Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review: Still Star-Crossed

Still Star-CrossedAuthor: Melinda Taub
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Romeo and Juliet are gone. Will love live on? Despite the glooming peace that's settled on Verona after the recent tragedy, Montagues and Capulets are brawling in the streets. Faced with more bloody battles, Prince Escalus concludes that the only way to truly marry the fortunes of these two families is to literally marry them together. Everyone is skeptical, but none more so than the pair selected, for the most eligible Montague bachelor is Benvolio, Romeo's best friend, still anguished by the loss of his companions, and the chosen Capulet maid is Juliet's older cousin Rosaline, the girl Romeo first loved and whose refusal of Romeo's affection paved the way for bloodshed. Contrary to their late cousins, there's no love lost between Benvolio and Rosaline, yet they forge a bond to end the renewed feud not only to escape their forced betrothal, but to save their lives and the city of Verona itself.

And as the first rays of the sun kissed fair Juliet’s frozen form, they’d see the word HARLOT scrawled in black paint across her face.

But it wasn’t true. All Verona knew that there was at least one man she could have saved. For before he loved Juliet, Romeo had loved her. And now the sweet, lovesick boy was dead.

There was no time for regrets. Both houses had promised an end to the violence; he would do whatever it took to make them keep to their vows, especially since some vicious scandal had already defaced Juliet’s memorial. He had a duty to his city.

If she had not, if she had accepted his love and returned it with her own, could they have been married peacefully? She was not the only daughter of Lord Capulet, like poor Jule. Rosaline and Livia were mere nieces, and their name was not even Capulet, but Tirimo. Maybe those cut down would still be alive.

I am an English teacher and a college graduate with an English degree…you do the math – I love Shakespeare! Shakespearean retellings are probably one of my most favorite books to read. I literally did a little jigs with a few girly yelps when I opened this package. This is the story of life in Verona after Romeo and Juliet have passed away. The story mainly follows Rosaline, who was once the beloved of Romeo himself. However, Rosaline did not return his feelings. Prince Escalus approaches the Houses of Capulet and Montague after the death of so many young people and proposes that they make a union, marry a Montague and Capulet to show Verona that the feuding is truly over. The union that Prince Escalus has in mind is between Rosaline and Benvolio, who want nothing to do with one another. Rosaline’s true feelings lie with Prince Escalus, but is there room in her heart to care for Benvolio?

Melinda Taub, write more books! She was able to capture the true essence and nature of Shakespearean writing and life in Verona after the deaths of these two pivotal fictional characters. I was worried that the writing may stray from the conventional Shakespearean language, especially among character dialogue in order to keep it more modern, but I was pleasantly surprised that it did not! Now please do not think that this reads like the real version of Romeo and Juliet like Shakespeare intended it to be. No – this book has the feel of Shakespearean drama but with a definite translation into modern tongue. It was enough to please the literature buff in me!

I loved Rosaline’s character, and honestly I loved her more so than Juliet or Romeo. Rosaline’s story should have been told by Shakespeare himself, but I think Melinda Taub definitely does her justice. She is strong, courageous, and not afraid to think for herself in a time when women are usually told what to think. I will do ahead and say that there is a bit of a love triangle in this book, but it was exceptionally executed. I was so caught in the middle and I would have hated to be Rosaline. She had a tough decision to make. This is a book that I will pick up again and again!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Delacorte Press in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. I'm always nervous about Shakespeare retellings especially Romeo and Juliet, but I'm really excited for this one because it's after the fact, and it sounds like everyone has been really enjoying this story. I'm interested to see how the story continues after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Thanks for the review!