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by Lisa Klein

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59990-347-7
Publisher: Bloomsbury

As she did with Ophelia (2006), Klein turns a Shakespeare play on its head with a combination of feisty female lead and careful historical research. Inspired by the fact that Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth references nursing, the author creates cast-off daughter Albia, loved by the lady but scorned by Macbeth and raised in secret by three sisters—yes, those three. The novel is permeated with the question of responsibility: Is it the Weird Sisters, whose words spur Macbeth’s crimes? Macbeth himself? Lady Macbeth? And what is Albia’s responsibility, to herself and to Scotland, given her ancestry and power? Lady Macbeth narrates some of the tale, and while this moves the action, she is a murky character. She goads Macbeth but regrets his actions, mourns her daughter while neglecting her son (by a previous husband); indeed, she is as confused and confusing as the original. Fortunately Albia’s engaging voice and struggles with her burgeoning psychic powers and with the truth of her parentage—plus her growing love for Fleance—make for a fast read with literary overtones. (Historical fantasy. 12 & up)