YA Friday: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Friday, September 07, 2012

Title: Kissing Shakespeare
Author: Pamela Mingle
Genre: YA, fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2012
Source: NetGalley
Read for: Review

Miranda feels as if she is stuck in her mother's shadow. Her mother is a famous Shakespearean actress, and after Miranda's dismal performance as Kate in Taming of the Shrew, she is ready to give up, tired of the comparisons. However, her life is turned upside down when a fellow actor in Taming of the Shrew pulls her aside and tells her he requires her -- and promptly removes her to sixteenth century Great Britain. Her task? To seduce Shakespeare in order to prevent him from joining the Jesuits, thus resulting in his great works never being written.

Kissing Shakespeare was ultimately a fun, light read with a kiss of romance. However, I had issues with the book initially. Miranda was unbearably immature at first, and as the book is written in first person, I was constantly irritated. The writing seemed as if it was coming from a young teen, but the subject matter was rather mature, so the two circumstances seemed incongruent. In addition, Miranda (or Olivia, as she was called in the sixteenth century, posing as her captor, Stephen's, sister) seemed so blatantly modern that the whole premise of the story implausible. In addition to her modern way of speaking, which no one really seemed to question, Miranda is caught in her bra and underwear by her maid, who accepts easily that they are simply from foreign lands. There is also a scene where Miranda wants to confront her "uncle." Stephen tells her no, that women generally do not participate in such conversations during that era, but when Miranda protests, he simply gives in. It all seemed a little too easy and unlikely.

However, with that said, there were many aspects of the story that I enjoyed. I found the plot fairly enjoyable, although much of the mystery aspect was predictable and left me frustrated with the characters for dimly not seeing the truth. What was most interesting to me were the little details of life that colored the time period, such as the clothing worn by the characters, the type of food they ate, and the way they spent their time, as well as the conflict between the Church of England and the forbidden practice of Catholicism. I don't know much about the Elizabethan era, but it seemed that Pamela Mingle had done her research and was well-versed in the time period.

I also found myself genuinely enjoying the romance that unfolded in Kissing Shakespeare. I was invested in the quarrels and sweet moments between the characters, and found myself rooting for them to succeed as obstacles occurred. As seems to be common in time travel stories, the ending was wrenching and had me aching for the characters. The love story definitely had its share of sweetness and romantic gestures, as any novel featuring Shakespeare should.

While Kissing Shakespeare had its flaws, I did find the story sweet and interesting. For a light read featuring time-travel and the Elizabethan era, Kissing Shakespeare will provide a few hours of enjoyment.

3 stars

Warnings: Some profanity (no f-bombs), disturbing scene of violence, heavy making out, discussion of seduction


  1. I was just looking at this one at work the other day. (I work in a bookstore.) I ended up figuring it was a bit too cutesy for my taste but probably fun. I'm glad to have your thoughts on the matter! :)

    1. Lucky you to work in a bookstore! I don't think you would have ultimately enjoyed this one. It was fun, but I could have done without it in the end.

  2. I was really excited about this book but I ended up really not liking it-I was especially icked out by the fact that Stephen kept talking about Miranda seducing Shakespeare while the two of them were falling for each other. This was among the other problems I had such as those you mentioned.

    1. Yeah, the whole situation was kind of weird. There was just something off to me the whole time -- it had a lot of promise but fell short.

  3. This is one I've been curious about. I was glad you mentioned what didn't work for you. I may still try it, but preferably from the library not a bookstore. Thanks!

    1. Yes, I'd say this is definitely a library read. It is fun but not a permanent keeper, I don't think.


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