historical · lgbtqia content · re-telling

REVIEW: Mercutio by J.I. Davenport

The Official Description: Return to the sensuous world of Romeo and Juliet to discover the story of Mercutio, Verona’s most flamboyant citizen!

Prancing on the sidelines of the bitter feud between the Houses of Montecchi and Capuleti, Mercutio harbours his own secret conflict: he is hopelessly in love with his best friend, Romeo Montecchi. When he spies true love blossoming between Romeo and a young Capuleti girl one fateful summer’s eve, Mercutio fears he has finally lost the man he loves, forever.

Turning to drink, drugs and ever wilder escapades in an effort to ease his aching heart, Mercutio starts to come off the rails, hurtling towards his own spectacular fate …

Mercutio takes centre stage in this gorgeous and witty re-imagining of the greatest love story ever told.

Just the facts: Re-telling of Romeo & Juliet from Mercutio’s perspective. LGBTQ character. Historical fiction.

Davenport has brought a fresh new perspective to a tragic love story. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit:  I should probably admit, upfront, to my love of Shakespeare. I studied the plays in College, and I’ve spent many wonderful hours at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in England soaking up whatever I could. I was a bit worried when I sat down to read this… because my fear with retellings is always that they won’t live up to the feel and quality of the original. This story was wonderful!

This is the story of Romeo and Juliet told from the perspective of Mercutio. The timeline of events is basically the same, but the reader stays with Mercutio. Mercutio is a lovely character. outwardly, he’s joyful and free. He’s the joker, the light-hearted romancer. Inwardly, Mercutio is struggling with an unrequited love that, at times, he doesn’t even seem to really understand. Mercutio is in love with Romeo. They grew up together, and ever since they were young, Mercutio has harbored a fierce love for his best friend. It hasn’t changed as they become adults.

As Romeo moves on and falls in love… Mercutio tries to bury his feelings. He enters a carnival-like world of drugs, alcohol, dreams that seem real, reality that he can’t accept. All the time he seems to try and have a smile on his face. I’m simplifying this… there’s something very heavy and lyrical about the prose in this book. I was caught up in Mercutio’s mind. He feels things intensely even at the same time as he appears lost in his thought and emotions. The author has captured this character wonderfully and really gives one the idea of what turmoil was going on within Mercutio.

This is a lovely book… it’s emotional, tragic and touching.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Suicide, suicidal ideation, sword fights, death of supporting character, death of major characters.

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.

Links: Goodreads // The Author //

I received an ARC of Mercutio by J.I. Davenport via  BProud PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Contact: contact@bproudpr.com

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