Friday, November 26, 2010

Lit Look-Alikes

Recently, I’ve read three novels which happened to be based on classic literature. While none are true category romances, all have a strong romantic aspect, at least in the current form.

Oddly, the most romance-like of the three is based on a classic horror/ghost story. Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie is a retelling of the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, although there were quite a few times I wondered if she was really doing a Shakespeare comedy. The first scene reminded me very much of a typical Harlequin romance setting, (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) so I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a bit more meat to the story. The book runs the gamut from chilling to romantic to downright funny . The support characters are fully formed and the main characters are likeable. Unbelievably, this was the first book I’d read by Crusie, but it definitely won’t be my last.

Juliet by Anne Fortier is a novel that is more than loosely connected to, you guessed it, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. It is not a true re-telling of the story, however. In this clever book, the author successfully shifts back and forth between the 14th century story of Guilietta Tolomei and Romeo Salimbeni and the present. Are they the real couple whose story inspired Shakespeare’s famous tragedy? The 21st century Guilietta and Romeo are locked in a desperate struggle with some rather unsavory characters to discover the truth, find a highly coveted treasure and undo a centuries long family curse. A well written, suspenseful read.

Finally, Nice To Come Home To by Rebecca Flowers is a wonderful book that I picked up because my book club is reading it. It is a modernized version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. While the characters and situations themselves are very different, each rings true to their Austen counterpart in their underlying character traits and behavior. I did get a bit impatient with Pru who felt she knew what everyone else should do but was remarkably blind about her own life. Overall though, I loved it.

reviewed by Michele

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