SWAN TOWN by Michael J. Ortiz

SWAN TOWN

The Secret Journal of Susanna Shakespeare
Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A promising first novel falls utterly to pieces about halfway through. Apparently Shakespeare’s daughters are irresistible subjects for fiction: This one is the diary of Susanna, the Bard’s eldest. She is a lively and quick-witted girl, who loves her family deeply and appreciates the bond that keeps her parents close even though her father lives mostly in London, plying his trade. From March to December 1597, Susanna writes in her journal, composes a satirical play about parrots, mourns the loss of her little brother Hamnet and her grandfather, goes to London to see her dad perform in one of his own plays and commits herself to the old faith, Catholicism, which is under interdict. When Susanna tricks one of the comedians into playing her satire just before her father’s latest, the mob nearly attacks her for treason—but they are lightly turned away by the Puritan John Hall, who already is sweet on her. Her mother is arrested, and then freed, for harboring a Catholic, and her uncle lost. It all dissolves into melodrama and bathos. Too bad, as the language and characterizations are vivid and rich. (author’s notes) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-058126-3
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2006