Sweet Nothing by Alison May
(21st Century Bard #1)
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Modern Retelling.
Publisher: ChocLit UK
Re-release Date: June 2015.
Is something always better than nothing?
Ben Messina is a certified maths genius and romance sceptic. He and Trix met at university and have been quarreling and quibbling ever since, not least because of Ben’s decision to abandon their relationship in favour of … more maths! Can Trix forget past hurt and help Ben see a life beyond numbers, or is their long history in danger of ending in nothing?
Charming and sensitive, Claudio Messina, is as different from his brother as it is possible to be and Trix’s best friend, Henrietta, cannot believe her luck when the Italian model of her dreams chooses her. But will Claudio and Henrietta’s pursuit for perfection end in a disaster that will see both of them starting from zero once again?
This is a fresh and funny retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, set in the present day.
Book Review ~ ‘Sweet Nothing’ by Alison May ~ 5 Stars!
A modern-retelling of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, with a geeky Benedict? Yes, please!
I loved Alison May’s retelling of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and was excited to see how she approached this other well-known Shakespeare comedy. Needless to say, she nailed it.
My favourite aspect of the original play was seeing how Benedict and Beatrice’s relationship played out. Alison May went the extra mile with these characters. With flashbacks we see the start of Ben and Trix’s relationship years before when they were at University, and how Ben’s choices then affected everything between them in the present day. Trix was a definite favourite character of mine. Her constant back-and-forth banter with Ben, and their mutual hate-turned-love was one of the most thrilling relationships to witness. I laughed out loud and cheered as they continued to be the same argumentative, passionate people I’d rooted for from the beginning, whilst they still grew as individuals and as a couple. With the addition of Ben’s abysmal social skills, their scenes together made my heart feel lighter as we see see just how imperfectly perfect they are together.
But it was the other couple of this story that surprised me with how they made my heart race! Claudio and Henrietta were the sweet, perfect couple who everyone thought were made for each other. Whilst this would normally be the relationship less focused on, Alison May brilliantly developed their story together, and I really connected to their struggle in a way that I didn’t in the original play. Seeing Henrietta’s thoughts, and witnessing her gradual mental decline was utterly heartbreaking and I teared up as I saw just how much she struggled, believing as she did with her mother’s death, that Claudio’s abandonment of her at the altar, must be her own fault. It was beautifully written, and I was swept away in the sheer emotion of Henrietta’s ordeal.
This was a wonderfully written retelling of the much-loved Shakespeare play, with a brilliant host of secondary characters that you will recognise from the original story, but grow to love in a very different, yet just as exciting way.
*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*