In one of my many close readings of Romeo and Juliet as a teen, I remember thinking Romeo can't be that great if he was JUST in love with another girl (Rosaline) and already "loves" Juliet. It is fantastic to see the other side of the story in this book.
This was a beautiful rendition of Romeo & Juliet told from the POV of Rosaline, who Romeo loved first. There’s something so special and interesting about Shakespeare retellings that focus on a side character, and the author did a great job executing her vision with this one. I truly felt for Rosaline and connected with her more than I ever did with the titular characters in the original play.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.
This book moved a little slow for me. I think the concept and idea is unique but the execution was a little flawed for me.
Thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and to NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
When I saw that this book was available to request on NetGalley, I jumped at the opportunity to request it.
I have loved the story of Romeo and Juliet for a long time, so when I saw that someone wrote a book about Rosaline, I knew I had to read it.
This book was really good. Rosaline, Juliet's cousin meets Romeo Monague and is swept up in all of his declarations of love and marrage. Things go awry, and then he meets her cousin Juliet at a party.
This is not the side of Romeo we are used to seeing, but I really liked this book.
You get sucked right into the story of Love, Romance and deception. How will it end? Read it and find out.
A gripping retelling of Romeo and Juliet. We get to see the story from disillusioned Rosaline’s POV. Does she get to save Juliet?
Many thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
For Romeo, Rosaline was love at first site. Rosaline is stubborn, but sees Romeo as another option besides the convent that her father wants her to join. Rosaline begins to have doubts regarding the things that he's told her. She breaks off the arrangement. Romeo becomes interested in her cousin, 13-year old Juliet. Will Rosaline be able to save Juliet? Or will she be too late? Re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo is a predator.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy of this title.
I really loved this Shakespearean twist.
I consumed this book. Romeo, the villain? Finally. This book contained amazing lines and was filled with wonderful metaphors of what it truly means to be a woman. A story that is relatable not only in the fourteenth century, but in 2024. Roseline did not get to speak any words in Shakespeare’s play, but Natasha Solomons was able to give her a voice. Roseline was continually told who she was and what she was worth. To say this was a beautiful book would be an understatement. Shakespeare could never.
Fair Rosaline is an amazing read with a complex main character and intriguing plot. The main character, Rosaline is an intelligent and independent girl in a time when such things were not only frowned upon, but punished and her small act of rebellion is the catalyst for events in the story. I loved seeing the story of Romeo and Juliet from another perspective, and through a more feminist lens, calling out the female erasure in history and classic lit, as well as the exploitation of young girls we are still seeing to this day. Absolutely amazing, triumphic ending, great writing. A 5 star read for sure.
As a student of theater, I always loved the character of Rosaline best and considered her story the greatest one never fully told. I'd always imagined her life off-stage in the various plays imagining the intersectionality between them and romanticizing her life for myself. This story was a dream come true. Though different than some of the things I may have imagined, I really enjoyed this version of "Fair, Rosaline".
Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons is a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet that I honestly enjoyed much more than the original tale that always kind of weirded me out. In this story the emphasis is put on Rosaline point of view as a scorned romantic interest of Romeo's. Rosaline discovers what kind of cad Romeo really is and uncovers a larger scheme involving the Church, wealthy and corrupt men, and innocent girls. The book fast paced and written well and I loved the different look into the world of the Montague's and Capulet's.
Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet, but what about Rosaline who was only mentioned in the play? This book answers that question.
Ever since I read Romeo and Juliet in highschool I wondered about Rosaline. She got only a mere mention in the play and we moved on. I always wanted to know more about this mysterious woman who Romeo moved on from basically overnight. Natasha Solomons has finally answered all my questions! I love this backstory about Rosaline and how feisty and fiery she is. She is definitely ahead of her time. This retelling makes so much sense, too, which you don’t usually get in retellings/reimaginings. The story is told with Rosaline being a mastermind and moving all these pieces in the background.
If you love Shakespeare and/or Romeo and Juliet, you’ll definitely want to give this one a read!
As editor, I requested Fair Rosaline as background reading for a discussion we hosted on BookBrowse. The discussion was very positive; and in addition, we also reviewed the book:
I think a feminist retelling of the classic Romeo and Juliet is a clever approach, and one that I was excited to delve into. Unfortunately the pace of the story was a bit too slow for me. I appreciate that the story focused on some lesser known characters and lent a voice to them, however, this was much darker of a retelling than I anticipated-- perhaps I wasn't in the right mindset for this one. I still encourage people to give it a go, because I think there are some glimmers of brilliance in it.
I wasn’t able to finish this one.
The pacing threw me off and I had to DNF around 27%.
Maybe I’ll be able to come back to it at another time.
I’ve already bought the audio version & it is as good as the print. I can’t wait to share this with my students next year. Just the opening description of living with the plague is going to draw them in in a completely new way. This is top tier writing that is couched in thoughtful research & creative story crafting. Love it!
I'm honestly a little conflicted in my review for this title. I'm not sure if that's because I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I requested the book. It went a way different way than I was expecting, but not in a bad way? I think the idea of giving a life and agency to Rosaline was super interesting and a modern way to look at the play. It gave me a new perspective and I'll be thinking about this book for quite a while.
I absolutely love Shakespeare, so as soon as I saw this I needed to read it. Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this ARC!! I thought this was such an interesting take on a perspective of Romeo and Juliet that we didn’t get from W. Shakespeare. I loved it from start to finish. Definitely worth reading if you enjoy Romeo and Juliet.
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for access to an eARC for Fair Rosaline in exchange for my honest review.
Due to personal reasons revolving around past traumas, I chose to avoid retellings of Romeo and Juliet for years, despite it being my favorite of Shakespeare's works when I was younger. But having forged a new love for the story with my best friend, I decided this year to give a few more movie and book retellings of the star-crossed lovers of Verona, and this one had me excited from the second I saw the title. Rosaline has always been a character I go back to when I do think of he play, despite her lack of a true appearance in the story and the shortage of references to Juliet's older cousin. Even when I first read Romeo and Juliet when I was a freshman in high school, I wondered what it must have been like for Rosaline to be the girl who Romeo cast aside and forgot in favor of her younger cousin.
The rising trend today of taking female characters who, for one reason or another, were not given as much depth as others in original and classic works and writing a retelling to give them more agency and purpose in the story is very close to my heart, and Natasha Solomons has only made it more so. Her decision to look a little harder at Romeo's fickle and flighty nature and to use it as a way to present and discuss the existence of predatory men both in the past and in our present while still showing so much love to the original play was incredible. I especially loved having the chance to see the world through the eyes of the Capulets more so rather than through the lens of Romeo and the Montagues as he presents it to Juliet. Falling in love with the character of Tybalt wasn't something I'd ever seen myself doing before now, but my heart was so full for him.
The decision, also, to combine multiple references to others Rosalines and Rosalinds in Shakespeare's other words to inspire her own portrayal of the character somewhat really showed the dedication that Solomons has to respecting the original work while also forging her own tale from its roots, and my *god* if the choice to give 'fair' Rosaline dark skin and moorish features to make a point of the overused compliments a man will pay to simply gain the adoration of a woman was *spectacular.* From beginning to end, the writing style and the story and especially the ending of this story had me falling back in love with Romeo and Juliet all over again even as she told a brand new terrifying story from the scraps she chose to take away from the play, and while it was a bit more literary in prose than most of the other books I read around the same time and therefore took me longer to get through, I can absolutely see myself picking up a copy for myself to read again one day.