Interred with Their Bones- Jennifer Lee Carrell
Review by Jarad Johnson
I flipped through this book and saw Shakespeare, murder plot, and brilliant professor. I was hooked. I picked it up immediately. This kind of book rarely disappoints me. Fortunately, this book followed that pattern and I absolutely loved it. The book read sort of like a Dan Brown novel, mimicking all the twists and turns, and a long-lost mystery now discovered. The book draws heavily on the Shakespeare Authorship Theory, namely Edwardian and Darbyite theory. These theories suggest that Shakespeare was not the author or not the only author of his plays.
We begin with the main character and narrator Kate Stanley, former graduate student who wrote a dissertation on the occult Shakespeare, (something I wasn’t aware even existed, but when I stop to think of it I guess I should have expected), directing a production of Hamlet at the Globe Theatre in London shortly after giving up academia for the theatre. She has also secured a Hollywood Action Star to play the role of Hamlet, a Sir Henry Lee. During a particularly fervent rehearsal, Kate is surprised with a dramatic entrance by her former mentor and estranged teacher, Roz Howard. Roz presents her with a challenge, saying that she has found something even bigger than the Globe and Kate’s career. She then hands her a box, and tells her to guard it. What follows is a fast – paced and thrilling tale full of action, adventure, intrigue and of course and most importantly, literature and literary theory.
This book is not wholly unique; it’s a well done example of its genre. Sometimes it’s okay to know what you are getting into. While meeting expectations is not a bad thing, I anticipated the plot at some points. Of course, being a thriller, it had more than its fair share of action scenes, plot intrigue, and hinted romance. That is not what makes this compelling; in fact, those aspects are fairly run of the mill. The author shows historical prowess and knowledge through the scenes she writes regarding the history and the controversy behind the life of Shakespeare. Her characters are fairly well-developed, especially Roz. She was definitely the stand out character for me, given that she was an eccentric professor
I enjoyed the book, but I do think that there could have been a few improvements, starting with a hinted romance that was highly predictable from the moment we see the characters together. I was hoping that the author would not rely on sex appeal to try and make a book interesting. While most of the book was well written, the romantic angle seems to have been frivolous. It did not bear up to the focus the author placed on it. Plus some of the best characters are not carried through the entire novel.
All in all, I would recommend the book with a few reservations. It’s a pleasant read that incorporates a fascinating look at literary theory.
Jarad attends Middle Tennessee State University, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is majoring in English. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!