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Kissing Shakespeare

Kissing Shakespeare is a YA time-travel contemporary romance novel by Pamela Mingle.

Miranda has lived her life in the shadow of two of the most sought-after Shakespearean actors in modern history – her parents. As an actress herself, Miranda finds herself struggling with her part in The Taming of the Shrew.

After a particularly bad performance, Miranda is approached by one of the more reclusive actors at her school – Stephen Langford, rather new to the drama department, and certainly an enigma.

He essentially tells her that for Shakespeare’s work to remain part of history she needs to travel back in time with him to meet Shakespeare and make sure he doesn’t make a different choice in life.

Of course Miranda thinks he’s crazy, but that doesn’t keep him from hauling her to Elizabethan times and trying his best to convince her to utilize what he thinks is her considerable acting talents to blend in to sixteenth-century England and charm the most famous bard of all time – when he’s still about the age she is.

Despite her misgivings, Miranda agrees – but does she have what it takes to seduce William Shakespeare… and make sure his work still makes its mark on his history?

Kissing Shakespeare gave me a lot of mixed reactions.

First off, I love the cover. It’s pretty, soft, and has a vulnerable sense that is lovely. But does it have bearing on the book itself? Not really. Her hair and clothing don’t reflect Elizabethan times - nor a real sense of Miranda’s character.

Initially, the plot of Kissing Shakespeare has a fun, interesting, sometimes kinda nonsensical plot. It combines historical details and the questionable early years of Shakespeare with romance and the humor of time travel. So, at times it was pretty cool.

Yet, I had a hard time with it also. Despite being able to make excuses for her, Miranda really was weepier than I like. Too many times she had tears in her eyes, was holding back tears, etc. I’d rather they focus on the hilarity of the time she is in, or the awe of being in the presence of a genius before his time. The story got sort of weakened by its lead, I think.

Stephen and Miranda’s scenes sizzled often, but the mission Miranda was on seemed weird and ridiculous. I never could understand why seducing Shakespeare was the only, or fastest, way of saving the day. Odd. And the conclusion got convoluted and ending up plodding to a lackluster end, for me.

There were some good, entertaining parts – especially earlier on – but overall I had hoped for more in Kissing Shakespeare.

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