Firstly, let me apologize if the formatting of this post is a little off. Our WiFi is down again so I’m posting through my iPad which is proving a tad bit of a challenge when it comes to sizing pictures.
Reading Challenge: A book from the library. So, first challenge. This could also qualify for a an author I’ve never read either, but I’m sticking with the first one.
Published: Sep 19, 2006
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
The Hook: It’s an old story from another perspective.
Mixed feelings about this one. I’m just getting that out of the way. I absolutely love it, don’t get me wrong. I even gave it 4-5 Stars on GoodReads.
So, quick review on the plot.
Plot: If you know Shakespeare you have an idea where this is going. Rosalind is the girl Romeo was after just before he saw Juliet, who happens to be Rosaline’s cousin. In this story line, their close cousins, best friends even, and the story starts off with Rosaline in the Healer’s cottage. She has her heart set on become a Healer and has been apprenticing with the Healer for some time. Enter Romeo with Petrucio. Petrucio got beaten pretty badly, breaking a few of his ribs and Romeo has dragged him to the Healer for repair, but the Healer is out in a house call so Rosaline steps up to the challenge. Romeo is smitten with her. Upon leaving the cottage he promises to call on her. Rosaline, of course, finds this humorous since she’s a Capulet and Romeo, is of course, a Montegue. In addition to that fact, she’s sworn off love because of the hardships she’s seen while apprenticing and because she wants to study medicine.
This perspective is intertwined with the original story line. I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just jump to the review.
Review: I love this story line. I really do. If there’s anything I have to grumble about or wish to improve on, it would be the ending. **Spoiler Alert** It ends well enough and it’s a sweet end, but I wish it ended with a wedding. I’ll just leave it at that. **End Spoiler Alert**
I think the meshing of Rosaline’s perspective and the original story was done well. Being written for the Young Adult, I felt the story probably could have used more depth, but for the most part, I loved it. It offered a slightly different light on the events that transpired from the Capulet’s ball and it’s refreshing. As someone who didn’t completely fall in love with Romeo and Juliet’s story as an epic love, this version of events had me clapping and nodding and agreeing completely with Rosaline and Benvolio who argue that being in love is very different from the infatuation that Romeo feels for Rosaline and later Juliet. It tugged at my heartstrings a bit, reading again of the tragic events, especially from Rosaline’s perspective. It was funny, sad, entertaining, and just … enjoyable.
The characters we’ve met before and they pretty much stick to the same personality in this one except Fiedler goes into it a little bit more. I like what she did with Mercutio. I’ve always had a fondness for him and while he is cocky and doesn’t change much in this story, I still can relate to his character a bit. I love some of the point-of-views we see in this timeline. Mercutio, Thybalt, Romeo, and Benvolio add their voice to the narrative, in addition to Rosaline’s. I liked that we see some of the story from the Healer and the Friar as well.
This new take on an old tale is worth read through, if only once. Valid arguments have been made that the language is quasi-Shakespearean and disappointing, but I didn’t mind it, considering it’s a more modern re?-telling. Some felt it wasn’t historical enough and I can see how that can be disappointing as well, but it didn’t bother me. I read and loved Shakespeare’s story and I didn’t expect that from Fiedler. I used what I knew of the story to sort of supplement the atmosphere. That can throw people off, especially since argument can be made that Fiedler shouldn’t have written it for those who may not have read the original, but I would argue they should read Romeo & Juliet first. If only because it will help you understand this story better. Fiedler brings her own voice and experience to the table and I thought she did well with it.
It was a good read and I’m glad to start the year off with this story. It’s going on my favorites list.
Edited 01/06/16 – Updated formatting and grammatical errors.
Edited 01/14/16 – Updated to add a little more commentary.