Title: Speak Easy, Speak Love
Author: McKelle George
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I'm currently reading It, per my best friend's recommendation, and I decided to have a backup book to read at night so I wouldn't have nightmares. Speak Easy, Speak Love was the first backup book in what I'm sure is to be a series. It had a hold on it and I wanted to finish it before it went back to the library. The cover was what drew my eye in the first place, and I was even more intrigued by its contents: a young adult retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, set in the Roaring '20s? To say that I was on board with this is a huge understatement. Speak Easy, Speak Love has made McKelle George one of my new favorite authors, and it's one of my favorite books of 2017!
Beatrice Clark is a strong, independent young woman, down on her luck, who is forced to depend on long-lost relatives' generosity to decide what to do about her future. When she arrives at her uncle Leo's lavish estate, named Hey Nonny Nonny, she is soon drawn into a glittering world full of illegal alcohol, glittering parties, and secret alliances, loves, and friendships. When she meets the infuriating yet intriguing Benedick Scott, she finds that they have a particular chemistry that may, in fact, be something more than attraction. But she may have to dodge bullets, stitch up a few people, and piece her family back together in order to explore those feelings.
I really, really liked this book! First of all, I love Shakespeare retellings, and The Roaring 20s is one of my favorite eras of history, so the mashup of both was one of my favorite aspects of the novel. The prose was electric and had me often swooning or laughing. The setting of lush, gorgeous Hey Nonny Nonny stole my imagination and took my breath away. But what really made me love this book were its characters, all well-written and three dimensional, so much so that they felt like friends almost at once. George paints a beautiful scene, populated with characters that I really grew to love and root for. Independent, fierce Beatrice, worldly and sophisticated Hero, jaded, prickly Benedick, and Maggie, the African-American jazz singer are especially standouts. And I cried so hard, especially at that ending! It killed me! This book has become one of my favorites of 2017. I can't wait for more from McKelle George! The bottom line: A historical twist on a classic Shakespeare play, Speak Easy, Speak Love is one of my favorite novels of the fall! What a lovely, emotional romance!