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    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Ophelia by Lisa Klein
    A telling of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark -- yes *that* Hamlet -- and Ophelia.
    Ophelia, sent to the castle to become a lady in waiting by her father, is alone except for the woman Elnora, a healer in the castle. And lonely she is, because ladies in waiting embroider, gossip, and flirt -- all things that Ophelia find boring and dull. She would rather study and read and swim and discuss. When Prince Hamlet notices Ophelia and encourages her wit and intelligence, she begins to fall in love. Hamlet courts her in secret, donning peasant clothes to hide their identities. And then they wed. But like Romeo and Juliet, this is a star-crossed love. Deaths and murders and trickery begin to plague the castle, making Ophelia an orphan and turning Hamlet a vengeful man. Forced to admit that her new husband has gone mad and no longer loves her, and after discovering that she carries Hamlet's heir, Ophelia fakes her own death to escape the castle and head to the safety of a convent in France.
    A well-written and enjoyable tale. I began this book with great anticipation -- I am quite a fan of Shakespeare, and this reimagined tale had garnered good reviews. And until halfway through I enjoyed it, eagerly turning each page. And then the sadness struck, and I wasn't sure I wanted to finish it -- I was in no mood for a sad ending. But I pushed through and by part three was glad I did -- Ophelia's life in the convent was intriguing and uplifting. The ending is left somewhat open, somewhat sad, and somewhat happy -- just like life.
    Recommended. One or two allusions to sex.
    Y FICTION Klein

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