Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Miranda has grown up in the shadow of her famous Shakespearean actress mother. After a terrible performance in The Taming of the Shrew, Miranda's frustration leads her to rethink acting all together. But just as she is about to call everything off, the mysterious fellow student Stephen propositions her. He wants her to come back to the Elizabethan Age and ensure that Shakespeare becomes a brilliant playwright instead of becoming a priest. Miranda now must navigate the cultural and political intrigues that hinder her budding relationship with William Shakespeare, but also her quickly developing feelings for Stephen.

Shall we first discuss the elephant in the room? What is up with this cover? Yes it's pretty, but it really is no reflection at all of the story. If Miranda is in the 1580s, why would she be showing off her shoulders and have her hair down? Pretty... I guess, but I think it's rather insulting that a pretty cover is what's needed to draw people in. But we here at Wandering Librarians have grumbled a bit about the vapidity of covers.

Let me state that there's a theme with the rest of the review. Build up and let down. I felt that there was a continuous build up of a theme or information and then was let down with the follow through. I had such hopes for this, perhaps too high, and I thought that I would love it but didn't.

I liked the fact that Pamela Mingle chose The Taming of the Shrew to kick start the story, as we are supposed to see Miranda conform her modern views to the traditional Elizabethan age. Except Miranda never really comes off as the strong feminist that Katherine does. She comes off as arrogant, credulous, and a bit lacking in the personality department. She cries over almost anything that has to do with Stephen and her intense feelings for him, yet continuously goes along with his plan to seduce Shakespeare without thinking of alternatives. She finds herself in the middle of a religious and political conflict and yet doesn't really think to make a concentrated investigation of it.

I thought that the descriptions of the historical elements were very well done. The little details about dress, food, religion, were all so fascinating. But the details that made the story somewhat tolerable were pretty infrequent, and generally were overridden by the sad storytelling.

I thought that there would be this great dramatic ending (Spoiler alert), obviously Miranda wouldn't actually end up sleeping with Shakespeare but I thought there'd be at least so sort of deep conversation about what he wants in life and why priesthood wouldn't be right for him. I didn't thin that Miranda would just kiss him a couple times and then he would declare that he'd already decided he wasn't going to become a priest. It just kind of showed that Miranda had no real purpose. It probably would've been fine without her, therefore this story never needed to be written. Sad.

Not well done. No real point and and very disappointing ending. I read some other people's requests for a sequel, but I think it would be best to let dead dogs lie. It had potential, but never really went anywhere.

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