Saturday, 29 August 2015

Review ~ Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato

17912283
Hodder & Stoughton
July 2015


I'm ashamed to say that I am not overly familiar with Shakespeare's excellent play, Much Ado About Nothing, on which this book is based, but perhaps that's a good thing, as isn't always advisable to have something so familiar used in a different way. I am sure that the purists who prefer their Shakespeare unadulterated will perhaps be rather more critical of this interpretation, as inevitably, there is something of a modern feel to both the narrative and the dialogue, which would never be found in sixteenth century prose. However, this isn't  a retelling of the Shakespeare's play in its entirety, it's more of a look back at the earlier lives of Beatrice and Benedick and about what shaped their personalities.

It took a little while to relax into the story as there's the inevitable scene setting, and a whole array of characters who need to make sense. I'm pleased to say, though, that here is a good dramatis personnae at the start of the novel, which is helpful as it lists the main characters and their relationships to each other. I liked the way that the story was divided into acts and scenes rather like a play. This author's work is something that I am familiar with having read some of her other books, and as always I am drawn towards her skillful writing and how she allows the history of the time to shine through.  She writes with confidence and passion, bringing to life, the sunlit beauty of Sicily and the imagined love story between Beatrice and Benedick is entirely convincing.

As always by the end of a Marina Fiorato novel I feel like I have travelled to a beautiful place.  Her descriptions of Sicily are evocatively rich in detail and such a feast for the imagination that the story lingers on, even when the last page is turned.




My thanks to Book bridgr and Hodder & Stoughton for my copy of this book.

Marina Fiorato




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