Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Book: Kissing Shakespeare
Author: Pamela Mingle
Publisher: Random House Children's
Date: August 7, 2012
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
My grade: A+

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 lose 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.  (Cover and description from www.goodreads.com)


Initial reaction
What a piece of work is this book!

Title and cover
Gorgeous!  The title immediately captured me because I am a Shakespeare fan and the softness of the picture gave this cover a bit of a timeless look.  I loved it the moment I saw it.

Plot, characters, etc.
This book was beautifully crafted!  I loved the story, the characters, the setting.  There was not one thing I did not like about this book.  Well, the ending broke my heart but I saw it coming.  

I don’t read a lot of time travel books because I think they are a little hokey, to be honest.  The thing that got me to read this book was Shakespeare.  I love Shakespeare and the thought of someone traveling back in time to meet him, and seduce him (!) was a total hook for me.  However, Shakespeare ends up not even being a main character in this novel.  Was I disappointed?  Not in the least!  Why?  Because Miranda/Olivia and Stephen and the story were so much more than I anticipated!

I loved the way the author mixed together some real history with her fictional story and some speculated facts about Shakespeare.  It all came together so beautifully and was so convincing that I want to believe that it happened just this way.  Yep, time travel and all!

This book grabbed me from the start.  I could not put it down.  I read it in half a day.  Well, I did stay up until 3 a.m. to finish it, because I couldn’t bear to part with it until it was complete.  Then Pam Mingle sucker punched me in the gut with that ending.....please, please tell me that you’ve left the epilogue out or that there’s a sequel or something!  I am so, so not ready to let this book and these characters go!  But I understand why it ended the way it did, it’s just not the way I wanted.

As if a wonderful story full of history and English countryside isn’t enough, she gave me great characters as well.  Miranda was a wonderful leading lady and it was so touching to see her struggle and grow and try to do what she thought was necessary but follow her own heart.  And Stephen!  ::gasp::  He was incredible!  He was funny, sarcastic, tender and sometimes sexist, but it worked in an Elizabethan gentleman.  He was still very sensitive to Miranda’s modernness and Pamela Mingle ended up pulling that character off gracefully.  I could totally believe all his words and actions.  Another fun facet was the way that Miranda and Stephen mimicked parts of Taming of the Shrew.  I always love it when stories mirror Shakespeare’s play and to have it happen inside a book about Shakespeare was just the icing on the cake!

And then there was this also:

I swear there is an author conspiracy to kill me with the pretty!!!  Oh Henry Cavill!  Oh Joseph Fiennes!  How I love you both in your white poet shirts and hose!  You both make me wish I was a bawdy Elizabethan babe!  ::sighs::  They are such stuff as dreams are made of.......


I really wanted to have some cool Elizabethan tunes, but surprisingly, there are not many of those on YouTube.  Instead, I give you 4 songs that sum up many of my feelings about this book.

When I Look to the Sky by Train

From where you are  by Lifehouse

Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt (This song breaks my heart, just like this book did.)

Far Away by Nickelback

The Final Score
My rating for this one is A+!  If you love Shakespeare, Elizabethan England or bittersweet romance, make haste to find this book!  Pamela Mingle, you own me with this book.  Oh Stephen and Miranda, parting was such sweet sorrow!  That I shall say Good night and hope to find a sequel on the morrow!

Thank you to Random House and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book.  I was given no compensation in exchange for my honest review, not even a picture of Joseph Fiennes in Elizabethan dress.


  1. Thanks for the great review! Adding it to my wishlist now. I agree that some time travel books aren't done right but I love the concept here and the mix of history and fiction is great.

  2. The same things caught my attention about the book for me with the title and cover art. This sounds really good. Thanks for sharing your review and the extra songs. ;D

  3. Tammy, I just had to tell you how touched I was by your review of KISSING SHAKESPEARE. You got the similarities between Miranda/Stephen and Katherine/Petruchio! So glad you appreciated the characters, setting and history. I loved the way you weaved quotes from Shakespeare into your review, and the fact that you found music to describe your feelings about the book was amazing! Spread the word. I too am hoping for a sequel!