Friday, August 26, 2011

Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach

A missing diamond, a mysterious neighbor, a link to Shakespeare-can Hero uncover the connections?

When Hero starts sixth grade at a new school, she's less concerned about the literary origins of her Shakespearean name than about the teasing she's sure to suffer because of it. So she has the same name as a girl in a book by a dusty old author. Hero is simply not interested in the connections. But that's just the thing; suddenly connections are cropping up all over, and odd characters and uncertain pasts are exactly what do fascinate Hero. There's a mysterious diamond hidden in her new house, a curious woman next door who seems to know an awful lot about it, and then, well, then there's Shakespeare. Not to mention Danny Cordova, only the most popular boy in school. Is it all in keeping with her namesake's origin-just much ado about nothing? Hero, being Hero, is determined to figure it out.

My Thoughts:

I thought this book was entertaining but not the best young adult book I have read. It was an interesting look at a 12 year old girl's life who's father is a professor of Shakespeare. Her parents gifted her with Hero as a name which although popular amongst Shakespeare fans not so popular in school. The family recently moved to a new city and Hero finds herself friendly with an elderly woman next door who tells her a story about a missing diamond (rumored to be in the house Hero and her family now occupy) and a connection to Anne Boleyn.

I thought the history was interesting. Supposedly the necklace that the diamond was originally set into most likely belonged to Anne Boleyn at one time and was handed down through the generations to the woman who used to live in the house Hero's family bought. What I thought was even more interesting was that I never heard the rumors that perhaps William Shakespeare didn't write his works at all. In this book Edward de Vere was discussed a lot and the rumors that he may have been Elizabeth I's illegitimate son and he may have been the writer behind all of Shakespeare's work. Like I said it was very interesting and I enjoyed that part of the book completely. The necklace part of the story was completely invented by Broach according to her notes found in the book but the other information on the speculation of Shakespeare identity is quite true.

I didn't like that the mystery of the million dollar diamond was solved by 2 children age 12 and 14. What kind of inept police department does that city have that after scouring the house looking for the diamond the police give up but 2 children find it in about an a couple of hours. Granted the children had a clue that the police didn't have but still.
If it weren't for that unfortunate issue this book would actually be very good. This book is a young adult novel but is very good for children younger. Anywhere from 10+ I would say. There are no adult themes whatsoever but does have some bullying name calling (no physical bullying) from Hero's classmates.


No comments: