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Fair Rosaline

Updated: Aug 31

by Natasha Solomon

Published : 3rd August 2023

Publisher : Manila Press

Format : Kindle, Audio, Paperback, Hardback

Genre : Historical Fiction

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* All words highlighted in Grey are affiliate links to either purchase from a range of sellers or links to the authors sites. Where ever possible I will try and provide different versions of the book on all purchase sites.


The first time Romeo Montague sees young Rosaline Capulet he falls instantly in love.

Rosaline, headstrong and independent, is unsure of Romeo's attentions but with her father determined that she join a convent, this handsome and charming stranger offers her the chance of a different life.

Soon though, Rosaline begins to doubt all that Romeo has told her. She breaks off the match, only for Romeo's gaze to turn towards her cousin, thirteen-year-old Juliet. Gradually Rosaline realises that it is not only Juliet's reputation at stake, but her life.

With only hours remaining before she will be banished behind the nunnery walls, will Rosaline save Juliet from her Romeo? Or can this story only ever end one way?

My Review

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Everyone knows the age-old love story of Romeo and Juliet. The forbidden love that was so fierce and intense ended in tragedy. This love story everyone links to hearts and roses. Love and loss. But what if the story has been blurred over the years, much like a Chinese whisper can migrate into a world all of its own, so too can a story that has been told and retold through many lifetimes, and looked upon with rose-tinted glasses.

This story is told not from Juliet's point of view, even though she is in the story as Rosaline's little cousin, but told from the narrative of Rosaline, a fifteen-year-old girl who never gets a voice in Shakespeare's play but is talked about in lurid ways but the Montague men.

This 'untelling' gives a voice to a young girl who hasn't been wooed by a young suitable courtier, but instead an older man, old enough to grow a beard and be of an age that should not be interested in young girls.

It's clear only a short way in that this story isn't what we assumed. Romeo goes after young girls who are vulnerable, alone and in need of attention. He sweet-talks them, appears in their bedrooms of the night and gives them all the attention they have been lacking elsewhere in their lives.

Throughout the author very cleverly writes Romeo in such a subtle way that his words may seem genuine but at the same time your brain perceives him as a wolf-ish predator, 'Romeo's shadow was long and lean, with talon fingers that combed through Rosaline's hair and clawed down her neck.' How Romeo's actions are written tells us exactly what he is even if the scenario he is in is seemingly romantic to young Rosaline.

At times this story was uncomfortable to read. The further in you go the more Rosaline discovers the depravity of Romeo's urges once she has managed to break herself from his spell. It's soon clear that Romeo is not a love-struck romantic but instead a dangerous groomer, but it isn't until his attentions turn to Rosaline's little cousin Juliet barely thirteen years old that Rosaline discovers the enormity of Romeo and his power.

Amongst all of this is Tybalt. Rosaline's cousin and best friend. He clearly loves her and offers her an escape from the nunnery where she has been commanded to spend the rest of her life by her father. Tybalt was my favourite character and my heart broke for him more than once.

This story completely changed how I think about the so-called romantic love story of Romeo and Juliet. It's the only play written in which Shakespeare mentions a child's age on numerous occasions. It's as if he was trying to tell us all along about the depravity of Romeo without pointing it out literally. I no longer associate love with the story of Romeo and Juliet. But a love story of Rosaline and Tybalt I would love to read โค๏ธ

This story is a fierce feminist retelling, giving a voice to a young girl we only heard of through the loose lurid talking of the men in the play. If it wasn't for Rosaline being snared in Romeo's trap he would never have met Juliet...

โœจ Thank you @randomthingstours for this blogspot and @ManillaPress for my gorgeous copy, oh and @NatashaSolomon for re writing the perfect lovestory and opening our eyes.

๐™Œ| What is a great Love story that comes to mind for you?




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I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?


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