Fair Rosaline is a unique twist on the classic Shakespearean tale

Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons. Image Courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark.
Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons. Image Courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark. /

Romeo & Juliet is a classic story from Shakespeare yet Fair Rosaline was Romeo’s first yet we know nothing about her.

Whether it’s because everyone wants to focus on the titular “romance” or that she didn’t play a major role, Rosaline never seems to get talked about. Thankfully, Natasha Solomons is changing the conversation.

Fair Rosaline is a look at the before in Romeo & Juliet’s story while also giving us some much-needed backstory for Rosaline. Regardless if you’re a fan of the source material or just want a feminist update, this untelling is a new chapter.

I’d like to thank Sourcebooks Landmark for sending me an early copy to read before release as I finished it in two sittings and have a lot of thoughts.

Fair Rosaline puts the forgotten in the forefront and changes the tale.

I’m sure most of us had to read Romeo & Juliet at some point and never thought twice about Rosaline. The romance and forbiddenness of it all captivated us yet no one thought about Rosaline and Natasha Solomons is changing that.

The story begins with Rosaline as she’s reeling due to the loss of her mother. We find out quickly that her mother’s last wish was for Rosaline to go to a nunnery like her aunts. However before she can go, she meets Romeo and the two embark on a whirlwind romance that goes sour before he moves on to someone else as we all know.

While the pacing at the beginning of the book was a bit slow, the story surprised me with how depth Solomons gave Rosaline. She was more than just a fixture in someone else’s story and it worked. I especially loved how everything worked out in the end as it felt like that was the only way the story could have played out.

I think if you’re looking for a more feminist-focused Shakespearean reimagining, Fair Rosaline is a great one. Ultimately, I had trouble getting into the story yet I can see why others would enjoy this one. Plus let’s be honest: I’m a romance reader and I would have loved more but that wasn’t the point of the story.

Either way, Fair Rosaline did an amazing job as an “untelling” and hopefully, this book starts a trend with forgotten characters getting a chance to “tell” their story. I’d love to see another take on The Taming of the Shrew. If you’re looking for a unique and feminist fall read, I highly recommend trying out Fair Rosaline.

Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons is out now where books are sold. 

Will you be picking up this “untelling” from Natasha Solomons? Let us know in the comments!

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