A lively interpretation of Shakespeare authorship that will win Oxfordian approval and may even convince Stratfordians to...


Shakespeare's Changeling: A Fault Against the Dead

This debut novel draws on the theory that the real author of William Shakespeare’s plays was Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford.

William Shaxper, an ambitious merchant from Stratford, is looking to make his fortune and escape an unhappy home life when he discovers Oxford’s (as de Vere is referred to in the text) theater and the world of acting. Oxford, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth who, due to his status as a nobleman, is forbidden to publish under his own name, invites Shaxper to perform a role that goes well beyond the stage. Oxford’s plays are published as the work of Shake-speare, and Shaxper presents himself to the public as the playwright. For decades, the two men find the relationship beneficial, as Shaxper gains the prominence he seeks, and Oxford continues to do the work he loves without landing in prison. Court politics, much of it involving the question of royal succession and the illegitimate child of Oxford and Queen Elizabeth, serves as a backdrop to the literary intrigue and ultimately proves to be Oxford’s undoing, leading to the plays’ authorship remaining permanently behind the now-famous pseudonym. Drawing heavily on the work of Oxfordian scholars, Kline fictionalizes her interpretation of the evidence and is able to create a plausible story on a topic about which historians can only speculate. Although the plot is complex, particularly the web of relationships surrounding Queen Elizabeth, the story is easy to follow, and Kline keeps the pages turning. The writing can be uneven, though, with an excess of adverbs in the early chapters and a number of awkward phrases: “He sat down to listen and visualized the manuscripts drifting closer.” But overall, the result is a thoroughly researched, convincing interpretation of one of the major theories of Shakespeare authorship that is likely to keep readers engaged.

A lively interpretation of Shakespeare authorship that will win Oxfordian approval and may even convince Stratfordians to suspend disbelief and enjoy it.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-1484832394

Page Count: 330

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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