I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...
Author: Jackie French
Series: Not a series as such, but the second book Jackie French has put out where she has rewritten or tweaked Shakespeare's female leads.
Publication Date: July 1st 2015
Synopsis: "She is the girl who will be queen: Ophelia, daughter of Denmark's lord chancellor and loved by Prince Hamlet.
But while Hamlet's family stab, poison or haunt one another, Ophelia plans a sensible rule, one filled with justice and delicious cheeses. Even if she has to pretend to be mad to make it happen, Ophelia will let nothing - not even howling ghosts - stand in her way.
This is Shakespeare's play, but with what might also have happened behind the scenes. And this story has a happy ending."
My thoughts: I reviewed I Am Juliet last year when it come out and found it really good, but a little bit dull at times. Ophelia I found to be perfect. The difference here may be that I studied Hamlet in high school and I guess I have never really let go of my interest in it, and finally being able to read a different, interwoven story that connects with Hamlet's was fascinating - I loved that Jackie French wanted to give Ophelia a voice here.
And I liked Ophelia - she was the most wonderful mix of roles and personality - how she acts around the King and Queen and her father outwardly and then seeing within her to hear what she is actually thinking made for very interesting reading. She is also not immune to love and lust, and yet she is very considered and logical about things. Basically, a character that I could really get behind and as I am writing this I want to dive back in and maybe read the alongside a copy of the play...
As with I Am Juliet, lines from the play are interwoven into the story, and it adds a great sense of beauty and homage to Shakespeare. Some of the research and history of the play and a few things within it are included in the end, as well, and I really loved how much French introduced cheese into the story. Seriously. It made me hungry.
I don't think I can really keep raving about this for much longer because, really, you ought to just go read it for yourself and see if you like it. I think French really brings out the tragic humour of the play, and brings a certain level of 'seriously? why are you doing that?' to the action and intrigue. Seriously, just go read it. I loved it.
I received a review copy of this book from HarperCollins (thank you!).
You would like this book if: You like Hamlet and always wanted Ophelia to get a bit more of a say; you like cheese...
Tea to drink while reading this book: There wasn't much tea drinking in this book, so I would recommend a fruit tisane - perhaps something lingonberry or citrus - to reflect the drinking of wine and ale that happens so often in this tale. Perhaps Twinings Raspberry, Strawberry and Loganberry? I want to try that now...
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