Midwest Book Mom Presents: Character Interview with Peter Byerly
Book Rating: ★ ★ ★
Our guest today is Peter Byerly, a character written by Charlie Lovett from his novel The Bookman’s Tale published in 2014. Peter is a former antiquarian, or rare book collector, reeling from the loss of his beloved wife, Amanda. Nine months after his life was turned upside down, Peter completely isolated himself from anything reminding him of his previous life with Amanda.
Why? Good Question.
Peter, I wanted to extend my condolences on the loss of your wife. It must have been traumatic to go through.
(Peter): Thanks. It was.
Okay. It was difficult to get ahold of you. Are you living overseas now?
(Peter): Yes, I’m currently living along the English countryside. I did leave the people I know and friends there in the states. While I’ve been in England, I was shopping at an old bookstore trying to regain my hobby again when I discovered a Victorian watercolor inside an old book. Strangely, this watercolor held the resemblance of my late wife, Amanda. There were initials on the picture so naturally, I went looking for someone who could help me learn more about this painting.
In a bookstore full of books, you stumbled on a doppelganger picture of your deceased wife. Is this what moves the plot forward in the novel?
(Peter): Sort of. There’s also a specific manuscript I’m investigating along with the watercolor picture. To be honest, this manuscript takes up quite a bit of my time. I’m trying to identify if the manuscript in question is authentic. I’m skilled in the process of mending rare books and trying to identify forgeries. It’s pretty much all I do.
From character to writer, what can you say about Charlie Lovett writing this novel?
(Peter): He creates an engaging story about the cutthroat industry of literature and manuscripts. I can respect a man who provides this kind of detailed information. In the novel, his readers are following three different time periods all linked together. The history of the manuscript, my present life now, and my time with my beloved Amanda.
The tagline of this novel is “A Novel about Obsession.” Does this seem like the right kind of obsession?
(Peter): I don’t think I like this question. Look, I found a Victorian picture resembling my deceased wife inside a book. Then this manuscript appeared, and I have a lot going on. Excuse me…
My wrap-up conclusion on The Bookman’s Tale is like this interview. I had a difficult time grasping the plot of the story. One moment Peter desperately wants to know more about the painting then the next it’s this manuscript potentially being an authentic piece from the Shakespearean Era, and he needs to discover its secrets. The historical scene jumps in the novel was engaging and intriguing. Lovett did nicely in separating the different timelines. I enjoyed historical scenes, preferably the manuscript and its journey through time. The main characters Peter and Amanda were well-developed, but the side characters felt like they were the red shirt crew of Star Trek…if you know Star Trek, you know what I mean. Overall, if you want a fictional story about books and literary history, this may be intriguing but I had a difficult time with it. With the run around plots and needing more development with the side characters, I rate it a 3 out of 5 stars.