Promises much but delivers so little

Title: The Sonnet Lover

Title: The Sonnet Lover

Author: Carol Goodman

Publisher: Penguin

Reviewer: Nthabisang Moreosele

This is a classy book that is well written and researched.

Carol Goodman is an academic, and it is clear in the book that she knows her subject well and loves it. She immerses the reader in the strange world of academia with its hissy fits and condescension to those who are perceived to be slightly stupid.

This includes the spouses of professors who are described as vacuous clotheshorses who contribute nothing to their husband's careers. The story is about a troubled youth, Robin Weis, who commits suicide after he has been accused of plagiarism.

He had also unearthed sonnets purportedly written by William Shakespeare's lover.

The lover features in Shakespeare's sonnets as the Dark Lady. Dr Rose Asher, who taught the boy poetry, goes in search of the sonnets that were written in response to Shakespeare's own in Tuscany.

She is supposed to authenticate the sonnets and prove that the writer was the Dark Lady.

Asher leaves for Italy with the college principal, who is also her secret lover. The two are conducting a kinky love affair which is mostly consummated on window sills. This may allude to the way the principal tried to save Weis when he went headlong from a balcony down to his death.

Asher also has to contend with meeting a former tutor who broke her heart after successfully seducing her. Unfortunately, the book goes on for too long, and the plot is a bit obvious. It begins with a promise and ends with a whimper.