Susanna Shakespeare finds the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon much too quiet and provincial. She yearns to travel to London to see her father's world of players and poets, and to follow a secret dream of her own. Once Susanna arrives in London, nothing is quite as she expected it to be -- least of all her relationship with her famous father. But propelled by her love for Thomas Cole, a Catholic chorister, and her desire to sing, Susanna discovers that it is only with the support of those who love her that she has the strength to succeed.
Screenwriter Peter W. Hassinger creates a Shakespearean tale rife with imagery and beauty that pays homage to the Bard himself.
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Peter W. Hassinger works as a screenwriter in Brooklyn, New York. Shakespeare's Daughter is his second novel for young adults. He is also the author of The Book of Alfar: A Tale of the Hudson Highlands.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-9-Susanna Shakespeare has problems. The 14-year-old singer can never join a choir in England because she's a girl. Stuck in Stratford with her prim mother and younger twin siblings, she misses her father. A rising playwright, he hardly ever comes home from London. Motivated by the sudden death of her brother Hamnet, Susanna runs away, planning to join her father in the city. However, she takes the wrong road and narrowly escapes rape. Anyone who took "Shakespeare 101" will immediately recognize Susanna's rescuer, Emilia, a pistol-packing dark lady in a carriage, as the object of a famous sonnet sequence. This Dark Lady eventually sees that Susanna is delivered to her father's doorstep in London, but not before revealing that she and Will Shakespeare were once lovers. Meanwhile, handsome Thomas Cole, a brilliant singer, successful chorister, and dangerously secret Catholic, keeps turning up to exchange burning glances and increasingly passionate kisses with Susanna. Can Susanna find friendship with Emilia yet remain loyal to her mother? Can she have it all: a singing career and a devoted husband? Can Thomas escape the clutches of the Queen's secret agent? In spite of his too obvious research into early music and Shakespeare's life and times, Hassinger has created people who speak and behave like characters in a modern soap opera. Implausible plotting and clichéd writing further weaken the story. Stick with Susan Cooper's King of Shadows (McElderry, 1999), which brings emotional truth and historical veracity to a story set in Elizabethan time.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
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