Author: Lisa Klein
Genre: Young-Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication: December 26th 2007 by Bloomsbury USA
In this re-imagining of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen’s most trusted lady-in-waiting. She catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, and their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and ultimately, Ophelia must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a treacherous plan to escape from Elsinore forever . . . with one very dangerous secret, she is pregnant with Hamlet’s child. Sharp and literary, dark and romantic, this dramatic story holds readers in its grip until the final, heartrending scene.
To start with the book was well written, engaging at times, but for me, probably a hundred pages too long. By the end it began to drag and I was happy to have it over with. By far this book wasn’t bad, it just lacked any form of juice and excitement.
What happened to Ophelia? She leaves me in utter despair to how the author has ruined such an iconic Shakespeare character. Klein took a mysterious, alluring young girl in my opinion, who held a great deal about herself in inner strength and made her a watered down pansy. She was fluttering around in panic, always looking to Hamlet for advice, she supposedly had a hideous pig of a man after her who she continually pushed away. This led to her being ‘saved’ by Hamlet to start their romance. She just lacked any form of sustenance. To me, Klein’s portrayal of Ophelia damaged by impression that I gained from Shakespeare.
The idea behind the story I thought was interesting and it did offer an alternate theory which is plausible. After all, we only viewed surface matters in Hamlet. I don’t think this was over the top or too fanciful. It fit well with the story being of mediocre interest.
The middle of the story is where everything becomes rather dry. The story seems to plod along at a slow pace and I found myself wanting to skip parts. I did read it all, but only because I felt like I would miss on something vital. Here the story could have done with more action or an introduction of a lively character to brighten the story and engage my attention.
The piece of work may be sharp and well written, but I wouldn’t call it dark and romantic! The romance is there, but it’s all rather artful and embellished as was the style in the Elizabethan era, but with this novel being aimed at a modern society, I felt the romance needed toning down to more plausible and realistic terms. The darkness I didn’t see at all, there may have been moments where you were momentary surprised or found a little exciting, but to me this was more of a fluffy romance novel than the dark, brooding tale I was expecting.
I enjoyed the interpretation as I do all different variations of Hamlet and it’s characters, but for me, Ophelia lacked any of the fiery sustenance I was hoping for.
For those of you that love Hamlet, and ultimately Ophelia, don’t waste your time reading her story because I’m sure you’d think of your own more exciting tale that she could venture on rather than Klein’s rather drab, if not a happy ending tale.
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