Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Review: Ophelia by Lisa Klein

Ophelia is Klein's first novel. I read it back in high school, but I had never read Hamlet by Shakespeare, and so now that I have, I was interested in reading this book again. (It's based off the character Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet, in case that was unclear.)

Klein takes this dynamic, but unknown character and brings her to life. We get a fictional back-story on Ophelia and it's all very well written and follows the play in a logical way. Ophelia gets a job as queen Gertrude's lady-in-waiting and learns the ways of courtly life with some medicinal studying on the side. She meets Prince Hamlet on a few different occasions, and the end up falling in love. They secretly get married one day with Hamlet's best friend, Horatio, as their witness. (Those types of marriages were considered legal in Shakespeare's time - Klein did her research.) But then Hamlet's father is found dead and Hamlet starts seeing his father's ghost. When things go horribly amiss at Denmark's court, Ophelia realizes how much danger she is in. Potentially, she fakes her death, with Horatio as her confidant. She escapes to a nunnery with a growing belly - another life-changing secret she must keep for the sake of many people's lives.

I adore this novel. The voice and tone are fantastic, and Klein has developed a lovable character out of someone who is normally considered second-string. Klein knows her stuff - play wise, and historically. This book will draw you and and she even succeeds on giving this bloody play a new, unique, and happier ending. This book is clean, and I highly recommend it.
Happy Reading!


A Mitton said...

Most important question: Is Fortinbras there? Best character in Hamlet, by far.

Megz said...

yes, he is. But not a lot. Mostly just in passing.