Monday, March 18, 2013

A review of William & Lucy: A Tale of Suspicion and Love

William and Lucy: A Tale of Suspicion and Love
Inspired by the William Wordsworth poem She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways

By Michael Brown
Genres: Historical Fiction (1798, England), Romance
Available in trade paperback and all digital formats
Publication Date: April 13, 2012 
Publisher: Tarn Publishing
Print: 358 pages; $15.95; ISBN-10: 1456361430 ·ISBN-13: 978-1456361433
Digital: 520 KB; $9.95; ASIN: B0089YLY7M

About the book...

One of the most romantic poems in the history of English literature “She Dwelt Among The Untrodden Ways” was written by William Wordsworth. The subject of his poem was a young woman named Lucy -- she is one of literary history’s most enduring mysteries. Who was Lucy? Where did she come from? Did she ever exist? No one knows.  

This is their story…

It’s 1798. England is at war with France as struggling poet William Wordsworth meets Lucy Sims, a novice painter working as a nanny in the English countryside. They fall into a love burdened by social prejudice, crushing debt and dangerous rumors that threaten to send Wordsworth to the gallows for being a French spy. Meanwhile, Lucy’s employer plans to seduce her and make her his mistress. William and Lucy’s relationship hangs in the balance, until fate intervenes and in a suspense-filled, action-packed finale, their love triumphs and becomes part of literary history. Winner of the 2012 Global Ebook Award for Best Historical Fiction Novel of the Year (1500-1940), Michael Brown’s deeply romantic work establishes William and Lucy as one of the most captivating relationships in literature, and lovingly conveys how the enigmatic young woman became the poet’s muse, much like how Beatrice influenced Dante.

Romanticism in poetry, as personified by Wordsworth, was marked by meditation, worship of nature, and the decision to abandon classical verse by composing poems for the common man. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge led the way with the second edition of their book Lyrical Ballads, which became the single most important work of poetry in the history of English literature. The Lucy poem in that volume, “She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways,” one of five Lucy poems Wordsworth composed during his lifetime, presents Lucy living in rural Somerset and charts her “growth, perfection, and death,” according to literary critic Geoffrey Durant. Lucy’s unresolved identity has intrigued literary historians for ages.

At long last Michael Brown, through dedicated research and imaginative storytelling, has released the poet laureate from the bondage of his dour portrayal in history and has given us the flesh and blood Wordsworth, a man of adventure and passion. And for the first time ever, the author originates the identity of “Lucy” in a love story that has never been told. 

My review of William and Lucy: A Tale of Suspense and Love...

Some novels are able to transcend the boundaries of imagination where they touch our hearts in gentle ways that leave us nostalgic when we turn the last page: such is the impact of William & Lucy.  The characters are brought to life with grace and intelligence.  More often than not, I found myself smiling in writer kinship with Wordsworth's pain of finding the right word and his panic when a journal of precious work falls into water.  He became more than a name of a famous poet, more than a character in a novel...he became a man I wish I'd known.  

Bringing forth a tale based on history is no easy task and I applaud Michael Brown for mastering the feat.  The story of William Wordsworth and Lucy Sims flows seamlessly and eloquently.  Never once did I feel that history intruded on the story; rather, it served as a solid foundation from which the author's imagination soared.  I found myself transported back in time, imagining poets lamenting about their freedom to speak out against the aristocracy, feeling Lucy's helplessness at being a girl during a time when that didn't present many options and experiencing the excitement of love when it's all about discovery and hope.  

The author credits the poem She Dwells Upon the Untrodden Ways for his inspiration.  After reading the novel, I went back and read all of the Lucy poems by Wordsworth hoping to share one with you all in this review. That's not happening. Even if you've read them and are familiar with Wordsworth, do yourself a favor and read this novel before re-reading the poems because they will have much more impact.  Trust me.  

If you love history, read this book.  If you love brilliant writing, read this book.  If you love romance, read this book.  If you love a page turning ending, read this book.  Yes, even though it's based on historical facts, William & Lucy delivers an ending that will have your heart pumping.  

Excellent job, Michael Brown.  Not only did I enjoy your novel, I believe I learned a thing or two along the way.  I can't rate this book high enough--I'll say five stars because that's the norm, it seems, but it's worthy of a ten.  

About the Author
An acclaimed film editor, Michael Brown has won three Emmy Awards, an ACE Eddie Award and a Lifetime Career Achievement Award for feature and TV work. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. As a TV writer, his credits include “CPO Sharkey” (NBC), “Brothers and Sisters” (NBC), “A.E.S. Hudson Street” (ABC), “Three for the Road” (CBS) and “Piper’s Pets” (NBC pilot). He lives in Chatsworth, California with his wife, Holly. William & Lucy is his first novel.

Tarn Publishing:

Print and ebook available at,,, and most eBook outlets
Smashwords 20% discount coupon code  ED35D


Amber Lea Easton said...

I'm not seeing any comments, people. I hope you're so enthusiastic about buying his book that you didn't want to wait for a giveaway. Ha.

Happy first day of spring!

Anonymous said...

Happy First day of spring, Amber!
Generally, I do not read a review
before reading a novel, so I was intrigued after reading Amber's review of WILLIAM AND LUCY. First, as a former high school language arts teacher, I have to say that my greatest pleasure was introducing my students to novels and poetry. I loved to help my students learn to appreciate the inherent beauty of words, to discover the intricate meanings of a poet/author, and to use their imagination to take the words beyond the obvious. I also love historical fiction and when you add romance and action, what is there not to like? So, when Amber suggested that the reader read Michael Brown's WILLIAM AND LUCY without going back to read Wordsworth's poetry first, I was hooked! It means that the book stands on its own merit. I am excited to read the book...I will revisit the poetry later!

Joyce Strand said...

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!