Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ophelia by Lisa Klein - Review

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark...
but, it's not this book!

*This review was previously shared on
He is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; she is simply Ophelia. If you think you know their story, think again.

In this re-imagining of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen's most trusted lady-in-waiting. When she catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and Ophelia's happiness is shattered. Ultimately she must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a plan to escape from Elsinore forever...with one very dangerous secret.

So you think you know how the story of Hamlet goes huh? There are always two sides to a story and with this re-imagining of Shakespeare's classic tale we see a different perspective and an alternative ending. The inspiration for Klein's Ophelia is taken directly from the famous tragedy by William Shakespeare. The original play is filled with death and suicide, madness, incest, and the supernatural. Hamlet's father has been murdered, which inspires a whole series of events--bent on revenge and destined to bring destruction to all. Ophelia has all the same factors as Shakespeare's Hamlet just with a twist!

In Klein's version we see Ophelia as a strong and spirited girl who is motherless and allowed to roam the kingdom wildly, climbing trees, swimming and doing the sorts of things well-bred young ladies should not. Because her father is a slimy wanna-be that only cares about his status he places his beautiful daughter (which he cares little for) in the castle as one of Queen Gertrude's ladies. His plan is to use his daughter for information to gain the King's confidence, but Ophelia grows very fond of Gertrude and wishes not to betray her queen. The queen serves as a mother figure to Ophelia and introduces her to romantic books to help the young girl know what to expect from boys.

The whole time that Ophelia is bonding with Queen Gertrude, young Prince Hamlet is out in the world experiencing all it has to offer. When the prince returns Gertrude is overwhelmed with joy and spends more time with her son, selfish for all his attention. Hamlets visits his mother regularly and takes notice of the more grown up girl, Ophelia. One evening Prince Hamlet and Ophelia bump into one another in the garden and the attraction is immediate. They scheme of ways to meet in secret with the help of Prince Hamlet's trusted friend, Horatio, and fall madly in love. But, the madness is not contained to just the attraction between Hamlet and Ophelia...once it is discovered that Hamlet's father has been murdered we see just how mad Hamlet really is...

I so enjoyed reading this book. It inspired me to really pay more attention to Classic plays and stories and to think outside the box. The romantic nature of the story was probably what kept me turning the pages. It was enough like Shakespeare's Hamlet that I was already familiar with it, but different enough that it kept me on my toes. Of course, it helped that the author gave her Ophelia strength and moxie and made her a smart and quick witted heroine.

I totally recommend this book to anyone that loves romance and history. It is a beautiful story with a surprising think you know, but you have no idea. Read it.

Peace & Love

Visit Lisa Klein's Website.

This book was purchased by Desi.

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