Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle
Series: Standalone
Published: August 14th, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books
352 pages (ebook)
Genre: Young adult science fiction/romance/historical fiction
Acquired this book: From NetGalley
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon}

Synopsis: 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 had mixed feelings about this book. I was really curious to read it despite the fact that it hasn’t gotten the greatest reviews from friends and fellow bloggers. I’ve always been fascinated with Shakespeare and Elizabethan England, so a story about time traveling back to that era intrigued me.

I thought the concept was quite unique. Young William Shakespeare was possibly being recruited to become a Jesuit, which would mean he wouldn’t be the famous playwright we all know today. Stephen, who has visions and the ability to travel through time was charged with the task of stopping that from happening, and he chose Miranda to help him do it. I thought his methods and the fact that he wanted her to seduce Shakespeare were a bit strange - at times it felt like he was attempting to pimp her out - but I did think it was an interesting concept to account for Shakespeare's 'lost years'.

I got kind of irritated with the characters sometimes. Stephen would be really sweet one minute and then all rough and gruff the next. He’d go from grabbing Miranda’s arm and dragging her out of a room, to kissing her. And worse than that, after he’d been mean to her, she’d want him to kiss her. He was cool, aloof, and condescending one minute and passionate and caring the next - it got a bit tiresome.

Miranda tended to be overly dramatic, emotional, a bit ridiculous, and slightly na├»ve. She went over the same things countless times and didn’t seem to think things through all the way. She did, however have her moments. All her flaws made her human, and she did grow as a character.

One thing I really did enjoy was the historical aspect of the story. The religion and politics of the time were in turmoil, women were meant to be good little housewives proficient in things like needlework and running a household, and it seemed like life revolved around eating, dancing, and general merry-making. I really enjoyed the scenes where they were all dining together, and I actually learned bits and pieces of history, like facts about Jesuits and all the religious chaos of the time.

Another redeeming quality about this book was the fact that the story kept me guessing (I thought I knew how it was going to end, but I was wrong). It had a good concept with a lot of potential, but there were too many things that didn’t make sense, and none of the characters (with the exception of Shakespeare himself) were very likeable. If you’re a fan of novels about time travel or Shakespearean/Elizabethan times, I’d say give this one a try and decide for yourself. 

In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No money or compensation of any sort exchanged hands. I review books to share my love of reading, and I'm always completely honest in my reviews, good or bad.
*Thank you to Delacorte and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book for review.*

 Have you read Kissing Shakespeare? What did you think? If you could time travel, where/when would you go and why?



  1. I like your suggestion that I read it myself and make up my own mind. I just might do that.

    Yours is not the only review I've read that said it had some bits lacking. :-)

  2. Wonderful review - lots of good insights. Thanks!


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