The Queen and the Playwright

Love's Labor Lost

Non-Fiction - Biography
434 Pages
Reviewed on 10/04/2019
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Author Biography

Bruce Hutchison (alter ego of his character Clayton Lovell Stone) is a clinical psychologist who has practiced in Delaware, Maryland, and New Mexico. For many years he was the chief psychologist as the Upper Shore Mental Health Center in Chestertown, Maryland and in private practice in Easton. He taught counseling, therapy, and psychopathology courses in the Washington College Graduate Psychology Department. He has worked as a consultant for adult and adolescent rehabilitation programs, geriatric centers, and law enforcement agencies, and has testified as an expert witness in psychological profiling for both the prosecution and the defense. He has been a long-time member of the State of Maryland’s Forensic Evaluation Team. He has supervised psychologists for the Maryland Prison System and served in the Mental Health Section to the 24th Infantry Division of the United States Army in Munich, Germany.
Bruce received his Master’s Degree from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Maryland. He is the author or Psycho Logic: How to Take Charge of Your Live (Simon & Schuster, 1985), The Queen and the Playwright, Love's Labor Los t(2019), and Body of Evidence: A Deadly Trail of Treachery and Deceit (2015). He has presented on these topics in the U.S. and internationally. He currently lives and works in Easton, Maryland.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

The Queen and the Playwright: Love's Labor Lost by Bruce Hutchison is a love story between the famous queen of England and a young playwright. As a child, Edward de Vere had a reputation for disappearing into his own imagination as he was often compelled to act out plays on the whims of his daydreams. After his father dies, he’s sent away to live as a ward of Queen Elizabeth under the housing of Minister Burghley. As the years pass, he forms a connection with the queen - a secret affair results that struggles as threats against the crown grow. A child between them changes everything which leads Edward to sever all ties with the crown and to attribute all his works to another playwright.

Bruce Hutchison delves into the question of what if William Shakespeare isn’t the true writer of his notable works and explores an answer through the life of Edward de Vere. Hutchison calls Shakespeare’s credibility into question about the true authorship of the famous works and delves into Edward’s life. The focus is a love story that’s fraught with scandal and secrets but isn’t without passion and an honest connection between two people during a time of thrones and heirs. The Queen and the Playwright is an ideal read for history lovers that want to open up their minds to different approaches to the history they’ve been taught.

The story focuses primarily on his relationship with the queen and the works attributed to Shakespeare with the rest of his life seen throughout key moments. Various historical events during Queen Elizabeth’s reign are incorporated as she deals with threats against her throne, possible invasion, and Mary Queen of Scots. The societal and royal happenings during the time period are at the root of why Edward and the queen have a doomed love story from the beginning, though the way the relationship evolves is fascinating and emotional. The various sonnets and plays get their time to shine in situations that are perfectly fitted to his cheeky attitude and brazen personality. The Queen and the Playwright: Love's Labor Lost is a love story fraught with tragedy and filled with passion as the playwright is brought to life in a tale of loss, affairs, marriage, love, and secrets.

Rabia Tanveer

The Queen and the Playwright: Love's Labor Lost by Bruce Hutchison is the story of a man whose identity has been debated for centuries in the literary world. Edward De Vere is the seventeenth Earl of Oxford. More than that, he is also in the inner circle of Queen Elizabeth I’s court. A nobleman at heart, he enjoyed the pursuits that any nobleman does. However, he has a secret; he is the lover of the Queen and their love is forbidden. So when the Queen gave birth to a child in secret, Edward was forced to make a hard choice. What happened that led him to become a man he had no previous aspirations to become? What happened to the child? And more importantly, what will happen to Edward?

Being a literature major, I have a love/hate relationship with William Shakespeare, so you can imagine how this novel piqued my interest the moment I read the blurb. While there have been many theories as to who Shakespeare really was, the debate has never come to an end. The author puts forward a compelling case, one that makes you stand back and look at it from a very different perspective. The author has done a great job at creating suspense and hype that drew me in from the get-go. The characterization is excellent, the development is on point and the overall flow of the story is impressive. I enjoyed the story and the total literary experience.

Gisela Dixon

The Queen and the Playwright: Love's Labor Lost by Bruce Hutchison is a historical narrative based in 17th century England and delves into Shakespeare’s identity and the possible conspiracy to hide the true identity of the man that the world knows as Shakespeare, the playwright. In this book, Bruce has recreated England of those times with the monarchy and rules of succession among the privileged elite with flesh-and-blood characters. The story talks about Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford and his life beginning from his early years, his family background and connections, his fondness for the theatre and writing plays, his love affairs and marriage including his relationship with the Queen, children, the social and political events of those times, his travels, as well as his later life where he is attributed to have accepted anonymity as the writer of the plays and instead William Shakespeare of Stratford was attributed authorship. The reasons for this have also been explored in this book.

In The Queen and the Playwright, Bruce has tried to create a biographical and historical account of Edward de Vere’s life. The chapters are filled with sonnets and sentences out of Shakespeare’s own writing and plays, which are nice to read. The authorship of Shakespeare’s plays has been a subject of debate for a long time with several possible candidates put forward. Here, Bruce makes a strong case for Edward being the real author. I liked and enjoyed the writing style which is fast-paced with exciting events and which makes the book read like an entertaining story. I also really enjoyed reading about life in those times with the great importance given to social etiquette as well as the politics of the era. Whether one is completely convinced of Edward’s authorship or not, this book is an intriguing read, especially for people interested in history.

Romuald Dzemo

The Queen and the Playwright: Love's Labor Lost by Bruce Hutchison is a historical tale with the setting in sixteenth-century England, a narrative with the bold premise that questions whether the plays and sonnets attributed to William Shakespeare were indeed written by him. The author reveals Elizabethan culture in this narrative and minutely explores the way of life of nobles at the time. Edward De Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford, is a brash and attractive young man with access to court, a man who develops a secret love affair with the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth I and is the father of a child. The affair with the queen threatens the kingdom. This is the story of a man who dies stripped of everything, with plays and writings that become ascribed to someone else.

This is a very brilliant idea. It is bold and well-researched and there is no doubt that the author transforms a debate that has existed amongst literary critics for centuries into a work that is as imaginative as it is entertaining. The characters are well-developed and the author takes readers on an emotional journey into the hearts of the characters, back to the sixteenth century. The excellent prose combines with strong dialogue to create scenes that are focused and explore emotions that readers can readily identify with. The Queen and the Playwright: Love's Labor Lost is a masterpiece and I enjoyed the brilliant portrait of De Vere and his anguish. And isn’t his story reminiscent of the tragedy in the plays Shakespeare wrote? It will be hard for any reader to skip a page or put this book down until they have the answers.

K.C. Finn

The Queen and the Playwright: Love’s Labor Lost is a fictionalized narrative centered on a historical biography and real historical facts, and was penned by author Bruce Hutchison. There is much debate, even today, about the true identity of the playwright William Shakespeare. For those who contest whether he wrote his plays or not, author Bruce Hutchison presents an alternative. In this torrid tale of sixteenth-century romance, secret children, mistaken identities and Elizabethan thrills at the royal court, we discover the facts about Edward De Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford, and the circumstances which could have led him to become the best writer no-one has ever heard of.

Utilizing the real history of what we know about De Vere and Queen Elizabeth I’s intriguing connections with him, author Bruce Hutchison has developed a really fantastic romantic mystery work. Fans of the era will catch on to all the political intrigue in a time of war with the Spanish and the Scots, religious outrage and the mystique which surrounded the so-called ‘Virgin Queen’ at the head of it all. The narrative is woven with authentic language from the time and some very visceral depictions of their way of life, but also raises interesting questions of why De Vere had to remain anonymous for his talents, and why Shakespeare became the name on everybody’s lips. Overall, The Queen and the Playwright: Love’s Labor Lost presents a compelling alternative history which will definitely interest the critics among us.