We would like to thank author Ingela Bohm for donating an ebook copy of Rival Poet, to 1 lucky commentator who gets chosen. Make sure to leave a comment below to get a free ebook copy of Rival Poet.
Rival Poet by Ingela Bohm
(100 815 words)
Cover artist: Ingela Bohm
1587. A young Will Shaksper arrives in London, hoping to publish his poems. But rejection hits him hard, and he wants to give up – until he meets Kit. Dazzled and drawn in, Will is shocked to find their friendship escalate into something else – something dark and dangerous in a country where sodomy is a capital offence. When Kit finally tries to seduce him, will he be able to resist?
Giles West’s review of : Rival Poet By Ingela Bohm
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Rival Poet by Ingela Bohm is a bit difficult to review. It’s at once strange, unfamiliar, and slightly jarring throughout. But, it’s also fascinating, thought provoking and impossible to put down. My biggest problem, I must admit, is that I’m not overly familiar with the time period in question or the main characters—Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Like a lot of people I have read Shakespeare and seen several productions of his plays, including one in Stratford Upon Avon, but this is different. Upon starting this novel, I realized how little I actually know of the man himself. The notes by author Ingela Bohm helped put me at ease, though: “Characters and places are used fictitiously”. At that point I decided to enjoy the book as a work of fiction.
The take on William Shakespeare and his friends is certainly original and compelling. When I first heard Shakespeare referred to as Willie, it sounded suspiciously modern as did the different spelling of the last name in the beginning of the story. With a little research I discovered that the nickname Willie was indeed in use at the time and the spelling of the last name is explained well in the novel. Shakespeare’s friendships and relationships with people, including old school chums, made the bard seem real and relatable. Who hasn’t had to deal with a Dick Fields in his or her life? Read the book—you’ll find out what I’m talking about.
Details regarding both setting and clothing add a great deal to the novel. There are times I felt I could smell the streets of Elizabethan London and the waters of the Thames as well as one nastily waste-filled (but accurately described) moat. Supporting characters are also very well written. One other word came across as jarring to me in it’s modernity and that was the word “okay”. In my research I didn’t find definitive answers to the origin of the word, but most sources suggest it’s American or Native American in origin. It’s also more modern in usage—1840's and didn’t mean the same thing it does today. Not being a scholar of the period, I can’t say for absolute certainty that the word wasn’t used in Shakespeare’s day, so I’m not sure what to say. Is it jarring? Yes, it is. Does it ruin the story? No, but even if it turns out to be accurate for the period, I think another word may have sounded better. Since I’m not sure about the accuracy or inaccuracy of the word, I won’t take it into account in my final rating.
I love the colors used in the cover art. They glow and seem warm and alive. The man’s face is at least partially hidden in shadow which is good, but I still think too much is seen. He’s a handsome model and I could definitely picture him in the time period, but which character does he portray? As a reader I like to picture the character’s my own way, without being prejudiced by a face on the cover. But that’s just my opinion and there are those who like to see the characters completely fleshed out on covers. On a whole the cover does work. The warm colors do the job of making the book stand out and draw you in. And the model also has a look to him which makes you want to know more as well. Even the title’s script invokes the period and story, that’s a very nice touch.
This novel introduced me to a world and time I want to learn more about. It reminded me of the joys I felt reading Shakespeare’s work when I was a child. I haven’t revisited those works in quite some time, but reading Rival Poet makes me feel like doing just that and more. There’s more I want to know about not just Shakespeare, but also his contemporaries. Once I’ve done that research I want to revisit this novel, as I’m sure the experience of the read will be greatly enhanced by knowing more about the times and people. When a book inspires you to learn more about a time and place, that can only be seen as a good thing. Those things and the fact that it is a finely written book by a good and talented author went into consideration in my final score.
Author Bio and Contact
Ingela Bohm is a sucker for music and words, and whenever the two go together, she’s on board for the long haul. Every story she tries her hand at turns into a love story at some point, but that’s just her sentimental nature making itself known. She occasionally pretends to be a human being (as long as there are no dogs present), and she spends an obscene amount of time in front of really well-made TV series, trying to riddle out how the hell the bastards do it. Her current projects include a dystopian vampire novel, a twisted, darker tale about online courting gone haywire, and an angsty thing between a dietitian and his patient.
To get a chance to win an ebook copy of Rival Poet, leave a comment below and don't forget to leave your contact email address.
We will randomly pick 1 lucky commentator and Ingela Bohm will email them their ebook version of choice.
To claim prize, we will be sending an email to the address provided by the lucky commentators. Don't forget to tell us what format you prefer.
Game ends June 1.