Thank you Random House Children’s Books and Netgalley for allowing me to review an advanced readers copy of this novel.
Kissing Shakespeare follows the story of Miranda who is basically kidnapped by a time traveler, Stephen, from the 1500’s and is transported back to his time to seduce Shakespeare in order to make sure that he doesn’t join the church and give up his dream of writing. Yes, this is a little bit far fetched but I regularly read about the paranormal so who am I to judge?
Miranda or Olivia as she is called for most of the novel adjusts rather quickly to life in medieval Europe and accepts the role of seducer of Shakespeare which Stephen has thrust upon her without much protest. This seemed a little far-fetched for me and I think this detracted a little from the story as I really had to work to make myself see why Miranda made the decisions she did.
I also wanted to like Stephen but I never got the vibe that he really truly cared for Miranda. Stephen was hot one second and cold the next and then the ending left me saying WTF?! I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but trust me when I say its not the happy ending I was expecting and the author leaves it open for a sequel.
I was actually disappointed with the character of Shakespeare. Miranda was meant to seduce him but what he really needed was a friend and confident and Miranda should have told Stephen that right from the get-go rather then forcing herself on Shakespeare. I actually think that Shakespeare could have done without the coercion of Miranda and Stephen and still chosen the writing route. Decisions like what to do with your life shouldn’t be made or swayed by others friends. At times I was just rolling my eyes and wishing they would let Shakespeare be to think hard on what he really wanted out of his life.
While living in the past Miranda is masquerading as Stephen’s sister, Olivia, so for most of the book she is called Olivia. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a character switches names (i.e. Four/Tobias). It wasn’t too bad in Kissing Shakespeare because I never got to know the character as Miranda before she was suddenly Olivia. What did bother me is that as the relationship between Stephen and Miranda progresses while he is kissing her, even saying goodbye to her, Stephan calls her Olivia. I guess it just kind of creeped me out that he was kissing Miranda and calling her his sister’s name. Please let me know if this weirded anyone else out.
The saving grace of this novel is that it is well written and the descriptions of the castles, landscape, and general time period were very lush and engaging. The history and political intrigue were also well researched and played well into the storyline. Overall, I enjoyed Kissing Shakespeare and would recommend it to people who enjoyed Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers, or individuals who just love Shakespeare and period pieces