After re-inventing Macbeth in her first novel, The Third Witch,
Reisert now creates an alternative Hamlet. This is historical
escapism with a savvy literary twist. Ophelia is restored to
nobility after a childhood spent among the peasantry. She soon
finds herself torn between duty and passion. Her misguided love for
Prince Hamlet and her communion with ghosts augur ill, and she is
soon instrumental in treason and murder. Surrounded by intrigue and
deceit, Ophelia must use her wits to survive and save the lives of
those she loves. Re-casting Ophelia as passionate schemer makes
this a lively book. Unlike Shakespeare's fey madwoman, Reisert's
heroine is spirited and enterprising, and it's easy to enjoy
Ophelia simply as a feisty character. For Shakespeare fans, there
is added sparkle in Reisert's inventiveness: Ophelia's Revenge
re-interprets the play's key events with a real sense of mischief.
Reisert's other characters are also entertaining: the author
re-writes Claudius as sweet middle-aged lover, Gertrude as victim
and Hamlet as hoodlum. Reisert's prose is rich and robust. Her
imagery draws beauty from the mundane, and her characters' dialogue
has a mediaeval twang without seeming obscure or contrived. The
novel includes a wealth of detail about customs, food and costume,
which will delight readers who enjoy well-researched historical
fiction. Although Reisert's research is brandished a bit obviously
at times, there is no doubting her grasp on the mediaeval period.
Reisert refreshes the original story whilst remaining faithful to
many of Shakespeare's ideas - love, honour, loyalty and revenge
remain universal themes. The novel diverges enough from the
original to sustain tension and the ending is particularly
audacious. This is an atmospheric, knowing novel which will appeal
to fans of historical romance as well as Shakespeare aficionados.
Reisert has re-moulded the Bard's most famous work for a
contemporary audience. (Kirkus UK)
Passionate Ophelia longs for a life as huge as her spirit. She
seems to get her chance when she's taken to Elsinore Castle to
rejoin her unknown father, but soon she's torn between her love for
the glamorous Prince Hamlet and the wild pirate Ragnor. As she
struggles to understand why she's the only person able to see the
multitudes of ghosts who haunt the castle, she finds herself drawn
into a plot to kill the queen and replace her with Ophelia herself.
One desperate act leads to another until madness seems the only
path to save those she loves in the dangerously mad world of the
Danish royal court.
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