When an amateur theatre company reunite for their 20th annual performance of Shakespeare’s’A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, one might expect they’d have their act together.
‘Midsummer’s Bottom’ immerses the reader in the lives of the actors, but also in the lives of the fey characters who are weary of seeing themselves represented in the troupe’s performances.
Like the play being performed, the story is an enjoyable romp through a glade in a forest, complicated by love, jealousy, and fey interference in the lives of humans.
This book is well-written and quite entertaining. The characters are varied and interesting, made complex by their desires and motivations, and intricately connected to both the play and one another’s lives.
Just how the plot will resolve keeps the reader guessing right to the end.
This book is recommended for readers aged 18 and over, as ‘Midsummer’s Bottom’ does contain some adult content, although not graphic or gratuitous.
Just like Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, this is a fun romp full of coincidence, disguise, trickery, and mistaken identity, albeit set on a tropical island in the 21st century.
Clepitt’s trademark humour infuses the narrative with warmth and a lighthearted tone that make the story very entertaining. The characters are, in keeping with Shakespeare’s play, delightful and a bit daft at the same time, which is how the story is actually made to work.
Given that the play already bent the gender roles and expectations back in the 1600s, it is a plot that easily lends itself to the incorporation of gay and lesbian characters and themes, achieved with the intelligence and wit that are characteristic of Clepitt’s writing.
There is sufficient homage to Shakespeare’s tale to make it recognizable, and sufficient originality and development of setting, plot and characters to make the work distinct as Clepitt’s own.
A most enjoyable read, ‘Or What You Will’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
A tragic story, very well told.
When one sets out to retell an old, world famous story, it is essential that both the plot and the characters are crafted well enough to keep the reader engaged when they already know what’s going to go wrong and how things are going to work out. This first first title in a ‘Fractured Shakespeare’ series by D.K. Marley does not disappoint in its new delivery of the ages-old story of Hamlet.
‘Prince of Sorrows’ is a novelised retelling of the story of Hamlet with a much less ‘Anglicised’ feeling about it than Shakespeare’s play. In fact, this story feels so authentic and well-developed, it actually seems as though it’s more like the original story from which Shakespeare might have drawn his plot and characters. The characters are complex and intricately drawn, and bear names that are definitely more Scandinavian than those used by Shakespeare, yet many are not entirely dissimilar. The story is just as dramatic as the play itself, capturing the intrigue of politics within the castle of Elsinore and the rollercoaster of Amleth’s thoughts and feelings as the tension increases and the story reaches its climax.
Even as a reader who knows Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ extremely well, I enjoyed this adaptation of the play to prose. It’s a tragic story, very well told.
‘Prince of Sorrows’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.