Monday, September 16, 2013
Review: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle
Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle is a time travel tale from modern time back to the Elizabethan period in England when Shakespeare was alive but hadn't yet written any of his plays or sonnets.
Miranda wants to become an Shakespearian actor like her famous parents but she is not pleased with her performance as the lead in A Taming of the Shrew. In fact, she is so discouraged by her performance that she is thinking about giving up acting altogether. As she sits in her dressing room brooding she is approached by another cast member, Stephen Langford, who asks her if she would like to meet Shakespeare, the real guy. Miranda thinks he is a nut-case until he whisks her off to the roof and poof they are in England in the 1500s. Stephen tells her that he needs to help to convince Shakespeare to continue his writing and not go into the priesthood. Miranda reluctantly agrees, if for no other reason than she wants to get back to her life in the 21st century.
In the back of the book the author, Pamela Mingle, says that there is very little known about Shakespeare's early life, prior to his marriage to Anne Hathaway and his life on the stage in London. A few documents have been found giving possible evidence that he was a tutor in a wealthy man's home as a late teen. In addition, during this time period there was a great deal of trouble in the country around religion. Queen Elizabeth's sister Mary wanted the country to be catholic, QE wanted the people to worship in the Church of England. Catholic priests were actually hunted and killed or banished. This book assumes that Shakespeare was a tutor in his late teens and may have been courted to join the priesthood. Miranda was sent to the time period to save Shakespeare from joining the priesthood.
After completing the book I went to Goodreads to log my progress and decided to glance at the reviews from other readers. I was surprised to see that the reviews fell into two camps: "loved it" or "hated it." Most of the "hated it" reviewers didn't even finish the book and were critical that Shakespeare didn't play a more prominent role in the book. If I had stopped read mid-book I would have probably said something similar. Admittedly the book was a slow starter for me. But as I started seeing the connections to The Taming of the Shrew I found it to be a delight. If you want to really enjoy this book I recommend that you take a look back on a summary of the Shakespeare work and then look for similarities in this book. Other reviewers have found some similarities between this book and The Tempest. Either way, I do recommend this book for strong readers or fans of Shakespeare.
Disclaimer: I checked this book out from my school library.