Set in the twilight years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, The Lady and the Poet tells the story of the illicit, and passionate love affair between the poet John Donne, and, against all odds, his eventual marriage to Ann More.
Deeply atmospheric, the characters, the buidlings, the sights and the smells of 16th century London, are vividly brought to life alongside that of a very rural existence at Loseley Park in Surrey, ancestral home of the More family.
The unlikely yet enduring love between Jacobean poet John Donne and Ann More inspires British writer Haran (Having It All) for her first historical novel. More was a teenager when she met Donne, already an established poet and libertine. The Catholic Donne was an undesirable suitor, and Ann, the well-educated daughter of Surrey nobility, was expected to follow her sisters into an arranged marriage. Little is known about More, which allows for flights of imagination woven into the historical record: inopportune encounters across London, secret letters, a dangerous solo moonlit ride on horseback. Donne's poetry appears throughout the narrative, but there is nothing metaphysical about the couple's passion. Ann risks scandal, poverty and her father's wrath to be with Donne. Haran shows the challenges of being a woman at the turn of the 17th century, doing a creditable job of bringing history to life by creating a portrait of the renowned poet and a matching fictional portrait of the woman whom, according to history and literature, he deeply loved.