The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes

Title:  The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet
Author:  Myrlin A. Hermes
Release date:  Januaryt 26, 2010
Publisher:  Harper Perennial
Pages:  384
Genre:  Adult fiction
Source:  Publisher, TLC Book Tours

In this “prequel” to Shakespere’s Hamlet, poetry student Horatio develops a crush on the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet.  At the same time, he is asked to translate a play by Baron de Maricourt and his wife, Lady Adriane.  While he spends as much time as possible getting to know (and falling in love with) Hamlet, he simultaneously becomes involved with Lady Adriane.  Soon a new student by the name of Will Shake-spear begins to come between Horatio and his lovers – also getting romantically involved with both Hamlet and Adriane.  Horatio becomes obsessed with keeping both of his lovers for himself and getting this Shake-spear character out of their lives.

Let me begin this review as honestly as possible:  I truly did not enjoy this book.  There were several factors that contributed to my dislike, so I’m just going to explain as best as possible why I felt the way I did about the novel.

I’ll start by saying that the relationships in the book didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I actually liked reading about the blossoming love between Horatio and Hamlet; it started out very sweet and although the writing about their coupling was rather explicit that didn’t bother me at all.  What did bother me was all of the (in my opinion) unnecessary sex.  I didn’t understand why Horatio and Adriane got together, so reading about their romance wasn’t fun for me, and when Shake-spear was introduced I just felt like everyone was having sex with everyone else and it took all the fun out of the romance aspect for me.  I’m no prude, but there was just too much sex for me, and for no good reason.

Also, I would have been better off having read this novel with more knowledge of Shakespeare than I had.  There were just SO many references to his plays and I think 90% of them went right over my head.  Which is definitely more my fault than the author’s, but still – it hampered my enjoyment of the novel.  The third problem I had with the book, and this is probably a result of my first two issues with it, is that I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters or what happened to them.  I need to have some semblance of feeling towards the characters in a book to really enjoy it and in this case I just felt nothing for them.  Again, my connection to a book (or lack thereof) is not necessarily the fault of the book itself, but in this case it really meant the book just did not work for me.

So much of what I did not like about The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet is related to my own personality, so I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading the book.  It has gotten great reviews on Amazon so please don’t trust just my opinion.  If you are a Shakespeare fan, try it out for yourself!  And let me know what you think.


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17 thoughts on “The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes

  1. Our reviews of this book are almost identical! I felt the same exact way that you did, so it’s not just you. The sex didn’t bother me either, but the entire character of Lady Adriane did. Her motivations are never explained and it was just so frustrating.

    1. Yeah I noticed that with your review! Reading your thoughts made me feel better about what I felt was a severely negative review… I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt this way about the book! thanks. 🙂

  2. I am sad you didn’t love this as the premise really sounds so interesting! It’s even MORE disappointing when a book with a good premise fails.

  3. Thank you….is it wrong for me to tell you that if I saw you in person I would hug and kiss you???? I thought I was all alone in not understanding the references and the relationships!!! I’m reading this one right now….reading actually isn’t the right word….forcing my eyes to continue on to one more page is more like it!! My tour stop is next week and I’m trying to figure out what to say!!

    1. Awww I will hug and kiss you too Staci! 😉 I’m definitely looking forward to your review, if only to provide some validation for myself in my thinking about the book. It definitely didn’t work for me, sorry it didn’t work for you either! Good luck with your review.

  4. The premise for this novel sounds interesting but confused. I’m drawn to a certain kind of historical novel that combines literary and historical figures — but it better be done well. An example of a successful book of this type is A.S. Byatt’s Possession or Frances Sherwood’s Vindication (about Mary Wollstonecraft). I haven’t read the book under review, but it sounds like the writer was alluding to a love triangle that probably really existed: that between William Shakespeare, the “young man” of the sonnets, and the “dark mistress” of the sonnets. But it sounds like the plot became too convoluted; the sonnets themselves are endlessly fascinating.

    1. Yeah your assessment is right on. I think the plot was just too much, and it didn’t make much sense to me. I do, however, want to read Possession, so thanks for reminding me!

  5. I like the idea of the book, but it sounds like the plot is confusing, the references maybe obscure, and too much sex. I probably wouldn’t make it far with this one, so thanks for the warning!

    1. You’re welcome! I never want to discourage someone from reading a book, because people really do have drastically different tastes, and some people may love this one. But if you’re not a fan of the premise or the main elements of the story, then honestly it probably isn’t for you.

  6. Ack! Sorry you didn’t like this book. I always feel a little responsible when a tour host doesn’t like a book. BUT, I see your point about the unnecessary sex and the Shakespeare references going over your head. I’m curious to see what others on this tour think and whether or not they’re Shakespeare buffs. I’m certainly no Shakespeare expert, so I’m curious if that’s really necessary to enjoying the book.

    1. Don’t worry about it, Trish! I thought the book sounded interesting, and I’ve really been trying to branch out this year, which is why I decided to be on the tour. It just wasn’t a hit for me. I’m also curious to see what the rest of the touring bloggers think, because Amazon reviews are really positive. We’ll see!

  7. I do love me some Shakespeare so I don’t think that part would bother me. But, like you, I’m not a big fan of unnecessary sex in a book (also like you, I’m no prude; I don’t mind some sex in a book). I’ve noticed a trend toward this lately; and really, I’m all for shorter books so just cut that out already publishers!

    1. You might like the book if you are a huge Shakespeare fan, honestly that stuff just went over my head. But yes, the unnecessary sex scenes got to me a bit. I’m all for realistic sex in books (after all, it is a huge part of life for most people) but when it doesn’t make sense for the story, that’s when I get annoyed.

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