Cover Image: For the Love of the Bard

For the Love of the Bard

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Member Reviews

I’m a huge Shakespeare fan, so Jessica Martin’s new contemporary romance For the Love of the Bard was a must-read for me.  Aside from all of the Shakespeare love, the story also features a small town setting, a second chance romance, and a fabulous dog named Puck, all things that are basically catnip for me. For the Love of the Bard doesn’t disappoint either.  I spent most of the book smiling and chuckling to myself and was ultimately bummed when I reached the last page because I wanted to spend more time in this setting with these characters.

The story follows Miranda Barnes, a literary agent and author, who returns to her hometown for the summer in hopes of finding some inspiration to finish her next novel.  Miranda fully expects to hole up in the attic at her parent’s house and write all summer, but her mom has other ideas.  Each year their town hosts a popular Shakespeare festival, and this year is the centennial year and Miranda’s mom is the event planner.  She recruits Miranda to direct one of the plays they will be putting on as part of the celebration.  Miranda reluctantly agrees but immediately finds herself face to face with someone she had hoped never to see again – Adam, the high school flame who ditched her on prom night.  Will Miranda finally get to confront Adam and get some closure about what happened that night so many years ago?

I had so much fun reading this book! Miranda’s hometown of Bard’s Rest, in particular, delighted me.  If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, imagine Stars Hollow but where every building, street, etc. is named using a Shakespearean reference and all the residents are Shakespeare enthusiasts who want to be part of the festival. It was so charming and quaint, and I just wanted it to be a real place so that I could visit it and geek out on all the Shakespearean references.

I was also a big fan of Miranda.  Even though the book is advertised as a romance and there’s definitely plenty to keep readers entertained with respect to Miranda and Adam’s will they or won’t they vibe, it’s Miranda’s journey and her relationship with her family, especially her sisters, that captivated me.  It was interesting to watch the different dynamics between Miranda and each of them as they try to navigate some personal drama regarding their mom’s health.  In addition to the family drama, Miranda is also dealing with fan pressure.  Her fans were very vocal about not liking the direction her last book went in, so she’s under tremendous pressure to write a new installment that will satisfy everyone.  I was very engrossed by what turns out to be a very personal journey of self-discovery for Miranda as she discovers who she really wants to be as an author.

For the Love of the Bard is a charming story about love, family, community, and most of all, it’s about second chances and finding yourself.  If you enjoy stories that features those elements and you’re a Shakespeare fan as well, I highly recommend this one.
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I don’t know how much someone who isn’t a theater major would enjoy this, but thankfully that wasn’t my problem because I thought it was adorably fun. I loved the combination of women’s fiction, romance, theater shenanigans, and drama. The drama! There was so much going on in this story, but I was living for it.

I loved Miranda and her emotional growth throughout it all. I’ve never met a second chance romance I didn’t love and this one didn’t disappoint. Her and Adam were fantastic. All of the literary references and puns made me happy all throughout.
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To be perfectly honest this book was not for me. I could not finish it. While I love the premise, I found it to be cheesy as best.
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This book is so good! It is witty, romantic, emotional, thought-provoking, fun, moving, and so much more. Whenever I picked up "For the Love of the Bard", I was whisked away, and went on quite the journey with this second-chance romance.

This is the first book I have read by Jessica Martin, and it certainly won't be my last! Her writing style is fun, witty, full of heart, and she seamlessly weaves different moments and themes throughout her story. Her world-building is phenomenal, and you truly feel as the reader that you are right there with the characters seeing what is going on.

Miranda plans to return home to Bard's Rest. She wants to continue to write her next novel, in addition to helping with a huge Shakespearean Festival that occurs there each year. Her ex-boyfriend Adam, a vet, is also in Bard's Rest as well. I do not want to say too much due to spoilers, but, I will simply say, this book is a must-read. You see Miranda's relationships with those around her, her love for those she cares about, her passion for all she does, and her strength and vulnerability as she helps her mother and family upon finding out about her mom's illness. Along the way is a second-chance romance that will pull at your heart strings. 

Also, so many Shakespeare references...including Puck! Oh my goodness!

If you enjoy contemporary romance, I highly recommend this book! It kept me turning the pages chapter after chapter, and I can't wait to see what Ms. Martin writes next.

Thank you so much to to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the ARC of this book, and to Berkley Publishing Group for having me as part of the blog tour for the novel. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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I ended up liking this book more than I had originally thought I would. It has a very quirky vibe - a LOT of theater and Shakespeare puns - which initially turned me off a bit and I considered DNFing.

Overall it was a light and cute book with minimal stakes. Miranda's family dynamics were really engaging, and her re-kindled romance with Adam was cute, but their issues felt a bit repetitive.
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As much as I fell in love with Bard's Rest and would love for it to be an actual place that I could run away to and live happily ever after .... that was about all that I loved about this one. It didn't seem to know what kind of book it wanted to be. It wasn't quite the rom-com like I was hoping. It teetered on the edge of what is typically labeled "Women's Fiction" now, but it didn't seem to quite fit what I'm used to for that either. It almost feels like the author had a fabulous idea for a town and all the Shakespearean gimmickry and then just threw whatever came to mind on the page around it.
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Are you a Shakespeare fan? The town that is the setting for this novel is obsessed with Shakespeare, from the name of the town, Bard’s Rest, to quaint business names such as the Much Ado About Pastry Cafe, to name just one. They hold a huge two week festival every summer, honoring the works of the Bard. There are just enough Shakespeare references to delight a fan, but not too many to annoy anyone else.
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For The Love of the Bard by Jessica Martin is a cute romcom featuring a writer/publisher returned home for the summer and a veterinarian who broke her heart in high school. It is a second chance romance trope that I adored.
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There were great layers to this book. Of course, there was the romance, but family dynamics, serious health issues, and small town community antics all play their part in the story. Lots of fun with a side of heart warming seriousness. Furthermore, there is a great dog, always my favorite.
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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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