Monday, 7 December 2015

Review: Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato

Beatrice and Benedick
by Marina Fiorato
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 8th, 2015
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Hidden in the language of Shakespeare's best-loved comedy Much Ado About Nothing are several clues to an intriguing tale. It seems that the witty lovers Beatrice and Benedick had a previous love affair that ended bitterly. But how did they meet? Why did they part? And what brought them together again?

When nineteen-year-old Beatrice is brought to live at her uncle's court in Sicily to be a companion to his daughter, she first meets Benedick, a young soldier who is there with a Spanish lord on a month-long sojourn. As they begin to wage their war of wit, their words mask their deep love for one another. But the pair are cruelly parted by misunderstanding and slander. Heartbroken, Benedick sails to England on the ill-fated Spanish Armada. Beatrice returns to her home in the North and an unwanted betrothal. While Benedick must fight for his life on board ship, Beatrice fights for her freedom from an arranged marriage.

From the point of view of Beatrice and Benedick we hear the lovers tell their own story, taking us from the sunlit southern courts of Sicily, to the crippled Armada on the frozen northern seas, to the gorgeous Renaissance cities of the north.

From Marina Fiorato, author of the acclaimed historical novel The Glassblower of Murano, comes a beautifully imagined Beatrice and Benedick.

Everyone remembers how it ended, but how did it begin for Beatrice and Benedick? Nineteen year old Beatrice is asked to live at court with her Uncle in Siciliy. There she is asked to be his daughter's companion, and that is when she meets a handsome young soldier - Benedick. Following in the footsteps of Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, the two begin to bicker and a battle of wits leads to misunderstandings and heartbreak. 

"I did not want to open my eyes. Not yet."

Beatrice and Benedick was beautifully written! It was a pleasant experience learning more about this duo from Shakespeare's infamous Much Ado About Nothing, a play that I regrettably haven't read in years, and was an absolute breath of fresh air. Although their appearance was brief, I was pleased to learn that Marina Fiorato would be expanding their love story further. Despite never having read anything by her before Beatrice and Benedick, I was anxious to see how she would spin their tale.

"The next morning, as the sun began to peep over the sea, I was already in the Roman courtyard, waiting for Claudio."

I was not disappointed! Beatrice and Benedick became two characters in which I easily succumbed. The intense emotion, realism, love affairs, disasters, and betrayals that take place in Beatrice and Benedick are certain to win over any Shakespearean or historical fiction reader. It was a glorious retelling that was powerful, vivid, and emotionally captivating. I most definitely look forward to reading more from Marina Fiorato, and certainly hope others are inspired to pick up this pleasantly addictive read.

Readers of historical fiction who are in need of a timeless romantic tale are highly recommended Beatrice and Benedick.

4 / 5 Cupcakes

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accepted in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


  1. I've never read Much Ado but you sold me with the Pride and Prejudice reference. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I've read her other books like The Glassblower and The Madonna, but nothing like this.
    Great review

  3. I simply adore Pride and Prejudice!
    It's a timeless classic and I always find myself reading it every now and then just to enjoy how they eventually fell in love. Thank you for the excellent recommendation Wendy.

  4. Katherine Pinacho7 December 2015 at 11:25

    Great review!

  5. First time hearing about this book
    Looks great

  6. I can't wait to pick this up
    Great review