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Paperback The Madness of Love Book

ISBN: 0812973283

ISBN13: 9780812973280

The Madness of Love

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Book Overview

With a sophistication and mischievousness remarkable for a first-time novelist, Katharine Davies takes inspiration from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and raises the curtain on the interconnecting lives and loves of an unforgettable cast of characters. By turns comic and moving, The Madness of Love is a deftly woven tale of mistaken identity, bold moves, and unrequited desires. Valentina, a clerk in a London bookstore, is still reeling after her twin...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Beautifully Written

Davies most certaily hails from Shakespeare country. In her attempt to modernize Twelth Night, she has sucessfully wowed this reader with her elegant writing. She goes into great detail examining the nuances that connect all of the characters, where we must pay attention so not to miss a step. The story is broken into different points of view, beginning with Melody's sad recount of her brother's suicide: "he stopped and allowed the wind to sweep away all of his thoughts." Luckily the book continues on a more enjoyable course, especially since the main focus appears to be Valentina, who is most likeable.

Modern Tale of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

Davies is a promising writer. Her debut novel is well written and easy to keep along with. Each "chapter" it set into the point of view of the different characters, making it easy to keep straight on what is going on. I found it a little hard to get into in the beginning, but near the middle of the novel, I found that I couldn't put it down! I would definitely recommend this book to someone who loves love story and "remakes."

Spring is in the air...

Davies's novel begins with a beautiful but haunting image: a young man diving to his death from a bluff while snow begins to fall over the village behind him. It was this first chapter, just one page long, that drew me into the novel. The story that follows involves Gabriel's (the young man's) sister, best friend, and a slew of other provicial characters who make up the coastal town of Illerwick. Told in short chapters that follow each of the main characters in turn, the drama unfolds at a slightly slower pace than Shakespeare's classic--flashbacks establishing character, and lovely passages establishing setting and botanical themes fill the early chapters. These are the kinds of moments that I loved: Fitch's father working in the garden, "his clothes faded like broccoli leaves" (39); the river rising over the garden as "she listened to the rain starting to drum once more over the slates" (33). But eventually the many twists and turns of Shakespeare's original plot take over and the lovely understated language of the earlier chapters is lost. We get lines like, "She had said, 'I thought it was Valentina I wanted. Now I only want you.' And he had told her he wanted her too" (226). Would we remember Shakespeare for lines like that? Ultimately the novel ties itself up in Shakespeare's love-knot: the thwarted lovers united, the sad, drunken teacher receives his comeuppance. But I found myself wishing that Davies had abandoned the Twelfth Night plot to pursue the more realistic themes of love and loss set up early in the novel. The characters she lovingly created seemed forced into awkward, movie-ready endings--the haunting loss of Gabriel all but written off in one paragraph. That said, Davies has written a good read for Spring: the botanical themes and the promise of a happy ending are intoxicating. Read it for those early chapters and you probably won't mind Shakespeare's plot taking over towards the end.

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