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 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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Will there be love in FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD, Ms. Martin's spirited ode to  Shakespeare? Ridiculously cute Miranda Barnes is a famous young adult writer who goes home to enjoy her town's annual Shakespearean festival and to finish her YA fantasy book. However, her mom has serious health issues and Miranda helps out. Plus, Miranda bumps into Adam, the boy who broke her heart in school. Then, she is roped into directing a festival play. Geesh! What happens next?

Problems arise and Miranda does her best to deal with it. Miranda needs to work on her book, but with issues popping up all over the place, time is really scarce. Then, Adam, a veterinarian who is a handsome hunk, reenters her life. They go together like a hot fudge sundae delight! Adam is absolutely nuts about her dog too.  Miranda is cautious though, should she risk her heart again? Will they love each other with so much of their heart that none is left to protest, as Shakespeare said?

FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD is all things Shakespeare with a dollop of romance and tender heart. Witty repartee, offbeat, enjoyable characters, obstacles galore, and an enchanting plot with an adorable dog, won over my heart big time! Miranda searches for happiness while dealing with life's problems. I wondered if her and Adam would ever find their way to love. Ms. Martin uniquely handles difficulties Shakespearean style. Wait until you see what happens! Oh my gosh, what utter chaos! FOR THE LOVE OF THE BARD is uniquely rom-commish, I guarantee!
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our and a Half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒
For the Love of the Bard by Jessica Martin was exactly the book I needed.  It’s fun, light, and nerdy, and I really enjoyed it.  

Miranda Barnes co-owns a  literary agency with her best friend Ian in Boston.  She is called home to her Shakespeare-obsessed hometown to help with the summer festivals and her mother ropes her into directing one of the three plays the town is presenting, Twelfth Night.  Miranda has been suffering from writer's block as she’s been struggling to finish the next installment of her popular YA fantasy series.  

Miranda faces many issues when back in Bards Rest, and one of them is the handsome veterinarian, Adam, who also stood her up at her senior prom.  And it doesn’t help that her dog, Puck, adores Adam.  Between directing the play, dealing with her mother’s health scare, trying to finish up her book, and dealing with her sisters, Miranda doesn’t have time for Adam anyway.  But, for some reason, she can’t avoid him, until she doesn’t want to avoid him!  

There is a lot going on in this book.  A lot of action and dialogue, which made for a fast read.  The characters are a lot of fun. I love a town full of quirky characters, and Bards Rest is full of them.  Adam is a veterinarian, and he lives with a pig named Lucille! And Miranda’s dog, Puck is simply adorable too, but Lucille and Puck together make for a lot of laughs.  

Humor, quirky characters, witty dialogue. This book has it all.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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There were so many plot threads going on in this book and yet I was bored almost the entire time. The pacing absolutely drags, and this probably should have been a shorter book.

The Shakespearean Stars Hollow vibe of the town was fun at first but quickly grated on me, largely because of the incredibly dumb linguistic quirk of saying things like "Bard, this is annoying" or "for Bard's sake." Cringeworthy tbh.

I wish this had been a straight up women's fiction novel because the "author returns to her quirky hometown to reclaim her writing mojo while she helps her ailing mother with a Shakespeare festival" concept is solid but unfortunately the focus in this book is spread so thin amongst all the subplots that none of them feel as impactful as they could have been. The romance in particular suffers the most, which is frustrating given that this book is supposed to be A Romance.
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This was very cute! I did enjoy reading the mother-daughter. As a former theater kid, I was drawn to the setting and that aspect was fun. However, I was expecting a romance and this is women's fiction. (Still liked it though!)
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I'd like to thank the publisher, Berkley, and NetGalley for allowing me a chance at reading this book. 

Yikes on a bike. That's what I have to say. The writing was very juvenile and the characters had a lot of quotes or references. I couldn't take it. It was a while before I came in contact with the male love interest. 

This was not a book I picked out but a book that was provided to me by the publisher. I chose to download because it had Shakespeare and enemies to lovers. I just couldn't find out why exactly they were enemies to really begin with.
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This story was a great romance from a debut author. Miranda Barnes is an author of a very popular YA fantasy series who is having trouble writing the next book. She goes home for the summer to Bard's Rest - a town obsessed with Shakespeare - to try to recapture her writing mojo. 

However, there are many distractions. Her mother who is directing the annual festival has discovered a lump on her breast and seems more interested in the fate of the festival than her own health which greatly disturbs her husband and three daughters. When Miranda offers to help lighten her mother's load, she finds herself directing a production of Twelfth Night and trying to stay away from the handsome veterinarian/set designer who broke her heart when she was in high school. 

Adam Winters is back in town running his father's veterinary clinic while his father recovers from a heart attack and surgery. He very much wants to have another chance with Miranda if she can be convinced that he is a changed man who can be trusted with her heart. 

The story has great dialog and a fascinating setting. I loved the family relationships and the rekindled romance between Miranda and Adam. There are even great pets since Miranda has a rescue dog named Puck who is an "indiscriminate eater", and Adam has a rescue pig named Lucille. 

I can't wait for more from this fresh new voice.
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Thank you for an advanced copy of this book!

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: June 28, 2022

If you're an animal lover like me, you will need to hear only a short review of this book to pique your interest: HOT gilded small town vet. Run, don't walk, to pick this one up. ☺️ All my hot animal doctor fantasies are bottled up in this book, and they can be yours too, if you purchase For the Love of the Bard. Now, for those of you who are not as basic as I am and possibly aren't still nursing your Sam Shepherd in Baby Boom crush from the early 1990s, read on.

I enjoyed so many elements of this book. First and foremost, yes, I liked the two main characters a lot: Miranda and Adam. Miranda has spunk, humor, and likability all rolled into one fabulous character. Plus, she's a YA fantasy author. Hello dream job! Adam is gilded and is a DVM (hello, dream man!), and he has just enough imperfections (ie, occasional emotional shortcomings) to make him believable. I was practically salivating over Adam with his shirtsleeves rolled up doing anything in this book. Jessica Martin knows my type, and she wrote it as Adam in this story. I loved the two of them together, especially since it is a second chance love. 

I also really enjoyed the side characters in this book, especially Miranda's two sisters Portia and Cordy. I'm a sucker for sister dynamics, and the three of them presented like three of Shakespeare's leading ladies (a trilogy, perhaps?). Miranda's family and her best friend Ian are also lol funny at times, and I felt Miranda's frustration with her mother's reluctance to focus on her health. 

And, this is just a cool town. I want to throw myself into the pages of the book and just live there year around. The festival, the people, the atmosphere...I love it!

My only complaints are the book felt like it dragged a little towards the end...I feel like 50 pages could have been edited out easily. Also,  book should have some trigger warnings for cancer diagnosis, parental illness, etc. I was completely unprepared for that storyline, and that subject is a major trigger for me. I still would have read the book, but I would have been more informed about the side story that was really more of a major plot point.

Overall, though, I really liked this book! I read it in about a day and a half, so I was definitely hooked! I can't wait to read more by this author.
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When it comes to second chances, pups and then throw in a cute Veterinarian - I'm ready to dive in! For the Love of the Bard is a cute, fun and romantic theatric read. Miranda Barnes is a fun heroine who has a secret that only her family and close friend knows about. 

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. And I love the dynamic of the Barnes family!
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As someone who loves Summer Stock and any opportunity to engage in Theatre things this book was amazing! It was my first book by the author, and I really enjoyed her writing and engaging story.  The setting of the story was everything I wanted and more when you give me a title like For the Love of the Bard .  Small town theatre can be a hotbed of fun and drama. The nods to Shakespeare were so wonderful.. especially for this bardolator. 

Miranda has return home to Bard's Rest with the purpose of finishing her YA Novel. Miranda’s mom has other ideas, roping her into helping with the town’s centennial celebration of their Shakespeare Festival.  Miranda of course takes on way more than she should and is in the mix of it she reconnects with an old flame.  I also love how she really strengthens her relationship with her sisters. I enjoyed that connections she makes with her hometown after being gone for so long. I love the coming home vibes and finding more than when you left.  
Adam- what to say about Adam.  Here is where some of my hang ups come in this story.  I wanted more of a character arc for him. He should have repented more. He should have been begging. He did Miranda dirty.    I wanted more of the romance between Miranda and Adam.  This friendship that sparks and slowly burns.  Their history is very complicated and somewhat messy. 
But this story wasn’t about their relationship as much as it was about Miranda’s journey.  
The importance of family that is shown and themed through out the book by using Miranda’s mother’s heath issues was handled with such grace and care.  I also thing that the journey to self-love that Miranda experiences was so on point and added so much to the story.  
If you are looking for a good story with romantic elements, you should totally read this.  But if you are looking for a true romance this is not it. The title was sold to me as being a romance it isn’t.  This is women’s fiction with romantic elements. I would have liked it more if it was sold to me that way. When reading romance, I want the relationship to be centered stage.  This book really focused on Miranda and her journey which is fine but that isn’t romance.  This is one of those times I got duped.
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For the Love of the Bard is such a whimsical read. While more women’s fiction I think than romance, it follows literary agent and writer Miranda Barnes as she returns to her Shakespeare-themed small town home. This is a story of family and sisterhood and self and it was just quirky and fun. I had some trouble connecting to Miranda I think at times—she was a great lead but just sometimes a little too sarcastic in a way that I didn’t love. I loved her connection with her family though. Her sisters and her have such a wonderful relationship and I loved her candor with her parents. This was just a witty, smart read. And I loved the romantic lead Adam. It’s a second chance romance, which is a favorite trope of mine, and I just thought Adam was charming and genuine. I did want more time out of their romance too though. They had great chemistry. And I loved the Shakespeare-themed town! Overall a fun read!
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This book started out very strong. I loved the strong, sassy, feminist qualities of the main character and the family dynamics between the sisters and the parents. Also, the sweet pupper. Who is a good boy?! 

The love interest however, didn't sizzle. For me, his personality felt flat. I wish there had been more development of the backstory early on and more discussion on why they were "enemies." It was an awkward tension that was one sided. I think it would have been great to have an alternate POV and get his side of the story. 

Despite that, I will definitely recommend this one to others! It had a lot of good things.
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