From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–Before Romeo fell in love with Juliet, he was enamored of Rosaline, Juliet's 16-year-old cousin, who vowed never to marry. Then his cousin Benvolio rescues her from being trampled in a Capulet-Montague rumble. Rosaline and Benvolio–both skeptical of love–fall for one another. The Capulets and Montagues continue to have at it, and Romeo, Juliet, and most of their cousins end up dead. For Rosaline and Benvolio, though, it's the beginning. Fielder retells the story in fast-paced prose true to the play, without leaving out a single barb, kiss, or duel. As such, this novel is extremely useful for students struggling with a first reading of Shakespeare's work. The author re-creates period language with some success, though her cutesy, anachronistic winks–Juliet and Rosaline call each other Roz and Jules–are irritating. While her 16th-century phrasings and semantics seem more flowery than poetic, she illuminates the emotional lives of the characters in a way that poetry may not, especially for younger readers. The mood here is lighter and mercifully less romantic than in the tragic play, as Rosaline and Benvolio fall in deeper, more realistic love than Romeo and Juliet ever did. Though a little wordy for reluctant readers, this novel is an entertaining primer to Shakespeare.–Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Well, not exactly his ex. True, Rosaline, an apprentice healer and Juliet's cousin, was the briefly object of Romeo's desire, but Rosaline, having seen up close what can happen to the fair sex when a woman gives all for love, has decided to stay chaste. Then she thinks handsome Mercutio has saved her, and almost changes her mind. But Mercutio isn't who she thinks he is--literally. Another Montague, Benvolio, has really rescued her. By then, Romeo is off to Juliet. Fiedler, who reimagined another Shakespearean story in Dating Hamlet: Ophelia's Story
(2002), will find a ready audience for this, especially among high-school students who often read this play. With Romeo and Juliet mostly off stage, this story is firmly Rosaline's. Fiedler uses the outline of Romeo and Juliet and then liberally embellishes the story with new characters and new situations. This briskly told tale features a determined heroine, yet one who is not afraid to give her heart when the time is right. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved