Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Lady Macbeth's Daughter" by Lisa Klein

I read Lisa Klein's young adult novel Ophelia a year or two ago, and liked it quite a lot, so when I spotted her Lady Macbeth's Daughter at the library, I figured I'd give it a try.

I'm so glad I did!  I liked this even better.  Which I didn't expect, since I love Hamlet and very much dislike Macbeth.  But maybe that's why I liked this better -- both books change the story and characters a little from what's told in Shakespeare's plays, and since I'm terribly attached to a lot of characters in Hamlet, I was a little miffed by how a couple of them turned out in Klein's book.  But here, I have no such attachments, so I was perfectly fine with what she did.

And what she did is create a brand new character, Albia, the daughter of Macbeth and his lady, who gets named Grelach here.  Albia is abandoned as a baby because of a birth defect, and raised by none other than the Wyrd Sisters, who are less witches and more Celtic Wiccans, or at least that's how they felt to me.  There's a lot of stuff about pagan beliefs and practices here, mostly of the lore-telling and herb-drying variety, but still, just warning you.

Anyway, Albia ends up getting embroiled in the fight to unseat her father from Scotland's throne, and she picks up a tentative love interest along the way, though romance is far from the central theme here.  It's got some exciting swordplay and such, but also a lot of pondering on what family and duty mean.  I found it insightful and thought-provoking, and I like it a hundred percent better than Macbeth.

If this was a movie, I would rate it:  PG-13 for violence, war-related imagery, and magic stuff.

11 comments:

  1. I should have a burning desire to read not only this, but Macbeth itself. After all, that is my maiden name! (Yes, I always loved that name and its claim to fame---giving it up at marriage was a bit of a hardship.)

    Have a great day,
    Patti

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    1. How cool! This author did a good bit of research into the real story of Macbeth, as much as can be untangled from myth and fiction anymore, which was quite nifty.

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  2. Very much dislike Macbeth?? Shocking! ;)

    Sounds like an interesting book though.

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    1. Oh yes, I am a complete heretic! I dislike Macbeth and A Winter's Tale. Not a big fan of Romeo and Juliet or King Lear. I can take or leave The Tempest and Two Gentlemen of Verona. And I haven't read all of Shakespeare's plays OR all his sonnets!

      But I kind of hope I'm only a third of the way through my life, give or take, so I need to save a few things to savor down through the years.

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    2. I should add that I (obviously) adore Hamlet, love Much Ado About Nothing,and am exceedingly fond of The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night. I also dig Othello and Richard III, and I liked Henry IV: Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V a lot.

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  3. How do you feel about As You Like It? That's my favorite! And I haven't really seen any young adult interpretations of Shakespeare before, so thanks for reviewing this! I'll have to check it out.

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    1. I have neither read or seen "As You Like It," so I'm afraid I have no opinion on it one way or the other.

      This one and Klein's "Ophelia" are both worth reading!

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  4. The other day it was announced that there's going to be a movie adaptation of Klein's 'Ophelia' novel with Daisy Ridley as Ophelia and Naomi Watts as Gertrude! I was already very excited about it and the fact that you enjoyed that book has made me even more so! :D

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    1. Whoa, really? Sweet! That could be very cool. Thanks for the heads-up :-)

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    2. How closely would you say it sticks to the overall plot and characters of 'Hamlet?' I'd appreciate having an idea of what to expect from it although I'm guessing that it's not exactly some wildly revisionist take on the original considering that you enjoying it :D

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    3. Um, fairly? It involves a secret marriage that's not in Shakespeare's play, and Ophelia's story ends differently -- think Romeo and Juliet in a way.

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