Sweet Nothing Paperback – September 19, 2015
Inspire a love of reading with Amazon Book Box for Kids
Discover delightful children's books with Amazon Book Box, a subscription that delivers new books every 1, 2, or 3 months — new Amazon Book Box Prime customers receive 15% off your first box. Sign up now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"I adored these couples, even when I sorely wanted to slap some people upside the head – believe me, they would have deserved it. But in the end this is a sweet, funny, sad at times retelling of Shakespeare’s tale." (Keeper Bookshelf)
About the Author
- Publisher : Choc Lit (September 19, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1781892415
- ISBN-13 : 978-1781892411
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 1 x 7.7 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,828,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I really enjoyed the story, it was paced such that something interesting happened in every half-hour reading session (reading before bed) so I always looked forward to the next time I picked up the reading-device.
On the strength of this I also read another of Mays Choclit books which was also a quick and enjoyable read.
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*
Top reviews from other countries
I adore Much Ado, and I was really intrigued when I picked up this novel to see which direction Alison May would take with the story. The characters of Ben and Trix were fabulously drawn, and I really connected with the two of them throughout. There are subtleties in their presentation that allude to the themes of Shakeseare's original, and often twist them slightly to fit an updated context. Ben's flashback to the tree incident is one such moment that will have fans of the play smiling in recognition. The rather more passive Henri was frustrating at times, but then Hero in the original play evokes exactly the same response, so I knew this was bound to be intentional. In fact, Henri's layers, once revealed by Alison May, mean the character makes perfect sense. The two women could not be more different, and their contrasts play beautifully off one another. Claudio is also a well rounded and believable character, and the two couples have contrasting, but convincing story arcs. I really enjoyed the POV switches between chapters, as all four characters had very distinct voices. Furthermore, the supporting characters of John and Danny are also brilliant additions, and provide an original spin on the Shakespearean voices.
As a graduate of York University, I loved the setting of this novel, too. It's a worthy place to set a retelling/reinterpretation of Much Ado, and I loved reading about the landmarks I knew so well - at times, the city becomes a character in itself, much as Kenneth Branagh brings Italy to life in his screen adaptation of the play. I could see the city, hear it and feel it! All in all, this is a great book to lose yourself in, and I'd highly recommend it, whether you know the Shakespeare play or not.
I am convinced I never noticed the bit about this being a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, when I originally bought this book. It is not one of Shakespeare's plays that I know anything about, and I can't work out whether this put me at an advantage or disadvantage as I started this book.
At least I had no pre-conceptions as to the story, and was happy to go with the flow. We have best friends Trix and Henri, who work and live together. We also have brothers of Italian descent Ben and Claudio.
Henri and Claudio had one date a year ago and then Claudio spent the year in Italy, and they emailed each other daily. She is very excited about seeing him again. Trix though doesn't really appear to get on with Ben, and it turns out he broke her heart when they were at uni.
The story is split into the various points of view, of the girls and the boys, and we also jump back and forth in their timeline, to up to twenty years previous, to get insights into Trix and Ben's previous relationship, and all of their childhoods. We discover something upsetting that has clearly had a long term affect on Henri and definitely explains some of her personality traits.
I enjoyed the way Alison May crafted the story, and you really got a feel for the four main characters distinctive personalities, and seeing Ben's thoughts were as awkward as seeing him in conversation. He is a maths geek, and just slightly socially awkward. Henri is a people pleaser, Claudio is I would say manipulative towards woman, but charming with it, and Trix seems like a regular girl.
This is a cleverly interwoven tale of the protaganists, as we see if they will or won't get together. It is well paced, although I felt the book finished a bit abruptly. I would have loved more of a feeling of knowing the overall outcomes.
Overall it was an enjoyable story and one that has made me very curious about Alison's Christmas books, as I think I would love them even more.
If you know the story of Much Ado About Nothing - then you (more or less) know the story of Sweet Nothing.
It is the story of two couples, Ben & Trix and Claudio & Henri. The background characters have a great deal of influence and indeed change the whole direction of the plot. I like Alison's version because she is so good with emotions. I felt I really got to know Ben & Trix - and Henri in shock was described perfectly!
An excellent read and I do hope we will get another Shakespearean treat from Alison!
Other reviewers have mentioned it being a take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, not having read this particular piece of Shakespeare I had no idea what they were talking about and to my mind it is a great stand-alone novel.
I am not sure which big city it was set in, I presume it wasn't London as travel seems to be reasonably easy, public transport and by car, so I’ve imagined a middle sized English market town.
Each chapter is written in first person of a particular character which leant a certain charm to the book as you understand each person’s particular perspective, even going back a decade, weeks or months made it an interesting read in how the characters have developed in to adulthood.
There are some very humorous moments in this story, particularly Ben and Trix's brush with the law. The characters are well drawn, both of them plunging awkwardly on through life.
Although light hearted romance is not my favourite reading genre I enjoyed this story - Alison May has a deft touch and a good sense of humour.