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Ophelia by Lisa Klein

Ophelia (2006)

by Lisa Klein

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7242912,977 (3.59)29
  1. 10
    Shylock's Daughter by Mirjam Pressler (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both are alternate versions of Shakespeare.

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Ophelia by Lisa Klein is a YA retelling of Hamlet and is told in the voice of Ophelia. The original storyline has been changed in order to accommodate this plot, so in this version Ophelia doesn’t go insane nor does she die but instead fakes her death and leaves Denmark for the refuge of a convent in France.

Ophelia takes us through her life from her early childhood as a tomboy to her days in Elsinore Castle as an attendant to Queen Gertrude and she describes how her childhood friendship becomes an attraction turning into eventual love for Prince Hamlet. In this book they marry in secret, but his madness, brought on by the death of his father, ends their relationship and Hamlet turns his back on Ophelia, directly her to take herself off to a nunnery. Luckily Horatio, who cares very deeply for Ophelia, helps her escape Denmark when she is both in danger from the king and finds she is going to have Hamlet’s child. She has the child in secret, and realizes that it was Horatio who was the better man all the time.

An interesting story but unfortunately the author succumbed to one of my pet peeves in historical fiction, that of giving her lead female character modern sensibilities which made the story feel very false to me. Many of the characters were poorly defined, perhaps the worst one was Hamlet who came across very one dimensional. Ultimately this effort fell short of the mark, and as much as I realize that I am not the target audience for this book, putting a happy ending on a story that was meant to be a tragedy just felt wrong. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Sep 27, 2017 |
An interpretation of Hamlet, with the focus on Ophelia’s point of view. Ophelia falls in love with Hamlet, losing her virginity with him. But when Hamlet’s father is murdered and his mother marries Claudius, a madness bent on revenge takes over Hamlet. Ophelia suspects she may be pregnant and the danger she is now in if Claudius finds out there is an heir and a threat to his throne and power. She escapes to a nunnery and lives there in relative safety and obscurity although she hides her past from the nuns. She is accepted as a healer and physician even after she reveals the baby is Hamlet’s. Horatio appears at book’s end searching for Ophelia to whom he has been loyal and protective all this time.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I liked the first portion of this book, but about 3/4 of the way through the plot lost its momentum, and I found myself impatient to just get it over with. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
I liked the first portion of this book, but about 3/4 of the way through the plot lost its momentum, and I found myself impatient to just get it over with. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Hamlet is my favorite work of Shakespeare & I always found Ophelia fascinating & wanted to know more about her. That's why this story caught my eye. In short, this did not fulfill my longing. I literally arrived at the end & realized that for all that Ophelia told me, I felt absolutely nothing & no connection to her. I had not expected that & I find that I'm disappointed to be left so blank. That I felt more for Ophelia in the little we get of her, by comparison, in the original than I do here where she speaks from start to finish is jarring. I found that the writing was just fine but there was no passion to the story. Some of the other portrayals seemed a bit off from the original but I was able to allow those & not let them hold me back in enjoyment. Possibly my expectations were too high. I came in wanting to know who Ophelia was & I finished in the same place so I've neither lost nor gained. ( )
  anissaannalise | Jan 1, 2014 |
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To my parents, Jerry and Mary Klein
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My lady: I pray this letter finds you in a place of safety.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In a story based on Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia tells of her life in the court at Elsinore, her love for Prince Hamlet, and her escape from the violence in Denmark.

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