William Shakespeare like You’ve Never Read; The Tutor by Andrea Chapin

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The Tutor

By: Andrea Chapin

Released: February 5th, 2015 by Riverhead books

Length: 368 Pages

Rating: Three Stars

Acquired: via publisher- firsttoread.com

William Shakespeare was once a mediocre tutor who “fell in love”.

This is the man we never knew.

This novel has marketed itself with the tagline “William Shakespeare like we have never known before.” Something around those lines. I find it funny, and yes, a little fitting. The Shakespeare in this book is a pre famous Shakespeare, who goes to a woman to fix his sonnets. He’s still cocky, but not as so. He was an interesting and fun character to read. There was a realness to him; a weakness and a crack that was nice to see. But, this isn’t his story. Oh no, this is Katherine’s- widow and the one he falls in love with. Told through Katherine’s perspective, you got to see Shakespeare in this different light.

Katherine was an excellent heroine and lover for Shakespeare. She was strong, witty, and smart. She could hold her own in any intellectual conversation, and many times she did. She easily won Shakespeare’s heart from the very beginning when she tried to kick him out of the house, not knowing he was the new tutor for the children living in the house. It was a very funny scene. She continued to challenge him throughout; from questioning his education to critiquing his sonnets until they were perfect. She was a force to be reckoned with.

I really enjoyed their relationship. They had really funny banter. Yes, there was the romance. But, I found myself liking the challenges and banter more. I think Chapin did a great job at crafting a realistic relationship between these two characters. I enjoyed reading the novel. There was some sub plots, including a religious one that involved Queen Elizabeth killing the Catholic Priests and some household affairs, but I didn’t pay much mind to those. It was all Katherine and William for me.

Although this wasn’t a four star book for me, mostly because of the sub plots, I would still recommend it. I think if you are a big fan of either historical fiction or Shakespeare, or both like I am, you will enjoy this book. You may even like the sub plots! Who knows. I just may be picky. Either way, just book should be on your radar for sure.

 

Not Your Average Princess Rescue:Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel book review

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Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel

By: Michaela MacColl

Published in 2013 by Chronicle Books

368 Pages

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Four Stars

London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza’s dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady’s maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servants’ world below-stairs and the rampant trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen? Meticulously based on newly discovered information, this engrossing novel is as rich in historical detail.

–goodreads.com description

A couple years back, I watched the film Young Victoria with Emily Blunt as young Victoria. I fell in love with that movie pretty much immediately. Emily Blunt was great in it; as well as an under appreciated actress in my opinion. I have always been interested in the British Monarchy for some reason. There is more intrigue and secrecy that has happened than we are aware. Hence my deep fascination with historical fiction novels, particularly British. So, as another great $2.99 nook find, I fell in love with this neglected book. I have no idea how long I have had it. On a whim of sorts, after failing to love the previous book I read, it was great to pick this book up and never want to let it go.

          What starts off as a novel about a spoiled brat coming to terms with her new station and position serving the Princess, comes a tale based on the true accounts of Princess Victoria’s rise to the throne and the conniving ways of her mother and her mother’s “lover” and confidant Sir John.  Michaela MacColl creates a believable girl to act as a chambermaid, part spy, and confidant to sixteen year old Victoria up until Princess Victoria’s coronation.  Recently orphaned  Elizabeth Hastings was forced out of her fancy London hotel with a large bill and no inheritance. As luck would have it, Liza is born; from spoiled girl just shy of entering her first season in society to the girl who saved Princess Victoria and her Queendom from Sir John Conroy and Princess Victoria’s more, the Duchess.

        I absolutely adored this book because it included many details and inside looks, the first and foremost actual journal entries from Queen Victoria’s journal she kept when she was younger with entries that detailed the first time she met her future husband, her cousin Albert. There were also actual correspondences written by Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess, when Victoria was getting closer to the throne. The novel felt very real and authentic. Even if you are unfamiliar with Queen Victoria and her life, this would be a good historical fiction starter novel. Mostly, because it does not just include Princess Victoria and her life’s activities, but an authentic representation of a working girl and how it life was for an orphan and/or one of lower class standings.

      In the back of this novel,  MacColl  talks about how she was able to portray Liza and young Princess Victoria’s life. MacColl even goes as far as writing about an actual woman who was a dismissed maid of Victoria’s and the maid’s downfall (her death).  I loved this book more after I read the author’s note. I felt that much closer to Queen Victoria and the struggles all women had to face. The details were vivid sufficiently, with details that I could relate to, even without being a princess or Queen.  Both Liza and Princess (Queen) Victoria were portrayed as personable, with struggles I could relate to, if not understand. There are plenty historical fiction novels that tackle England, and it’s Monarchy, but not many YA ones that are as impressive and representative as this book is.

Happy Reading!

-indie

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