul to the Devil. It is a gruesome story at moments, but the love and the hurt of a woman for a man; and the steady forgiving love of yet another man for a woman spins the thread of romance through the tale of Liza Bowe. I liked it -- and forgive the liberties taken with history for the lively sense of the times.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1956
Publisher: Random House