Molly Shipton, Secret Actress - Book Review

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Book Review of :  Molly Shipton, Secret Actress


Sheri Graubert, the author of "Molly Shipton. Secret Actress," a young-adult historical novel, has a magical writing style. Historically accurate to the culture and character of 1598 England, the author writes in a manner familiar to contemporary readers. This delightful tale is relatable to modern youth with a storyline of courage, determination, and faith.

A plague devastates the small English village leaving Molly and her younger sister orphaned. An unscrupulous landlord burns down their home; the girls flee toward London. The sisters are musically talented, but because it is illegal for females to perform professionally, they disguise themselves as young boys. Offered manual farm labor by their unscrupulous neighbor, they wander toward London to try to make a living as street performers. Molly fears for their lives; if they are discovered as girls, they could be jailed or hanged.

Through a series of adventures, the girls, masquerading as boys, make their way to London. The charming characters, Molly and Juliet, outsmart the villains and make heartwarming connections. Luck and resolve lead them to become involved in theater. Soon Molly is promoted to an actor and then becomes a stage star. With Shakespeare and Burbage as her co-stars, will Molly be able to keep her secret identity safe? At the same time, Juliet is received as an accomplished singer and ballad writer.

Determined to continue their ruse, the sisters interact with William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth. The story leads the reader behind the scenes of the theater world and into William Shakespeare's personality. Through the sister's adventures, the reader learns details of the daily lives of royalty and the commoner. The author has shown the reader the historic culture that is dynamic and as real as her characters. The story is so compelling that it will stay with the reader. Adult readers will find this novel charming and may recall their own experiences studying Shakespeare. Join Molly on her thrilling journey as she strives to make her dreams of becoming a star come true. With exciting plot twists and vivid descriptions, Molly Shipton, Secret Actress, will provide hours of engaging entertainment for all readers.

In addition to the historical background and the delightful tale, the author empowers readers to face trials through the valuable gems offered by minor characters. "Self-pity begets nothing." "There is always a way …you just have to work out how." "Potential humiliation is a small price to pay for knowledge," and "when in doubt-help" are excellent takeaways for readers who dread moving forward and making decisions. "Molly Shipton, Secret Actress" invites readers to step into the fascinating world of Elizabethan theatre and explore themes of identity and courage. 

Reviewed by: Carole W

About Sheri Graubert

Sheri spends her life pretending to be other people or writing stories about them. She has won awards for such pretense. Sheri, also, coaches folks on how to speak more properly in public. Sheri has performed and taught Shakespeare for years, from the English Shakespeare Company to Cheek by Jowl, to the NYC Student Shakespeare Festival. Her play Dick Spacey and the Space Cadets has been performed in NYC Children's hospitals for over ten years. She once saw a ghost in Edinburgh. Lady Shakespeare likes to claim she wrote Molly Shipton, Secret Actress, but she did not. You have been warned.

Visit for more information on Sheri Graubert


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