Before I get into my thoughts about this anthology I should probably state that my knowledge of and familiarity with Shakespeare and his work is woefully lacking. I don’t think I’ve ever read a full play and while my (Dutch) school may have introduced me to one of the Bard’s sonnets, that is probably the full extent of my first hand experience. It is therefore quite likely that people with a better knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays and other works will get more out of this book than I ever could, since they will be familiar with the original tales these stories are based on.
On the upside, the fact that I came to this collection mostly unburdened by preconceptions means that I can, with full confidence, state that these stories can and will be thoroughly enjoyed by any reader. Prior knowledge of Shakespeare tales is not required in order to have a wonderful reading experience here.
What’s more, the variety in the stories in this book means that the book offers something for everybody. We encounter, for example, contemporary romance, historical tales, stories in which not everything can be logically explained, and a touch of BDSM. The settings of the stories are as varied as the tropes are, and while most of these stories bring us the happy endings we expect when reading romance, it wouldn’t be a Shakespeare inspired collection if there wasn’t at least one tragic conclusion too.
As always when reading an anthology, not all stories worked equally well for me personally. Some I loved, some had me yearning for more, and others I ‘just’ enjoyed. It is safe to say though that there wasn’t a bad or boring tale among the twelve stories I read. Between the quality of the contributors and their stories and the charitable cause the proceeds of this book will go to, I can’t recommend you buying a copy of your own highly enough. Enjoy