Cover Image: For the Love of the Bard

For the Love of the Bard

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Member Reviews

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book, but once I got settled in after a few chapters and allowed myself to revel in this unabashedly cheesy, nerdy over-the-top hectic romp, it was smooth sailing! I'm not enough of a Shakespeare expert to claim to have understood every (even) passing reference, but the ones I did understand and appreciate were fun. I wasn't expecting to enjoy and care about all the characters as much as I did, which made it easier to allow a wide creative license to some of this book's more crazy happenings. Even then it did seem like way too much was on the protagonist, Miranda's plate and we never really got a chance to settle into each (individually) intense issue. Oh and Puck and his new bestie (I can't say more or it will be a spoiler) stole the show and I wish we'd seen more of them. I also appreciate a second-chance romance where the characters actually communicate right off the bat instead of skirting around the issue or avoiding it altogether until it all blows up in their faces, and (mostly) continue to communicate.
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BOOK REVIEW: For the Love of the Bard by Jessica Martin
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Rating: 3/5 stars
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First, I would like to thank NetGalley, Berkely Publishing Group, and Jessica Martin for the advanced copy of this book in exchnage for an honest review. 
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I was really excited to read this book because while I wouldn't call myself a Shakespeare superfan, I do enjoy his work. I did not understand all of the references. But, I understood a good portion of them and really enjoyed that aspect of the book. If you are a Shakespeare fan, this book is for you. It is not a retelling, but there are so many references in the Shakespeare obsessed small town, that you will enjoy it.
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The book had the small town romance trope. But, what it didn't have was the miscommunication trope which was surprising to me because I really thought that's where the book was headed. I was delighted by this, because I HATE the miscommunication trope.
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The main character in the book is a famous YA fantasy author who writes under a pseudonym. The only people who know her idnetity are her family memebers and best friend. We see her struggle with readers being disappointed in her latest book release and it causing the MC to be worried about finishing her book series. I feel like we don't normally get to see this side of authors and it was something different to read about. It made authors in general seem more human and I enjoyed reading about this struggle and seeing the MC overcome it.
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However, I did find the book to be rather long. I felt that a portion of it could have been cut out in order to move the story along faster or make it more fast-paced. There were a few parts of the book where I felt like I was reading the same conversation over and over again. It is for this reason that I am rating the book 3 stars.
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For the Love of the Bard is a fantastic contemporary romance by Jessica Martin. I’m a big fan of William Shakespeare and have read over two dozen of his plays and many of his sonnets, so, as soon as I saw the title, I knew I had to read this one. The story takes place in a charming New England town called Bard’s Rest, which has an annual Shakespeare festival. Can this be a real place in New England, please? I would love to visit this charming small town during festival season. It sounds like so much fun, and I love how the whole town gets into it.

Miranda Barnes, a writer and literary agent, has returned home to finish her novel when she gets roped into helping with the festival. She also comes face-to-face with Adam, the handsome vet who broke her heart years ago. Between finishing her book, preparing for the festival, dealing with a family member’s health issues, and facing her feelings for her first love, Miranda has a lot on her plate.

The story is a perfect balance of light and serious, with some touching moments that brought a tear to my eye balanced amid comical moments that had me laughing out loud. And I enjoyed the messages about forgiveness, sisterhood, friendship, family, career paths, and more. The characters are all dynamically developed and relatable, especially Miranda, and they deal with issues that many people face. Complicated sibling relationships, aging parents, opening up to love, dealing with feelings of inadequacy – there are many aspects of the story that are realistic and easy to connect with.

Miranda and Adam have a complicated second-chance romance, and it’s clear there is unfinished business between the two. A prom night betrayal that they never really discussed is a huge obstacle for them to overcome, and Miranda is especially hesitant to let Adam get too close. As they work and spend time together, they both learn that “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and they must decide if their feelings are worth exploring. Adam and Miranda have great chemistry, even though so much stands in their way, and I love how they slowly get to know each other again. It’s interesting to see how they deal with their fears, resentments, guilt, and growing feelings for each other.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel is the literary references. They appeal so much to my literary-loving heart, especially the Shakespearean references, which are in abundance. From the town festival to the characters’ names to the store names, to Miranda’s Shakespearean-esque exclamations, the Bard’s influence knows no bounds, and it’s pretty fantastic. I love how much this community embraces Shakespeare, theatre, and literature in general, and the author’s knowledge and admiration of the classics are fantastic. The scene when the men start hurling Shakespearean insults is hilarious, and the little ways in which the book pays homage to the Bard speaks to the former English teacher in me.

I thought this was a great read. It has wonderful characters, small-town charm, fantastic literary references, great messages, an adorable dog, and a unique romance. Thanks so much to Berkley Books for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
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"To go for it or not to go for it?" If you're asking that question after picking up For the Love of the Bard by Jessica Martin, let me tell you now: go for it!
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"To go for it or not to go for it? That is the question when two former high school flames return to their Shakespeare-obsessed hometown for a summer of theater and unexpected romance, in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jessica Martin.

Literary agent and writer Miranda Barnes rolls into her hometown of Bard’s Rest with one goal in mind: to spend the summer finally finishing her YA novel, the next installment in her bestselling fantasy series. Yet Miranda’s mother, deep in the planning stages for the centennial of the town’s beloved annual Shakespeare festival, has other ideas.

Before you can say "all’s fair in love and war," Miranda is cornered into directing Twelfth Night - while simultaneously scrambling to finish her book, navigating a family health scare, and doing her best to avoid the guy who broke her heart on prom night.

When it comes to Adam, the veterinarian with a talent for set design and an infuriating knack for winning over Miranda’s dog, the lady doth protest too much. As any Shakespeare lovers knows, the course of true love never did run smooth, and soon Miranda realizes she’ll have to decide whether to trust Adam with her heart again."

A rom-com reminiscent of Slings and Arrows!
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Being a huge Shakespeare fan, I really wanted to love this, but sadly it just didnt do anything for me. It felt too teenage-y in its language and I just switched off. Not for me, it couldnt hold my attention.
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The book was much more emotional than I thought. There's a lot going on in Miranda's life and I felt a strong connection from the get-go. I was expecting more of a light romance in a quaint small town, but there's serious issues including a serious illness of a parent. Miranda and Adam were a good couple that I wanted to root for, but they didn't blow me away. I think maybe a little more development of their romance would've made me more invested. The relationships with her family and the Shakespeare setting was my favorite parts. Thanks to the publisher for a copy to review.  Will post on Amazon after publication.
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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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