Cover Image: For the Love of the Bard

For the Love of the Bard

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Member Reviews

For the Love of the Bard was such an intriguing novel! Themed rom-coms are always really charming in my opinion - and with a Shakespearean touch, this book was enchanting on a whole different level! <3

Miranda was one of the most relatable heroines I've ever read about. She is a fantasy author. (how cool is that?) When she falls into a writing slump, she gets the chance to find some inspiration when she visits her hometown to help arrange a Shakespeare-themed festival. She was struggling a lot in life, and it was really nice to see how she tackled those issues by growing throughout the story. I especially loved reading about Miranda's relationship with her mom! The whole cozy setting of the festival + conversations surrounding the play were really enjoyable.

Also - For the Love of the Bard is a second-chance small-town romance. So yeah, this book was the perfect summer read for me. I loved Adam and Miranda's relationship and how they solved their past conflicts. The story also reminded me a lot of Well Met by Jen Deluca, so if you loved reading that book, I am pretty sure you'll enjoy For the Love of the Bard as well.
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𝓣𝓸 𝔀𝓻𝓲𝓽𝓮 𝓸𝓻 𝓷𝓸𝓽 𝓽𝓸 𝔀𝓻𝓲𝓽𝓮? 𝓣𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝓲𝓼 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓺𝓾𝓮𝓼𝓽𝓲𝓸𝓷.

Miranda Barnes is an author who returns to her aptly named hometown of Bard’s Rest for some literal inspiration. Unfortunately, the timing puts her in the thick of the town’s centennial Shakespearean festival, a project near and dear to Miranda’s mother. As a result, Miranda reluctantly gets roped into directing this year’s Shakespearean play. 

As if directing part time thespians wasn’t enough actual drama, Miranda also finds herself navigating family problems, as well as dealing with unresolved feelings about an old flame. Can all of this be chalked up to much ado about nothing, or does Miranda simply protest too much?

Fans of small town, second chance romances who have a particular affinity for the works of Shakespeare are For the Love of the Bard’s best audience. Not a classic lit buff myself, I struggled a bit with the Shakespearean subtext. While a love for the theater is not necessary to enjoy this story, I would argue that it helps.

I also felt the busyness of this book to be distracting at times. With so many side characters and subplots, I was forgetting what brought Miranda home in the first place. In fact, I might argue that Miranda forgot that a bit too. 😉 

Then there’s the part between her and her old boyfriend Adam, a misunderstanding built on years of miscommunication. I felt the whole thing was rather blown out of proportion, its final act unnecessarily drawn out in the efforts of getting a more fulfilling ending. It is true the second half of the story grabbed me more than the first, but if to thine own self be true still holds true, parting ways with this story wasn’t the sweetest of sorrows.
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I love themed rom-com’s and Bard’s Rest was a great set-up for the drama of past love reunited, but the town was also filled with some great characters who added a bit of fun to some tense situations. Miranda was very easy to like and I relished hearing how and why Adam chose to do what he did back when they were in high school. There was a lot of lead-up to the grand reveal, which was a little tiring, but you could feel their connection many years later. It was hard not to like Adam, he was so easy going and sweet.

As with many stories that take place in a small town, there was a lot of family filled moments as well as back stories for many characters. Sometimes these seques to other stories bother me, but For the Love of the Bard was very cohesive and smooth, these small stories adding to Mirandas story rather than taking away from it. I was really happy with the transitions and interested in every character.

You don’t have to have a love of Shakespeare to appreciate the characters and stories in this novel, but I’ll admit it would certainly help! The author very cheekily casts some of the townspeople in roles that were familiar to me and some of them paralleled real life, which was clever and fun to read. However if you aren’t familiar with the plays you will not miss out on the fun and cheekiness despite that lack of knowledge, and the love story is very satisfying too!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
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This fab debut by Jessica Martin features a Shakespeare Festival, YA author Miranda and her dog Puck, and sexy veterinarian Adam and his pet pig Lucille. He dumped her in high school, and when he turns up years later to work on a festival play she's directing, sparks fly in more ways than one. A perfect beach read for those who love quirky witty romcoms. 

Thanks to author Jessica Martin, Berkley Publishing Group, Berkley, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

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Miranda is a woman beset by problems. Her first priority is to finish writing the sequel to her YA fantasy novel. With plans on spending the summer in her hometown of Bard's Rest, she intends on investing 100% of her time in writing. However, things do not go as planned for Miranda. The quiet summer she planned on writing proves anything but. 

Bard's Rest is a busy place at the moment. The town is preparing for it's annual Shakespeare festival. Miranda finds out she will be playing a huge role in the festival. In fact, she will be directing one of the plays being produced, Twelfth Night. She is not directing this play by choice. In fact, her mother has insisted that Miranda take on the responsibility, which will undoubtedly crowd in on the time that Miranda needs to be writing her novel.

Then Miranda gets news of a huge health scare that her mother is going through. Another distraction, and this brings her to dealing with her two sisters Portia and Cordelia. One more thing ... Adam, her boyfriend from high school, is the town's vet. And he is drop-dead gorgeous. Miranda and Adam did not end their teen relationship well at all, and Miranda still feels the sting of that time. The fact that she is still more than drawn to Adam now is a quandary to her.

This second chance romance is a story filled with angst, proving that love can come around a second time, even if it proves problematic along the way. This book has quite a bit of humor in it as it relies heavily on references from Shakespeare, even with how the chapters are titled. 

This fun read doesn't just focus on Miranda and Adam's connecting again, but it shows how Miranda copes with so many things all at the same time, all while showing strong attention to all the matters facing her. Her relationships in this book are important to her, and she juggles everything rather well.

I loved this book. It made me smile. It made me think of a few of Shakespeare's plays. It made me happy to see how Miranda was with her family. And it made me happy that she and Adam got another chance to reignite their love.

Many thanks to Berkley Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy my YouTube video review - https://youtu.be/kV8HtaBXmOU
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Review: I really enjoyed reading this adult romance! The characters were all great, and I loved the romance. Jessica Martin created a fantastic book, and I look forward to seeing what she writes next!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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I really enjoyed this one, but with the absolutely constant Shakespeare quotes and references, I do think this is one that will appeal to a very niche type of nerd. Genuinely, most often I think books with a very specific lens can have wider appeal but I think if you come into this book with no interest in or knowledge of Shakespeare, a lot of this book won't make sense. I enjoyed the second chance romance and the connections Miranda makes with her family and friends throughout the book, as well as the theater aspects of it.
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Miranda is a successful author and literary agent in Boston, but when her mother receives a cancer diagnosis, she returns to her childhood home to help out. Being home is tough for Miranda not just because she's roped into assisting with the yearly Shakespeare festival of her town, but because she has to work closely with the boy (now a man - a hot, hot man) who broke her heart and humiliated her in high school.

The book trends a little on the twee side - Miranda's parents are Shakespeare scholars and live in the town of Bard's Rest, which has street names like "What's in a Main"; her sisters are Portia and Cordelia; and Miranda never uses the Lord's name in vain, choosing instead to say things like "for the love of Bard" or "Bard only knows." (It's the kind of writing where you're worried you missed a Shakespeare reference instead of being chuffed you picked up on one.) We were also a bit confused about Miranda's age - she's still really hung up on this betrayal from high school, which would make sense if she's only been away for a few years. It seems like more than 10 years have gone by, though, making her continued obsession tougher to buy.

The book, though, is very fun. If you are a former theater kid, get hung up on online drama surrounding your favorite YA books, or love attending events like the Renaissance Faire, you'll find a lot to love here. The writing is clear and easy to follow, the characters are lovably quirky, and although it's a slow burn there is some payoff in the bedroom.

This objective review is based on a complimentary copy of the novel.
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This rom com was charming.  Miranda, an agent, author, thespian, and Shakespeare aficionado, returns home to cure her writers block and finish her YA fantasy novel.   Along the way she gets roped into volunteering for her hometowns annual Shakespeare festival.  Her one time crush is home for the summer too!

I love Jessica Martin’s writing style and voice.  It’s sharp, snarky, witty, and flows easily.  Her characters are fully developed.  Just a joy to read.
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One of my new favorite rom-coms! As a former theater kid and diehard Shakespeare fan, this book was basically perfect for me. I loved all the Shakespeare references and puns and I really wish this town were real because I would be planning a visit immediately. I really loved so much about this book, but the banter is probably what stands out the most. It is top notch, between Miranda and Adam of course, but also between Miranda and her sisters and parents. I laughed out loud several times. The perfect book for any fan of the bard!
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Miranda goes on a writing retreat to her hometown in hopes it will help her write her next book. Secretly she is a popular fantasy writer, while also being a literary agent. When she gets home she's volunteered to help put on the main stage performance of the 100th Shakespeare festival in the Shakespeare obsessed town. Her mother is the chair who also is fighting battles of her own. Without the help of her family can the festival go off as planned? And when Miranda's old high school crush Adam comes back to town to help his fathers vet practice can they keep things platonic? Or will they finally get the chance to make things right and get another chance at love?

This was such a fun read. It's part slow burn, second chance romance, and part family drama, equal parts wonderful! While I am not a huge Shakespeare nut like the people of the town, I am a huge theatre fan so this still hit. I loved the bond between Miranda and her sisters, Miranda and her dog, Miranda and her best friend and Miranda and Adam. This is a perfect light summer read. You'll be rooting for Miranda, Adam and the whole town!

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest review.
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For the Love of the Bard was a fun, Shakespeare-infused romance. Miranda's hometown Bard's Rest was literally founded on a love of Shakespeare. She returns home for the summer to direct a play for the summer festival, finish her YA novel, attend to her mom's health issues, and avoid seeing the man who dumped her on prom night for her sister. 

The town of Bard's Rest gave off strong Stars Hollow vibes, and I enjoyed getting to know the townies as they put on their yearly festival for the Bard himself. There are also tons of references to Shakespeare and his plays. Most of these went over my head (I am not a Shakespeare girlie) however, it did not lessen my enjoyment of the book. 

Another major plot point is Miranda's second chance romance with Adam. I thought perhaps he should have done a bit more groveling for the aforementioned prom incident (as well as his actions towards the end of the novel) but he and Miranda had great chemistry and it was easy to see why they would want to rekindle their romance. (The love between their respective pets is also delightful!) 

Overall, For the Love of the Bard was an enjoyable read with a good blend of romance and family. I would recommend it to fans of Shakespeare, Gilmore Girls, and/or the theater!
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A lot was going on with this book, and I tried my best to keep up. I went into this hoping for a good ole romance, but in the end, I'll say this was Women's Fiction. Miranda is a literary agent by day and a YA author by night. Trying to overcome writer's block, she goes on vacation, and along the line, she meets the prom date that stood her up. 

Now the thing is, the reason he stood her up is ok, but the way she takes him back is too easy for me. In reality, I'd have that guy roll on the floor a thousand times over before we can even go on another date. 

I loved the banter and the family dynamics. But I just didn't love how BARD appeared everywhere I looked.
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The thespian geek inside me loved this book!
The story tick all my favorites, Shakespeare, supportive family, sisterhood and a small town. Highly recommended as a summer read.
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I received a gifted galley of FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD by Jessica Martin for an honest review. Thank you to @BerkleyPub, @PRHAudio and @Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review!⁠

FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD follows Miranda, a writer and editor who is back in her hometown for the big Shakespeare festival. She’s dealing with family issues with her parents and sisters and a pup prone to trouble. Her mother wrangles her into directing on one stage while also helping coordinate the Shakespeare obsessed city’s biggest event overall. On top of all this, she’s got a book that is overdue to be turned in and the man who once broke her heart (by going to prom with her sister instead) is back in town to help his family and the Shakespeare festival, but she’s not sure she’s ready for a second chance.

I’ve been on a bit of a Shakespeare streak recently, so this one really hit the mark for me. You don’t need to be well versed in the bard to enjoy this second chance romance with a side of family drama, but if you are a fan you definitely will get some extra perks I think. This book hit on some heavier subject matters than the cheery cover might imply but it definitely has a lot of good humor and a satisfying uplifting ending!

I found this a quick, easy read and one that I think many will enjoy! I listened to this one on audio and really enjoyed that format as well!

FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD is out today!
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This book is a love letter to Shakespeare and there is no denying it! I loved the cheesy mentions of businesses, locations and streets that were plays on Shakespeare terms. It made me smile every time! 

I had a fun time reading about a town dedicated to the love of literature. It was a fast and easy read. It was also perfect for summer as the story takes place from June to September. 

The characters of Miranda and Adam were interesting but I never connected with Adam as the novel is only from Miranda’s perspective. The Barnes family dynamics were engaging as we followed their struggles but it felt a little scattered as it was a part of many other plots. 

In spite of the multiple plot points, I flew through the story and had a good time with the characters and town. It was a solid three star read!

I received an arc via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
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Best and most interesting part is the Shakespeare gimmick. The rest just fell flat. I didn’t care for the protagonist or anyone really. The first several chapters were such a snoozer, I had to bail because I value my time too much for this.
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A rose by any other name... that's all I've got from the Bard in my wheelhouse. I lie... the lady doth protests too much. Luckily Jessica's knowledge is far superior and her ability to weave it throughout this book was seamless.
Miranda returns home to help her parents and hopefully find inspiration for her current work in progress. She's not excited to run into the boy who crushed her but he becomes unavoidable. Between her book, family, helping at the theater, and her constant run-ins with Adam, Miranda has a lot to juggle.
There are some great nuggets in this: Miranda is completely bookish, the banter is delightful, and Adam is swoony (until he made me roll my eyes). I am on the fence if I enjoyed their breaking point. On the one hand, I like that I haven't seen it play out quite this way very often. On the other, I wanted to throttle Adam. The ending more than made up for it and it also was unexpected.
This is my first audiobook listen with Gilli Messer. I wish her performance had been a little bit more dynamic through more characterizations and "voices".
Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for the advanced copy and PRHA for the alc. All thoughts in this review are my own.
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I really didn't expect to like this book - I'm not that interested in Shakespeare, trauma from many years of community theatre means I avoid theatre-set romances, and I really dislike a story that has like a Ren Faire element to it, like Bard's Rest. The fact that I'm rating this a 4 star (rounded up from 3.5) with some major plotting issues is wild to me! But I really did have a great time reading this book. 

Miranda is relatable and funny, and just when she or her sister Portia might drift into caricature-territory, they're humanized really well. There's a full cast of characters in Bard's Rest, which, I admit, does sound like a fun place to visit, and I'm really excited to see who might get a book (I'm shipping Portia and the event planner). 

I think Adam's reasons for breaking Miranda's heart on prom night were dumb, and I don't think I'd have forgiven him. The third act breakup, too, is totally incorrect for the rest of the book and really irritated me. But I still had so much fun reading this book. I think it's going to be a sure winner for people who love books like the Well Met series, and I'm interested to see what Martin writes next.
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Shakespeare rules in this novel about Miranda who is home in Bard's Rest to finish her second novel but finds herself in the middle of a maelstrom.  Her mom, who has a health scare, coerces her into directing one of the plays for the Shakespeare festival.  That's enough but then Adam, her high school love, turns up and now he's a vet.  And she has a dog named- wait for it- Puck.  This moves all over the place- there's a lot going on- but it's an engaging and entertaining read.  Martin doesn't go overboard with the Shakespeare references but his fans will find them.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  Fun.
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