The Shakespeare Trail by Zoe Bramley

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The Shakespeare Trail by Zoe Bramley

Category: Trivia
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A travel guide and history book, with tons of useful references and clever, witty writing thrown in for the price, The Shakespeare Trail is a far more compelling read than initial glances may suggest. Useful for those who fancy a wander round those places that inspired the bard, or just something fun and Shakespeare-related to read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
ISBN: 978-1445646848

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It has been 400 years since William Shakespeare, the man heralded as the greatest writer in the English language, and England's national poet, died. Shakespeare has made a profound mark on our culture and heritage, yet many aspects of his life remain in the shadows, and many places throughout England have forgotten their association with him. Here, Zoe Bramley takes the reader on a journey through hundreds of places associated with Shakespeare – many whose connections will come as a surprise to most. Filled with intriguing titbits of information about Shakespeare, Elizabethan England, and the places that she talks about, this is no mere travel guide.

From what little we know, Shakespeare did not have an easy life – success came relatively late, and horrific events like child death and the plague were never far away from the man. We have little information of his early life – but evidence of his whereabouts during his years of success is slightly easier to find, and Zoe Bramley uses both that, plus the locations that crop up in his plays, to great effect.

The book is broken up into parts – Warwickshire, the county of Shakespeare's birth and childhood, plus his later years, is explored in great detail, a particular emphasis falling on various places in Stratford-Upon-Avon that we know for a fact Shakespeare frequented. We then move onto The Lost Years – a time which we have no concrete evidence for Shakespeare's whereabouts. Was he in Lancashire? Was he a Catholic spy? It seems we'll never know, but Zoe Bramley nevertheless explores the locations that both circumstances may well have taken place in, if they ever happened. Then, we have London. The majority of Shakespeare's work took place in London, and this is the place he lived the longest, so a substantial amount of text is dedicated to his movements here, and the various Shakespearean haunts that one can visit. From there, we rather run out of facts about the places that Shakespeare visited. But what about all the places that Shakespeare has transported his readers and viewers to over the years? The author then focuses on these in the final major section, A Journey into Shakespeare's mind, before finishing with a look at some miscellaneous places that have Shakespearean associations.

The writing is of exceptional quality here – Bramley is a knowledgeable writer who combines facts with humour and intelligent prose. This is no mere travel guide – although I can't deny that it has suggested to me several places I intend to visit, but more a knowledgeable companion who takes the reader on a fascinating journey through Shakespeare's world. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading I would recommend Shakespeare on Toast by Ben Crystal. Breaking down the facts on both Shakespeare and his work, this a book that will help both those new to the bard, and those who are affirmed devotees will absolutely get something more out of it, and possibly have their enjoyment of Shakespeare enhanced.

Buy The Shakespeare Trail by Zoe Bramley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Shakespeare Trail by Zoe Bramley at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Shakespeare Trail by Zoe Bramley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Shakespeare Trail by Zoe Bramley at Amazon.com.


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