Most everyone is familiar with William Shakespeare's historical significance and extensive works. It is often overlooked, however, that he is still thriving in life and literature today. This list contains both historical novels and contemporary fiction. Several are alternate versions of Shakespeare's plays and others are fictional accounts of his life and times. All are extremely interesting and will surely provide a new way of looking at Shakespeare!
by Jennifer Lee Carrell
I think this is by far the best fiction book featuring Shakespeare. It is considered to be The Da Vinci Code for Shakespeare enthusiasts and bibliophiles. It's a fast-paced mystery/thriller that follows one of the biggest literary discoveries imaginable.
by Grace Tiffany
This book was the first Shakespeare fiction I read and I absolutely fell in love. It chronicles "Will's" life in London, including the hard times and the mysterious relationship with Henry Wriothesley. It's absolutely beautifully written and extremely believable. Tiffany expertly spins fabulous fiction from the very few facts we know about Shakespeare.
by Grace Tiffany
Chronologically, this book would seem to come before Will, but it is best read afterward. This focuses on Judith Shakespeare, after her brother's death. It is especially interesting, as the Shakespeare children are not often considered. My Father Had a Daughter explores the position of women in Elizabethan England and the situations they would have faced.
by Lisa Klein
Hamlet is quite possibly my favorite play and this book is absolutely magical. It works from within the play, exploring and explaining Hamlet's "madness" and their relationship. Told from Ophelia's point of view, it provides some wonderful things to think about while re-reading Hamlet.
by Daniel Singer, Jess Borgeson, William Shakespeare, Adam Long
This is actually a screenplay for a film; it's not quite fiction, and it's definitely not all Shakespeare! The members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company have "reduced" all of Shakespeare's plays (plus the sonnets) to about a two hour performance. It is at times sardonic and satirical, but always absolutely hilarious! You will definitely never think of Shakespeare the same way again!
by Grace Tiffany
Here, Grace Tiffany enters the world of The Tempest. It provides background for the story and is an interesting read before or after The Tempest. You will definitely think of the characters quite differently.
by Gary Blackwood
These short little novels are a wonderful way to introduce children to Shakespeare. They're pretty short and very readable and focus on a young boy that is Shakespeare's apprentice. They provide a good basis for literature that will come later for children. (I actually didn't read them until I was in my late teens.)
by Sarah A. Hoyt
This book (as well as Ill Met By Moonlight and Any Man So Daring are novels that focus on Shakespeare's life, beginning shortly after his marriage. They are wonderfully written and are laced with tinges of Shakespeare's works.
by Anthony Burgess
This book is positively juicy! It boasts itself as "a story of Shakespeare's love life" — and it delivers.
by Karen Harper
Did you know Shakespeare was betrothed to another woman before he married Anne Hathaway? This novel takes Anne Whateley, the woman from the historical records, as Shakespeare's only true love. I adore the novels that focus on Shakespeare's life — especially when they address his love life! They give an idea (albeit a fictional one) of the passion behind those magical works!
by Leonard Tourney
Another Shakespeare mystery, narrated by the man himself. It is quite different in tone and plot. It does, however, involve the infamous Dark Lady as the source of problem and pain that she proved to be in his sonnets.
by Tom Stoppard, Marc Norman
Yes, this is the screenplay for the Academy Award-winning film. I think this movie is absolutely magnificent, and you'll understand why when you read this. It addresses competition, inspiration, and love.
by Stanley Wells, foreword by Joseph Fiennes
This is an adorable little book that's a fictional interview over coffee with Mr. William Shakespeare. It was quick, easy, and fun to read.
by Grace Tiffany
This story is a rendition of The Merchant of Venice, through the eyes of Shylock's daughter. Tiffany's books are very adept at telling things from different perspectives that would have gone unnoticed.
by Elizabeth Bear
This book is actually the first of a series featuring Shakespeare and company (though not his company). It is drastically different from any Shakespeare fiction I've ever encountered — it's supernatural/fantasy. Witches, warlocks, and the like can be found alongside "Master Shakespeare" and Kit Marlowe. Even if you aren't interested in the entire series, this book deserves a read just to explore this new genre within the realm of Shakespeare fiction.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Stacie Taylor
I'm a student at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, majoring in English and writing. I read whatever I can get my hands on in between (and often during) schoolwork. William Shakespeare is easily my favorite author and I consider him to be the ancestor of all modern literature.
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