The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Dark Aemilia


Dark Ameilia (B) by Sally O’Reilly was on my “to read” list for a while. I was happy to get it at my library but now that I’ve read it; I realize it wasn’t really worth the wait.

O’Reilly did her research of Elizabethan England but took great liberties with her story. Though Ameilia Lanyer wasn’t the confirmed mistress of William Shakespeare, O’Reilly had made her so. One of the first women to be recognized as a poet, the author has her influenced and inspired by her love Will. She was indeed mistress to Henry Hunsdon, Lord Chamberlain in the Elizabethan court. Her son, Henry, is assumed to be his son, not Shakespeare’s.

Aemilia, Dark Ameilia, dabbled in the idea of witchcraft and the conjuring of demons. O’Reilly again runs with this idea, embellishing her facts to suit her story.

While fairly historically factual, the story was a bit long and boring for me. There were moments that kept me at it but as the novel moved on these moments became less and less. I suppose some, those that enjoy a bit of fantasy woven into an historical tale, will find Dark Aemilia very appealing. They are the readers I’d recommend it to. For historical fiction purists, like myself, it might be best to skip this one.


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