Cover Image: For the Love of the Bard

For the Love of the Bard

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Member Reviews

Such a fun read! I love hometown reunion kind of vibes and the Shakespeare spin just added a really fun layer to it. Miranda's past really resonated with me and I felt her pain!
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This is such a fun novel and ode to Shakespeare! I could be wrong because I'm not familiar enough with Shakespeare, but I think the author may have written the romance as a subtle retelling. I'm curious enough that I need to read more Shakespeare I think go back and read this one and see if that's really what she intended! But I loved the characters, the setting, watching the plays unfold through the characters, and the romance! It's funny, sometimes sad, and has some really heartwarming moments. Thank you net galley and publisher for a copy to read and review.
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Miranda Barnes is a literary agent by day and a bestselling YA author by night. When she hits a roadblock in her latest book, she heads home to Bard's Rest hoping the change of scenery will help the words flow. But Miranda's mother, the head of the committee for the town's upcoming centennial Shakespearean festival, has other plans. All Miranda wanted was a peaceful summer holed up in her parent's attic with her dog writing into the wee hours. Instead, she finds herself directing a play for the festival, trying to keep her family together after a health scare, and doing her best to stay away from the man who broke her heart when she was a teen. Miranda has never forgiven Adam for ruining her prom night, but she can't deny that the years have been very kind to him. When Adam gets assigned to help out with the sets for Miranda's play, it's clear the feelings they shared so long ago are still present. Miranda gave her heart to Adam once and was burned; can she trust him to keep it safe this time around?

For starters, I want to call out that this book does deal with a sick parent, and there is a scene where they're hospitalized, so if that's something you're sensitive towards, keep that in mind before picking this up. I thought this was cute. I love a small-town setting, and Bard's Rest was so whimsical, and while all the Shakespearean nods were a little over the top, it was still charming. It reminded me of Stars Hollow with its quirky residents coming together for a big town event. The sense of community was just so pure. I loved the family dynamic, and the relationship Miranda had with her parents was so sweet. I thought the relationship between Miranda and Adam was fine, but it didn't wow me. There were times I was more interested in the relationship between Miranda's dog and Adam's pig (I'm a sucker for an interspecies friendship.) The third act conflict also seemed a little silly, but I did enjoy how it was resolved. If you're in the mood for a quick, second chance romance, this would be a good one to pick up.
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As a teen theatre geek (re, not er) this is exactly the life I wanted! Live in a town obsessed with Shakespeare, put on shows that the whole town joins in on, grow up to be a famous author... Yes, please. Add in an enviable relationship with her family and a second chance romance with the sexy town vet and Miranda has the hashtag-best-life-ever.
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This was really great. Sweet and with a lot of heart. I especially loved the many many Shakespeare puns and references, they were a delight. The author clearly knows her Shakespeare and had a lot of fun with it. Could have used a little more heat with the romance, but overall this book worked really well.
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This was SUCH a fun read. Why don't I live in a place like Bard's Rest?? The town was so well developed as were the characters. I loved everything about this read. Plus, dogs. I love love a story with great pets along with great human characters. Adam was likeable and I loved his chemistry with Miranda. This was a fast read and really immersed me in the story and setting.
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I’d like to thank NetGalley, Berkley Publishing, and Jessica Martin for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I really enjoyed this book and the setting drew me in instantly. I’m a big fan of Shakespeare and it was nice to see all of the references throughout!

This book follows Miranda as she returns home to Bard’s Rest to help with their Shakespeare festival. However, when she arrives, she takes on much more work than anticipated, reconnects with an old flame, strengthens her relationship with her sisters, and deals with her mom’s recent health issues (while writing a book). I really loved seeing how she connected with her hometown after she’s been out of it for so long.

I really enjoyed the romance in this one as well as the friendships! I thought the romance was a satisfying slow burn with a complicated history. Her mother’s health issues were a little too serious for my taste in romance books, but it was done really well and truly showed the importance of family. 

My favorite part of this novel was seeing Miranda start to accept herself more. I loved the ending and thought that it tied up things perfectly. Overall, I recommend this one to romance and Shakespeare fans! It’s a super fun read.
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This book was a lot of fun. It has to have taken either a) extreme attention to detail or b) an obsession fascination with Shakespeare to be able to write a book about a town centered around Shakespeare, where everything from the book store to the coffee shop is Shakespeare-themed. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I like the enemies-to-lovers trope, especially when there's a history to the relationship, and Miranda and Adam's journey is one I absolutely had a blast reading. 

The plot is easy to follow and full of wonderful characters, and I would very much like to revisit this town.
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This book just fell flat for me. 

I didn't connect with any of the characters, especially the main couple, and the pacing was so slow in the beginning I got bored. I'm sure there's an audience for this book, but it wasn't for me.
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Writing: 4/5 Plot: 3.5/5 Characters: 4.5/5
A delightful rom-com immersed in all things Shakespeare. Miranda Barnes — literary agent and anonymous author of the fantastically popular YA series Elf Shot — heads home to Bard’s Rest to finish her next book amidst fan outrage at the ending of the previous installment.  Privacy and quiet do not appear on the horizon, however, as she is roped into directing one play at the annual Shakespeare festival, mentoring a teen director on another, and serving on the well-functioning (ha!) festival steering committee.

While fairly predictable and not terribly realistic (but what rom com is?), it is laugh out loud funny and wins major points for continual snappy banter and quirky gotta-love-them characters.  Plenty of enjoyable detail about the town of Bard’s Rest, its Shakespearean themed shops (e.g. Tempest Tossed Pizza), and the sausage making stagecraft involved in simultaneous theater productions.

Requisite LGBQT… characters included.

Very enjoyable read.

Fun quotes (the last one is the best!):
“You put gold leaf on a truffle.  You sped past too much hours ago and blew it an air kiss.”

“It’d been a while since I’d seen Bunny, but she still had that look of someone who’s decided that the FDA wasn’t credible when it came to sunscreen.  She reminded me of those mango chews that Portia snacked on —  orange and leathery and completely dehydrated.”

“She writes a series called Elf Shot — it’s basically a call to arms for the women of this generation to not settle for the status quo and rise up to change it.”

“I was just going to have to pretend like I hadn’t committed outdoor frottage with Adam while I sat here with a pair of teenagers who were bloodhounds at sniffing  that kind of thing.”

“Took me forever to suture it because he kept batting me with his paw as if to say, ‘Hurry it up, human. The backyard isn’t going to patrol itself.’”

“My traitorous id emerged from a cave worthy of Grendel to spin visuals involving Adam’s hands.”

“More importantly, I don’t want you dating the emotional equivalent of Splenda because you think that’s all you deserve.”
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Miranda is a literary agent with a double life as a popular YA author dealing with some fallout from her last book release. When she finds out her mother is ill, she returns to her childhood home. As if this wasn’t already enough for her to deal with, her childhood home is also none other than the Shakespeare obsessed town of Bard’s Rest and she happens to arrive right during their annual Shakespeare festival. Before long, Miranda is busy writing her latest novel, trying to convince her mother to take care of her health, directing a play, and spending time with the man who broke her heart at prom many years ago. 

This was such a fun read! The supporting characters were so loveable and really added to the story for me. Miranda’s dog, Puck, was so well written and such an adorable addition to the story. I could happily read a book written about every character in this story (especially Miranda’s sisters!). 

Miranda and Adam’s relationship had its ups and downs, but I appreciated how upfront and honest their communication was. I was rooting for them from the beginning! 

Overall this was such an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more from Jessica Martin!

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for the advanced reading copy of this book.
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This book is your classic case of Women’s Fiction with a side of romance and I’m the classic reader who is only in it for the romance and was sorely disappointed. 

Miranda has a lot of crap going on. She’s an agent, she’s a YA writer trying to figure out book three after her fans hated book two, her mom might have cancer, AND she’s going home to direct and help with some Shakespearean plays over the summer because why not? And also there’s a lot of sister drama and her best friend has some stuff going on too?

Oh and also her prom date who she caught making out with her sister on prom night is around and should she forgive him cause he’s super hot??

The plot line with Adam our hero is swallowed whole by all the other crap going on. 

So. Much. Crap. Going. On.

The story is central around Miranda and the colossal amount of crap she’s got going on and the thousands of times she says the word, “Bard.” Seriously, she says Bard enough that I was starting to see it with my eyes closed. Bard this, bard that, bard. Bard. Bard. BARD. And listen, I’m not not a fan of Billy Shakespeare. But my Bard, there’s so much freaking Shakespeare in this book. I was hoping that it would make me appreciate it more and take me back to my theater days, but really it just made me twitch. How is Miranda capable of handling all of these things?! How?!? It didn’t seem feasible at all?! How was she going to throw a second chance romance into the middle of everything going on????!!!

I wanted to DNF when 40% in I felt like the hero was no where to be found but I stuck it out but BARD ALMIGHTY, this book just wasn’t for me. 

Am I judging this book too harshly because it’s women’s fiction with a touch of romance and I neeeeeed romance to be central? Maybe. But the publisher shouldn’t be telling me it’s romance when it’s not. And the romance was crumby and this dude needed more groveling IMO. You gonna do the heroine dirty like that on prom, you’d better be on your kneeeeeeeeeeeessssss beggginggggggg. 

This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
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For the love of the bard is a hilarious enemies to lover with a literary agent and a writer! I loved the romance in it and the banter between the characters. It is a little slower paced in the beginning, but it picks up!
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Now this is a practically perfect contemporary romance.  Characters with well developed personalities, banter that is actually cute/clever, realistic conflicts and a reasonable HEA. Martin certainly knows this audience with references to thrill book nerds, theater geeks, and romance lovers of all flavors. The puns are amazing! Hitting all your favorite romance tropes while also carrying a plot that even the most stringent literary snobs might call “women’s literature,*” this fun story of going home, growing up and moving forward will make a fantastic summer read. 

*How much do we hate that term? As if anything that centers women can’t be true literature…but enough on that salty tangent.
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This book is literally an exact intersection of all my interests: theatre, romance, literature, sisterhood, golden retriever male leads. I could not love this book more! 

When Miranda returns home to Bard’s Rest, Maine (yes, THAT Bard) for the summer, she was hoping to enjoy the town’s annual Shakespeare festival and finish the newest book in her YA fantasy series. What she did not expect to do: deal with mom’s health issues, direct one of the festival’s plays, or run into the boy who broke her heart on prom night. (She also did not expect him to be a hot AF veterinarian who is obsessed with her dog, Puck.) 

This set the stage (😉😉😉) for the perfect romance (listen, if I’m reading a romance involving Shakespeare, Imma use some puns LOL). Adam, the hot Vet, was the perfect male lead: thoughtful, communicative, theatre-obsessed. I loved how the romance progressed over the whole story. It wasn’t a slow burn, but with their history, it never felt rushed. And no unnecessary miscommunication trope!!! (Thank Bard.)

Besides the romance, I was OBSESSED with all of the side characters. Supportive parents who never made their daughter’s romantic prospects their end goal. A male best friend for Miranda who was never considered a potential romance. A town full of Shakespeare-obsessed weirdos. A potential enemy-turned friend (bc I am SO over hating women for no reason with no resolution). Uniquely different sisters and their believably complex relationships. The world Jessica Martin creates is as magical as it is realistic and I would happily move in. 

Y’all, I haven’t been this excited about a romance in a while! If you love second chance romances, male leads who are DOWN BAD, Shakespeare, resolving middle child issues, or theatre, this is a must-read! 

Thanks to Berkeley and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy!
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There's a lot to like here--Miranda is a middle sister (of course the other two sisters are Portia and Cordelia), a writer dealing with serious writers' block after fan furor over her last book. Her small New Hampshire town also does a Shakespeare festival, and her parents help with it. Plus, there is a cute veterinarian with whom she has a Past.

All the stuff that make a great romcom, except bang in the first chapter a super sour note, at least for me: Cordelia is worried because their mother may have cancer. For me, there are certain real life subjects I do not want in my romances, and cancer is one of them. Way, way too much of it in actual life makes me totally not want it in my fiction. Because I liked the rest of the story, I read on anyway . 

For my, every cancer intrusion flattened an otherwise delightful soufflé of a story. And I found the said-bookisms distracting. (Try as I might, I cannot sniff words.) If you can don't mind those elements, the characters are fun, there are lots of animals, and a metric Globe-theater ton (tonne) of Shakespeare fees and quotes.
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If you love theatre and The Bard, then this book is for you! It is a Shakespeare heavy story with a side of romance. Miranda is back home for the summer and the town Bard festival and she runs into the one person who broke her heart years ago. They are forced to work together and come to terms with their history. 

Miranda is quirky and fun - I liked her a lot. Adam is a nice guy and I was genuinely rooting for them. I didn't love her back and forth hot and cold approach, but I could understand it. I appreciated Adam's honest and candor when talking with Miranda - he was definitely not playing games.  

Overall, this was a sweet rom-com. It did drag a bit for me at the end and I thought it could have been wrapped up a little quicker. LOTS of Bard/Shakespeare references... so if that's not your thing, then this book may not be for you. I could take it or leave it, so I wasn't thrilled with the inundation of citations, but it also didn't bother me too much. Some parts felt a little repetitive, but maybe I just didn't "get" some of the Shakespearian jokes....?

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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i’m a sucker for shakespeare! loved the bard and festival settings. miranda was a lead i could really relate to. great family and small town dynamics, too.

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This book was wonderful. It was cheesy, romantic, camp, and full of many, many references to the Bard. Some people may find that annoying or over the top, but it made the book so fun for me. I loved the setting, the town was quirky and full of characters. The Barnes family was wonderful and I'm rooting for them all to get their happy endings.  Moving onto the main couple, Miranda and Adam have a past, and the question is whether or not they have a future. She was great, a multi-talented woman, very much the middle child that she is. Adam was charming and brought arguably the most important character, Miss Lucille, to the table. 

The characters talk about how they feel like they're back in high school as they're brought back to their hometown, and it was nice to see them mature and work through their differences this time around, in a way that did not happen back when they first knew each other. 

I recommend this book if you like: second chances, animals, theatre, familial relationships, fun side characters.
I do not recommend this book if you hate: cheesiness, Shakespeare.
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