Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kissing Shakespeare by Pam Mingle

Genre:  YA Historical Fiction

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school's staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she'd like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he's a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen's really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lose its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn't convinced she's the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it's her only chance of getting back to the present and her "real" life. What Miranda doesn't bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

I was enticed by this description almost immediately.  I mean, it's Shakespeare!  And love!  But I totally wasn't expecting what I got.  I believe it was a good story but very different from what I expected.

Miranda kind of humiliates herself with her attempt at Shakespeare acting.  And while in the dumps, Stephen kind of whisks her away to Shakespearian time in England.  Now if you don't remember what was going on at this time, let me refresh your memory.  Queen Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII, is ruling.  For those who don't know anything about Henry VIII, he went through wives like we go through shoes or clothes.  And Catholicism doesn't support divorce.  So, in order to keep from beheading his first wife in order to marry his second, he created his own church (note I am oversimplifying quite a lot here).  He still later beheads half of the wives he marries, but that's beside the point.  Elizabeth has just brought England back to Protestant rule after Mary's reign (who was a devout Catholic).  So, there is a lot of religious tumult in Shakespearian England.

So, why the brief history lesson?  Because I kind of forgot about the history when I picked up this book.  And there's a lot of religion in this book.  It's not the preachy kind; it's there because it's in England's history.  But the story between Miranda (who goes by Olivia), Stephen, and Shakespeare is tied to this history.  So, you're going to get an interestingly good story.

What I liked best was the ties between today's humor and the historical fiction.  Miranda tries to one up her mom by doing something her mother could never do: sleep with Shakespeare.  But she kind of finds some unexpected romance along the way.  And it's beautiful.

Who should read this?  I'd say fans of historical fiction and fans of Shakespeare.  If you're a fan of English history, then you'll probably enjoy this.  Just note, this is speculative historical fiction since we don't really know what Shakespeare did in his early days.

Challenges:  Debut Author Challenge and Young Adult Reading Challenge

1 comment:

  1. I had been wanting to read this one for a while but now I don't know if I want to read it any more, although I do still love the cover :)


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