Lady of the Play is written in parallel historical and contemporary stories, with focus on the life of Elizabeth Trentham, the other Shakespeare.
The contemporary story begins with the finding of an original page from A Midsummer Night’s Dream hidden in the cover of an ancient Book of Common Prayer owned by an elderly woman, Sudie McFadden. She contacts a history teacher, Cynthia Parsons, to help her prove her ancestor, the original owner of the prayer book, was the true playwright. Cynthia, with the help of a librarian friend, and an attorney, conduct extensive research to prove Elizabeth Trentham was the true playwright and poet.
There is a smooth transition from the modern chapters to the historical. The historical chapters tell of the secret life of Elizabeth Trentham, her innate genius, and how she obtained the necessary qualifications to be Shakespeare. The story begins with her childhood, then the ten years she spent as a maid of honor in Queen Elizabeth I court, her collaboration with Edward de Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, and their subsequent marriage. Also, why they hired an actor, Wm Shaksper, as their broker and later allowed him to take credit for the plays. Edward dies in 1604 and Elizabeth continues with the deception until her death in 1612, the same year William Shaksper retires. In her will, she leave money for her “dumb” man to assure his silence. Included is her relationship with John Overall, one of the King James Bible translators. Clues of Ely and Edward’s collaboration are left behind in Psalms 46 and the deVere crest of the female lion. Cynthia faces intrigue, danger, and romance along the way as others try to steal historical documents, thereby thwarting her efforts to reveal the truth. Even though Lady of the Play depicts the fictional life of Elizabeth Trentham, events are based on the actual historical timeline and events.
Lady of the Play will appeal to the general population whether a fan of Shakespeare or not.