For the Love of the Bard
Grade : B+

For the Love of the Bard has fun with its lighthearted small-town byplay, but it’s not particularly substantial.  Still, for a fun, quick summer read, it more than does the job.

Literary agent and author Miranda Barnes vows she’s going to do one thing this summer – finish the latest volume in her YA series, Elf Shot, in spite of the near-universal pannings both of the previous volumes got from her readers.  Living with a flatulent golden retriever named Puck, she’s hoping for peace and quiet.  Maybe a trip home might bring that rest about.

Miranda’s little New England hometown, Bard’s Rest, has a yearly Shakespeare festival which stands on the verge of its centennial celebration. Her mom’s in charge this year, which means Miranda has been roped into directing the festival’s version of Twelfth Night, agreeing mostly because she’s worried about the effect the extra stress could have on her mom’s health. Once home, she bumps into her old boyfriend and high school sweetheart Adam Winters, now the local veterinarian.  Miranda’s plan is to get her writing done and get out of there without having to deal with Adam and the heartbreak he caused her on prom night (he made out with one of her two sisters, each of whom are also named after a Shakespearean heroine).

For the Love of the Bard floats along on the charm of its small-town setting, but it’s surprisingly light on romance and spends a lot of time on Miranda’s relationship with her sisters, her sister’s relationship drama, the drama with the festival, and even drama related to Miranda’s mom’s health.  But in the end all of that aforementioned charm kept me reading to the last page, in spite of the book’s imperfections.

I liked Miranda a lot; she has a certain wise, wry way about her, and her writing ambitions make her interesting.  Adam is handsome and he loves Puck, but I’m not entirely sure I’d have forgiven him for his teenage indiscretions. Misunderstandings and lack of communication abound until he and Miranda finally work out through their past issues, and for some it will feel like it takes forever for them to handle things.

The way the book absolutely captures what it’s like living in a tourist trap town, however, is utterly priceless and perfect.  I’ve been to that sort of place where you live for one day out of the year and your whole town’s identity revolves around one thing, and Martin does an excellent job capturing the feeling of such a locale.  I do, however, acknowledge that every single business in town being named after Shakespeare or one of his works might be just too twee and that some readers will find it grating.

If you want charm, turn to For the Love of the Bard, but those looking for something more substantial will probably be better off skipping it.

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : May 29, 2022

Publication Date: 06/2022

Review Tags: small town romance

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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