Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on August 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Time Travel, Young Adult
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A romantic time travel story that's ideal for fans of novels by Meg Cabot and Donna Jo Napoli--and, of course, Shakespeare.
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 lost 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.
“As much as it hurts to admit it, I knew he was right. I would love him with all my heart, but in the end, it wouldn’t be enough. I’d long for everything I couldn’t have, and that would kill the love between us. Not right away, but someday.”
I had high hopes for this novel, it was Young Adult, it had time travel and Shakespeare all things that make up a “me” kind of book. Unfortunately my high hopes were dashed and fairly early on I might add – this book was unfortunately a very light read, without much substance and the actual plot I found very difficult to swallow.
Miranda is kidnapped from the present day by a time traveller called Stephen Langford so that she can travel back in time to the 1500s and seduce Shakespeare in order to keep him from becoming a priest, forever altering the world as we know it. Without more than a minute of protest she goes off in time and agrees to sleep with Shakespeare by posing as Stephen’s sister and before you know it she’s a co-conspirator of this crazy plot. Miranda is chosen by Stephen for this task as she is well versed in Shakespeare’s works and for this reason will fit into life during the 16th century without any problems.
This entire summary really displays how weak the storyline of Kissing Shakespeare is, and in fact reading back over it has me rolling my eyes all over again. How or why anyone could be friendly with someone who had taken them against their will is beyond me, and I absolutely hate virginal female leads who are willing to “give it up” for the most ridiculous and flimsy reasons. Your either open to sex and sexual encounters or you’re not, one minute Miranda was all for it, the next she wasn’t because she wasn’t a “slut” that type of melodrama really gets on my nerves. I also felt that any modern day teenager would severely struggle with the etiquette and lifestyles of someone in the 1500s let alone be expected to impersonate someone.
The characters really let this story down in general. Stephen wasn’t particularly likeable though he was clearly meant to be a wonderful considerate man. Miranda while sweet was a little stupid at times which I found quite irritating and Shakespeare himself was written as a bit of a womaniser and flirt. The entire time Miranda was trying to seduce him I couldn’t quite work out why Stephen thought that this would be the best option. To me it was fairly clear that Shakespeare really needed some good friends who he could be honest with about his writing passion and thoughts about priesthood. I actually thought that this seemed a much more rational approach and could have easily turned into a romantic liaison if that’s what the author wanted and it would have seemed much more believable to the reader.
What this book did well was that it moved quickly and was well written making this very easy to read and overall enjoyable if you were willing to overlook the actual main plot. The descriptions of the English countryside and life of the 16th century was nicely handled, I really liked hearing about it without there being too much descriptiveness unnecessarily bulking out the story. I was a bit surprised by the ending – I really had thought things were going to be different and was surprised that Stephen didn’t explain that he had seen Miranda as some brilliant Shakespearean actor in her future leading him to choose her. I will be interested to see if this stays as a stand alone or if the author decides to write sequels either with Miranda or Stephen as the main character.
While this book wasn’t by any means a favourite of mine I still did enjoy the reading experience for the most part. I think that if you are after a fairly fast easy to read YA novel and you like time travel or historical romances this is worth picking up.