Speak Easy, Speak Love
Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.

Speak Easy, Speak Love Details

TitleSpeak Easy, Speak Love
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 19th, 2017
PublisherGreenwillow Books
Rating
GenreRetellings, Young Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction

Speak Easy, Speak Love Review

  • McKelle George
    January 1, 1970
    This book's wit is as blunt as the fencer’s foil, which hits but hurts not.This book wears its faith but as the fashion of its hat; it ever changes with the next block.I would my horse had the speed of this book's tongue.But by this day! I do spy some marks of love in this book.......okay I'll stop. (¬‿¬)
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  • Mackenzi
    January 1, 1970
    Speak Easy Speak Love is a book nerd's dream. With the vivd hedonism of the 1920s, a cast of exquisitely drawn characters (with snappy chemistry and sexual tension that makes you want to smash their faces together), and wit to rival Will himself, a loving, fresh, and unputdownable homage to the original romantic comedy.
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  • Cookie
    January 1, 1970
    What a splendidly charming book!---this is my new favourite cover i am in love
  • Jaime Arkin
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars I first fell in love with the cover of this book and then I fell in love with the words that make up this amazingly told retelling of Much Ado About Nothing. Speak Easy, Speak Love is set during the 1920’s in New York… a time of prohibition and secret clubs called Speakeasy’s, mobsters and bootlegging, and all make for an entertaining and captivating read that I couldn’t put down. The story itself revolves around six teens whose lives tangle one fateful summer. Told from three points o 4.5 stars I first fell in love with the cover of this book and then I fell in love with the words that make up this amazingly told retelling of Much Ado About Nothing. Speak Easy, Speak Love is set during the 1920’s in New York… a time of prohibition and secret clubs called Speakeasy’s, mobsters and bootlegging, and all make for an entertaining and captivating read that I couldn’t put down. The story itself revolves around six teens whose lives tangle one fateful summer. Told from three points of views (Beatrice, Benedick, and Maggie) I found myself so invested in their fates and the amazing, layered, stories that made up each of their arrivals and time at Hey Nonny Nonny that even when I turned the last page, I wanted more. George’s writing was just lovely… I loved how she captured the feel of the time period and I couldn’t get enough of delving into the 1920’s. She took me back to the jazz age with her gorgeous writing and I found myself slowing down just to immerse myself in her words and sentences… going back to read them again and again and highlighting so much that just struck me.“Maggie got a bit closer until she was able to just see into the room. Prince stood at his window in slacks and an undershirt, the smoke of the cigarette between his fingers drifting our through the open crack.”I cheered for each character in this book… from Prince, to Maggie, to John, to Hero… I loved them all, but I was especially enamored with Benedick and Beatrice. The banter was so fun and witty and seeing these two people from two different worlds find a common thread among the people they cared for was lovely. "Miss Clark," he said, "have we just made the hard turn from enemies into friends?""I'd like that," she said. "If you don't mind being wrong and inferior most of the time because that's not something I can help."I just couldn’t get enough of Beatrice and her solid acceptance of who she is… no trying to change just to gain the acceptance of those around her. When she & Benedick butted heads I loved the quick witted banter… when they supported each other, I loved the quiet way they connected. The end of the story was absolute perfection for me.I would be remiss if I didn’t mention John and Maggie. I loved them and I cheered for them and the situation they are in. Their relationship was heartbreaking at times, but ultimately uplifting and so beautiful. I also have to mention the research that George did on this book – It’s apparent in every description, and detail and once you read the Author’s Note at the end of the book I think you’ll be blown away to see how she tailored this story. I definitely was and I am so excited to put a copy on my bookshelf. I’m also very excited to see what she writes next. If you’re looking for something that perfectly captures the spirit of Much Ado About Nothing, with amazing crafted characters, and a unique setting and plot then I highly recommend Speak Easy, Speak Love.
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    I love MAAN and I legitimately didn't need to read anything else to read. I loved this Beatrice and Benedick. Of course the rest of the cast of characters is fun, but I was obsessed with the banter between Bea and Ben. She's so smart and he's so stubborn and it was absolutely glorious. Plot wise, it was a slow and perhaps dense in a few sections. There are a few working threads of story that make it feel well rounded, but it's also a lot to keep track of. Overall, it was a fun read with a creati I love MAAN and I legitimately didn't need to read anything else to read. I loved this Beatrice and Benedick. Of course the rest of the cast of characters is fun, but I was obsessed with the banter between Bea and Ben. She's so smart and he's so stubborn and it was absolutely glorious. Plot wise, it was a slow and perhaps dense in a few sections. There are a few working threads of story that make it feel well rounded, but it's also a lot to keep track of. Overall, it was a fun read with a creative setting and characters I couldn't get enough of. I could have done with a million more pages of banter and it wouldn't have been enough, but the ending was perfection. **Huge thanks to Greenwillow Books for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    This was as fantastic as you would dare hope for a retelling of Much Ado About About Nothing set in a Long Island 1920s Prohibition-stricken speakeasy. It was shippy and banter-y and so much fun.
  • Elise (thebookishactress on wordpress)
    January 1, 1970
    WAIT HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS MUCH ADO RETELLING?? HOW DARE YOU ALL NOT TELL ME THIS
  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    “The line between like and dislike is almost invisible when attraction is involved.” This was such a fun book. It was glitzy and charming and had all the whimsy you would hope for from a 1920s Shakespeare-inspired retelling. With strong personalities and insane chemistry, this story captivates you from the first page. Speak Easy, Speak Love follows the lives of 6 teens in the summer of 1920s New York as their lives converge in the rundown and past-its-prime Hey Nonny Nonny mansion, with it’s “The line between like and dislike is almost invisible when attraction is involved.” This was such a fun book. It was glitzy and charming and had all the whimsy you would hope for from a 1920s Shakespeare-inspired retelling. With strong personalities and insane chemistry, this story captivates you from the first page. Speak Easy, Speak Love follows the lives of 6 teens in the summer of 1920s New York as their lives converge in the rundown and past-its-prime Hey Nonny Nonny mansion, with it’s own struggling speakeasy. The group spends their summer trying to save the speakeasy and wonderfully misguided misadventures ensue. Things I Liked I really loved all of the characters in the story! They all have such strong personalities, and are clearly distinct individuals. I thought the story was incredibly well-balanced for having such a large main cast of characters. I really loved Beatrice - she was so inspiring!Along with the fantastic characters, the relationships in the story were so dynamic and vibrant! I love that the story focused on romantic AND platonic relationships. Yes we get amazing flirting and witty banter, but we also have wonderful friendships and found families too. And all of the relationships feel genuine.I love that we get to see characters confront the less glamorous side of the time period. We get to see how the characters confront racism, classism, and sexism in their lives. It created an earnestness and honesty to the story that was great in the midst of the glitz and glamour.One of my favorite parts of the story was definitely the setting. Hey Nonny Nonny was an inspiring location! It was a home for the misfits and the downtrodden, and really because a character all on it’s own. Things I Didn’t Like Hero fell out of favor with me a bit in the last half of the story. I just started to like her a little less. I also felt like the other characters pandered to her a bit, even through all of the misunderstandings. This was such a bright and happy read. I had such a fantastic time. This might just cement the 1920s as my favorite historical time period to read. And I always love a retelling! Speak Easy Speak Love has all the shine of the 1920s to captivate you - the energetic characters and the lively setting all create a rich world you want to be a part of !I received a copy of the book from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Quotes are taken from an ARC and are subject to change.
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  • Chesca
    January 1, 1970
    DID SOMEONE SAY "1920s" AND "SPEAKEASY"??? *shelves* I may be the only here who shelved this not because of the mention of a Shakespeare retelling.
  • Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
    January 1, 1970
    Much Ado About Nothing retelling set in Prohibition-era New York?
  • Rosalyn Eves
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this book. Much Ado has always been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and I love it when adaptations get it right (see also: Lily Anderson's The Only Thing Worse than Me is You). I wasn't sure how Much Ado would translate to the 1920s and a speakeasy, but it turns out it translates brilliantly, with Beatrice as a young woman with ambitions of becoming a doctor, Benedict as a wealthy heir about to be cut off if he doesn't give up his dreams of writing, Hero as a young woman strugglin I adored this book. Much Ado has always been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and I love it when adaptations get it right (see also: Lily Anderson's The Only Thing Worse than Me is You). I wasn't sure how Much Ado would translate to the 1920s and a speakeasy, but it turns out it translates brilliantly, with Beatrice as a young woman with ambitions of becoming a doctor, Benedict as a wealthy heir about to be cut off if he doesn't give up his dreams of writing, Hero as a young woman struggling to keep her parents' speakeasy open, Margaret as an aspiring jazz singer--and even John becomes more than a flat, Keanu Reeves villain, as an Italian boy with ties to the mob. The plot is a clever riff on the original, but what I fell in love with was Beatrice and Benedict's prickly repartee, and their slowly evolving relationship. It has all the delightful banter of the original with a sweetness that is all its own.The period setting is also delightful--well-researched, fresh, and lending itself to some sharp, vivid descriptions.A wonderful story--I was sad when it ended.
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  • anna
    January 1, 1970
    This review is also posted on my blog.I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.4.5 ☆First things first: I have a confession to make. I know the plot more or less but I've never actually read Much Ado About Nothing... In my defense! We don't read that much Shakespeare in school here! But honestly, even with that in mind, I absolutely Loved™ Speak Easy, Speak Love which I feel only means that it holds up wonderfully on its own, not only as a retelling!If This review is also posted on my blog.I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.4.5 ☆First things first: I have a confession to make. I know the plot more or less but I've never actually read Much Ado About Nothing... In my defense! We don't read that much Shakespeare in school here! But honestly, even with that in mind, I absolutely Loved™ Speak Easy, Speak Love which I feel only means that it holds up wonderfully on its own, not only as a retelling!If you've read my Waiting for September '17 post, you already know this was one of my most anticipated releases of next month. And oh boy, was I right to be excited about this! What I liked most before I started reading, was the setting. I mean, it's the 1920s! With their charm & glitter but also downsides. And we get all of that in the book! The whole plot resolves around teens living in Hey Nonny Nonny - which, apart from a mansion with lots of rooms for boarders, is also a speakeasy. We get a pretty close look at prohibition and the fascinating culture that sprang to life around it.A lot happens in the book - there are wild parties, shootings, deals with mafia, bloody accidents - but it still feels a lot like it's mostly characters driven. Which for me personally is a great thing. And oh god, the set of characters we meet here! Of course first the most important pair: Beatrice & Benedick. They're ridiculously attuned to each other from the very start and honestly just such a joy to observe. All their interactions are quotable, it's like magic!! Beatrice wants to become a doctor and already is the most brilliant girl around. Benedick comes from old money and dreams about being a writer. It's amazing to see them navigate their totally different backgrounds and clash time and time again. They always come back to each other though...And then we have a beautiful Hero, daughter of the Hey Nonny Nonny's owner, who's all sugar, spice and everything nice; Maggie, the talented black singer & a shining star; Prince, half-Italian boy who's basically the brain behind the speakeasy's operation and John, his half-brother, your obligatory Bad Boy. There are others of course, but those are the ones we get to see the most of. And the POV changes from chapter to chapter which allows us to learn more & more about each character. If I were to find a flaw in the novel, it would be at this point and it would be that no character canonically belongs to the lgbt community. But then I wish that every single character in every single book did.The six main characters are not all connected by blood but they might as well be for all the love they have for each other. It's the most beautiful family, that sticks together through good and better and everything in between. As a sucker for found families trope... Yes, I found my safe haven. And they're all so bright and warm! And funny!! The writing in Speak Easy, Speak Love is incredibly fresh and indeed it shows best in dialogues, most of them truly hilarious. The 1920' slang is always present and never feels out of place and it adds so much flavor to the story as well.You know the great thing about fanfiction? Apart from being able to read more about your favourite characters, of course. It's that fics are almost outrageous in the choices of tropes they serve in one story. They spoil us & they're not afraid to do it. And Speak Easy, Speak Love is a lot like that too. There were so many scenes where I just couldn't believe what I was reading was really true! To name just one: a pretend date. It all felt like the author's love letter to the readers, like she actually took time to notice what the audience enjoys and then decided to give it to us. That doesn't happen often and it only makes it that much more beautiful. And put together with a wonderful cast of characters, it created an unforgettable story.Also, the pun in the title! 
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  • Gaby
    January 1, 1970
    This book was EVERYTHING I WANTED IT TO BE. 1920s. Much Ado About Nothing. So accurate. So perfect. I love.
  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    4.75 stars-- pretty damn close to 5. I ADORED this book! What a surprise, I hadn't heard of it but am so happy to have discovered it and receive an early copy! I'm a big fan of anything to do with the roaring 20s, add speakeasy' s and mobsters alongside brilliant, quirky characters and fabulous writing-- guys it's a total, total win in my book. The story moved at just right the pace, the drama and comedy gelled perfectly, the romance was amazing and the banter top notch. But come on, it IS a ret 4.75 stars-- pretty damn close to 5. I ADORED this book! What a surprise, I hadn't heard of it but am so happy to have discovered it and receive an early copy! I'm a big fan of anything to do with the roaring 20s, add speakeasy' s and mobsters alongside brilliant, quirky characters and fabulous writing-- guys it's a total, total win in my book. The story moved at just right the pace, the drama and comedy gelled perfectly, the romance was amazing and the banter top notch. But come on, it IS a retelling of the Bard's Much Ado About Nothing after all. But even with that as the backbone I do feel that Mckelle George TOTALLY made this all her own and did so pretty much perfectly. I can't wait to read more in the future (isn't discovering a talented new author just the BEST?!!) and encourage all you YA fans out there to pick this jewel up as soon as you can! <3 <3 <3
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  • Molly Cluff
    January 1, 1970
    I've been lucky enough to read this beautiful book in its early iterations. It's so incredibly atmospheric and delightful. I have been infatuated by basically every word this author writes, so I'm so thrilled for the official release date!! Not to mention...there are not enough solid Much Ado adaptations out there. This one is everything you'd have wished for. If you ever have felt even a twinge of love for Shakespeare, this book will be your 2017 bae.
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  • Anniek
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent a digital ARC of this book through Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review.A retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, set in the Roaring Twenties? This book caught my attention the moment I read the description. I haven't read the Shakespeare play, but I do have a thing for retellings. And I love any story set in the '20s, it's such a fascinating decade.It took me a few chapters to wrap my brain around the story, but once I did, this proved to be such a cute read. Beatri I was sent a digital ARC of this book through Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review.A retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, set in the Roaring Twenties? This book caught my attention the moment I read the description. I haven't read the Shakespeare play, but I do have a thing for retellings. And I love any story set in the '20s, it's such a fascinating decade.It took me a few chapters to wrap my brain around the story, but once I did, this proved to be such a cute read. Beatrice is a really bad-ass character, who knows how to stand up for herself in a time where women weren't expected to, to say the least. This book touched on a lot of subjects that were important for the time and age, but mostly, it was a story about friendship and romance. The characters were all full-bodied, even if they didn't have the biggest roles, and the six most important characters were all loveable in their own way.
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  • Vernie
    January 1, 1970
    September is just so far away...Well, at least by then I'll be bundled in blankets, drinking tea, and exploring the nightlife of the 1920's.
  • Kait Goodwin (Scintillating Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    This book is beautiful, inside and out. ❤❤❤ This book is beautiful, inside and out. ❤️❤️❤️
  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    I am actually super excited for this, but I have never actually read Much Ado About Nothing - so might need to do that before this comes out lol
  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    I bloody LOVE Much Ado About Nothing and would die for Beatrice in any shape or form
  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    Super fun! I'd be really interested to see the perspective of a reader who isn't familiar with Much Ado, just because it was so on the forefront of my brain as I was reading "oh this is this and this is this and oooh this thing will happen at some point"
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  • Aditi ~ •A Thousand Words A Million Books
    January 1, 1970
    AS SEEN ON: A THOUSAND WORDS A MILLION BOOKS I received a review copy from Greenwillow Books and McKelle George via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. Quotes are subject to my ARC “Words. What a tricky, tangled science.”When the AMAZING McKelle George got me approved to read an eARC of her debut, Speak Easy, Speak Love, I WAS OVER THE MOON. The cover was beautiful, I don’t remember the last time (if there ever was one) that I read a book s AS SEEN ON: A THOUSAND WORDS A MILLION BOOKS I received a review copy from Greenwillow Books and McKelle George via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. Quotes are subject to my ARC “Words. What a tricky, tangled science.”When the AMAZING McKelle George got me approved to read an eARC of her debut, Speak Easy, Speak Love, I WAS OVER THE MOON. The cover was beautiful, I don’t remember the last time (if there ever was one) that I read a book set in the 1920’s during the Prohibition and DID YOU SAY SIX MISFITS FALLING IN LOVE BECAUSE I COULD NOT BE MORE ON BOARD WITH THAT.When I flipped open Speak Easy, Speak Love, it took me all of three chapters to get hooked and read it all through my most recent trip and two flights back home whenever I wasn’t being made to socialise (SO RUDE – WHY CAN’T I READ IN PEACE?) and now, McKelle George is on my auto-buy author list because I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH I CAN’T EVEN. Let’s break it down: “What are you rambling about, you nonsensical contradiction?” WRITING: McKelle George writes from the viewpoint of three different characters – Benedick, Beatrice and Maggie – and tells a story through them about other characters; about their lives, who they are, where they came from and who they want to be and it was BEAUTIFUL. She managed to capture the eccentricities of the 1920’s with the booze and the jazz and the love. I was so in awe because every time I picked it back up again, I found myself transported as if in a movie flashback and I LOVED IT! PLOT: More than anything else, Speak Easy, Speak Love was a coming of age story of six teenagers, one of whom was trying to run her dead mother’s illegal speakeasy, one was trying to become a female doctor, one a writer, one a professional singer even though people didn’t accept her because of her skin colour and it was AMAZING.I loved getting to know Prince, Claude, John, Maggie, Beatrice, John and Benedick and the chemistry and camaraderie they had with each other. It felt like a privilege, getting to see a little bit of their lives and I COULDN’T RECOMMEND IT MORE.I think I especially loved the sparks that flew between Benedick and Beatrice when they met, because they were such different people, with such different backgrounds and world views and them clashing was one for the history books!More than that, I ADORED JOHN AND MAGGIE’S ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP. It was EVERYTHING to me and I flailed about when I realised that they were romantically inclined.CONCLUSION:READ THIS BOOK.Not only will you have, on your hands, a COVER THAT IS TOO BEAUTIFUL FOR WORDS, but also a GORGEOUS retelling about Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, and characters with such life and chemistry, they’ll stay with you for a long while! 4 stars.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    "Does it make you feel very clever to use words like postulate in normal conversation?" asked Benedick. "Being clever makes me feel clever," said Beatrice. "But next time I educate you, I will be as monosyllabic as possible." pg. 90, ARC I don't know where to even begin with this review because this book - McKelle George's Speak Easy, Speak Love - is just amazing - so amazing that I can't even begin to form a coherent thought besides, "OMG EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK!" So lets begin with my "Does it make you feel very clever to use words like postulate in normal conversation?" asked Benedick. "Being clever makes me feel clever," said Beatrice. "But next time I educate you, I will be as monosyllabic as possible." pg. 90, ARC I don't know where to even begin with this review because this book - McKelle George's Speak Easy, Speak Love - is just amazing - so amazing that I can't even begin to form a coherent thought besides, "OMG EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK!" So lets begin with my favorite part of the book: Beatrice.You know what I love, truly 100% LOVE, in books? Sassy, strong willed, and too smart for their own good characters. The kind of characters who not only speak their mind no matter the consequences, but also don't let other people stop them from being 100% uniquely themselves.That, my friends, is exactly the sort of character Beatrice is, and honestly, I couldn't get enough of her. There's so much to utterly love about her - her love of science, her determination to be a doctor, her unwillingness to conform to social norms. She's the kind of person I aspire to be - fearless, spunky, brave.In addition to Beatrice, we also get the pleasure of becoming acquainted with 5 other incredible characters - Hero, Prince, John, Benedick, and Maggie - and while I didn't love any of them as nearly as much I loved Beatrice (sorry, she was an incredibly hard act to beat!) I did like them a whole heck of a lot. I especially loved how through them, McKelle addressed so many aspects of the 1920s - Jazz, mafia relations, organized crime, new feminism, and the new literary age. Each character brought a unique viewpoint of the time period to the table, and I loved not only seeing their thoughts on it, but how their respective stories developed because of it. I rooted for Maggie to get her big Jazz debut, for Prince and John to successfully avoid the prohibition agents and stay out of the mafia's way, for Hero to show that not only could she hold her makeshift family together but also run a speakeasy, and for Benedick to write the next great American novel.This brings me to another one of my favorite parts of Speak Easy, Speak Love: the time period. The 1920s is an era I'm simply obsessed with, and because of that, I welcome any opportunity to read, watch, and learn more about it. I thought McKelle Geroge did an amazing job of capturing the feels of the 1920s not only through her character's lives but also her fantastic descriptions & world building.The plot in this is also addicting. It's the perfect combination of character driven and action driven, having not only a slow, easy going nature but also a fast going one as well at times. I especially loved the drama surrounding Hey Nonny Nonny - I was never quite sure how everything was going to end up, which made some of the twists and turns associated with it's very existence so incredibly nail-bitting. Also, while I don't want to say too much about the variety of romances in this one, I will say this: I loved them so, so very much. They not only didn't have the classic insta-love feel but they also had the perfect endings.Beautifully written, feisty, and spellbinding, Speak Easy, Speak Love is a book you SIMPLY MUST have on your TBR lists this fall! I'm already planning on buying myself a copy so I can re-read it! "Miss Clark," he said, "have we just made the hard turn from enemies into friends?""I'd like that," she said. "If you don't mind being wrong and inferior most of the time because that's not something I can help." pg. 172, ARC Grade: A+
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  • Sam Kozbial
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.5 StarsWhat a fun retelling and the ending was perfection. Full review to follow. BLOG | INSTAGRAM | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
  • Kalie
    January 1, 1970
    This might be the most fun, in-spirit Shakespeare retelling I've read in ages, if ever, to be honest. If hearing the phrase "Much Ado About Nothing set in Prohibition era New York" doesn't automatically sell you, I don't know what to say, because I was hooked from that premise alone. It's as delightfully subversive and witty as the original while also very fresh, adding its own flair, and giving depth to all of the characters involved - including ones that have been previously ignored or margina This might be the most fun, in-spirit Shakespeare retelling I've read in ages, if ever, to be honest. If hearing the phrase "Much Ado About Nothing set in Prohibition era New York" doesn't automatically sell you, I don't know what to say, because I was hooked from that premise alone. It's as delightfully subversive and witty as the original while also very fresh, adding its own flair, and giving depth to all of the characters involved - including ones that have been previously ignored or marginalized. AND THE DIALOGUE. I could write odes to the dialogue. I could live in it! Really, the dialogue is probably my favorite thing about this book, which is incredible because it already has a lot of great things going for it. In the realm of retellings, I'd easily put this one up there as a new favorite.
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  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    I am super picky about my Shakespeare retellings, but when someone gets it right, I will swoon and shout it from the rooftops. This book was captivating. George writes with all of the humor and romantic tension befitting Shakespeare himself, but in such an atmospheric setting, I was truly swept away. All of the key plot points one loves about Much Ado are there, but in such a fresh way it's like you're reading it all over again. Oh my goodness, I could follow Beatrice and Benadick across hundred I am super picky about my Shakespeare retellings, but when someone gets it right, I will swoon and shout it from the rooftops. This book was captivating. George writes with all of the humor and romantic tension befitting Shakespeare himself, but in such an atmospheric setting, I was truly swept away. All of the key plot points one loves about Much Ado are there, but in such a fresh way it's like you're reading it all over again. Oh my goodness, I could follow Beatrice and Benadick across hundreds of pages forever. Maggie was my favorite though, I wanted her to be happy. But then there was Hero, she was everything I wish I could be. Oh let's be honest, I loved them all and wanted all of the characters to get what they wanted. You can tell George did her research and every small detail just made me want to head into the past to every speak easy I could find and party the night away.
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  • YA and Wine
    January 1, 1970
    SPEAK EASY, SPEAK LOVE captured all the pizzaz and whimsy of the jazz age. With it's charming love stories, beautiful friendships, and delightful dialogue, I was utterly enchanted by this story.The 1920s is absolutely my favorite era to read in, so I had very high expectations going into this book, and it more than lived up to them. I always make note of quotes that stand out to me while I'm reading a physical book. Typically, I come away with about 10 quotes that I really loved. With this book, SPEAK EASY, SPEAK LOVE captured all the pizzaz and whimsy of the jazz age. With it's charming love stories, beautiful friendships, and delightful dialogue, I was utterly enchanted by this story.The 1920s is absolutely my favorite era to read in, so I had very high expectations going into this book, and it more than lived up to them. I always make note of quotes that stand out to me while I'm reading a physical book. Typically, I come away with about 10 quotes that I really loved. With this book, I walked away with 34. 34! The writing in this book is phenomenal and so entertaining, and the dialogue just sparkles with wit, spunk, and delightful banter.This book is a retelling of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and centers around the convergence of six teenager's lives one summer. I fell head-over-heels for all six of these characters (as well as some of the more minor ones). I honestly cannot pick a favorite, because they are each so dynamic, entertaining, and alive. I have honestly missed them since finishing the book, and I can't wait to read it again when I get my hardcover copy. Reading this book was like hanging out with the most high-spirited, loving, and amusing group of friends you could imagine.MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is probably my favorite of Shakespeare's works, and this book captured so much of the spirit of that play but with a 20s era vibrancy that was original, beautiful, and captivating. This is without doubt one of my favorite books that I've read this year and certainly one of my favorite YA historical reads of all time. I cannot wait to see what this debut author has in store for us next.
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  • KT
    January 1, 1970
    FIVE GLORIOUS, DELIGHTFUL STARS!!Okay. Now that I've shouted that from the rooftops. You guys. We have a Much Ado About Nothing retelling set in a 1920s speakeasy. You're already listening, right? Because RIGHT?Now for the specifics. The characters were...perfect. Complex, funny, delightful, a bit infuriating, but perfect. Beatrice is one of my favorite heroines in...I don't know how long. Long. She can drive a car with her knee while loading and shooting a shotgun. She's witty and biting and fu FIVE GLORIOUS, DELIGHTFUL STARS!!Okay. Now that I've shouted that from the rooftops. You guys. We have a Much Ado About Nothing retelling set in a 1920s speakeasy. You're already listening, right? Because RIGHT?Now for the specifics. The characters were...perfect. Complex, funny, delightful, a bit infuriating, but perfect. Beatrice is one of my favorite heroines in...I don't know how long. Long. She can drive a car with her knee while loading and shooting a shotgun. She's witty and biting and funny and occasionally self-conscious, and she felt real and I wish she was my best friend (with respect to my actual best friend, obviously. We'd all be cool.). Her relationships with Hero and Maggie were wonderful--strong female friendships FTW! And then there's Benedick, her perfect foil and nemesis. The man she loves to hate. Their banter was outstanding! I would read hundreds of pages of just them fighting and probably giggle the entire time. Prince and John were heartbreakers in different (and good) ways. Leo was a dear and even Benedick's dad was a favorite of mine. Because that's the thing: I loved every one of the characters. There wasn't a poorly done character in the cast. If you're still on the fence, the writing was fantastic--engrossing and captivating without ever feeling overwrought. The setting and story were "cool as jazz," as they say in the book, and, oh yeah, it's a Shakespeare retelling in a speakeasy. Read this book.
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  • Avery ☆ bforbookslut
    January 1, 1970
    This review and others like it can be found at my blog, [email protected] This book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review edition is an ARC and may differ from the final edition. Verdict:There is nothing I hate about Speak Easy, Speak Love. And I always find something to dislike in every book I read because I’m a bitch that way. Really. But, other than being a little too short, a little too fast paced (to think I thought it was slow at This review and others like it can be found at my blog, [email protected] This book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review edition is an ARC and may differ from the final edition. Verdict:There is nothing I hate about Speak Easy, Speak Love. And I always find something to dislike in every book I read because I’m a bitch that way. Really. But, other than being a little too short, a little too fast paced (to think I thought it was slow at the beginning) and not quoting enough Shakespeare, Speak Easy, Speak Love is the kind of book that I’ll keep coming back to until the covers are falling apart and the spine is cracked beyond reason.Never have I read a retelling that I enjoyed so much that I read it twice. I have a huge boner for Much Ado About Nothing (MAAN) and the 1920s, and when I saw this, I grabbed it up immediately without thinking twice (to be completely honest, I didn’t even read the blurb. I absolutely love how the animosity between Beatrice and Benedick was preserved and replicated with absolute perfection. I loved how Hero was given a lot more backbone and a lot more story, rather than just a background character. I loved the feminism that McKelle George injected into both Beatrice and Hero. Bea is no longer just a shrew and a pain in Benedick’s ass and Hero is no longer a simpering girl in love. I also loved how the book incorporated Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, into the narrative and making him a huge player. No spoilers addressed here but under the cut. Because I have such an irrational love for Much Ado About Nothing, I can line up each scene in Speak Easy, Speak Love to the exact moment it happened but I would really love to know what non-fans think of this book. To break it down, [contains spoilers] The Good:1. While this marks a good in my book, it may not for others. The plot doesn’t deviate very much from Shakespeare’s play and while some people might want more of a difference out of a retelling, I’m perfectly content with the exact same story (with a few twists, of course). Because it’s sacrilegious to rewrite the master. Only thing that’s different are the ships and characteristics and I’m totally cool with that because I love how it was worked into the story with the 1920s history and it’s all just so clever. There are no surprises when it comes to Speak Easy, Speak Love vs Much Ado About Nothing. 2. Speak Easy, Speak Love is grounded in a lot of history and comes with a bibliography and explanation of certain events. Which I appreciated. So often, books written in a different era have taken creative liberties with the history, twisting events and warping them so that they’re no longer historical but fantastical almost. But Speak Easy incorporates feminism (Hero and Beatrice) and the rise of the artist (Benedick), the hedonism (the speakeasy and the parties duhh), jazz music (Maggie) and the bootlegging and mobs (John and Prince). It’s so incredibly clever. 3. The characters were given a 1920s twist and it’s as perfect as the original. My notes actually are really, really long but I’ll try to summarise them here.Benedick: He’s not as dickish and fuckboy-esque as he is in Shakespeare’s original although I kinda hoped he was. It would really make the enemies to lovers thing awesome. But, I do love that he was given a softer, more human side as well as the whole novelist bit. The reasoning behind making Benedick a novelist is grounded in history, making it just that tad bit better.Beatrice: Perfection. She’s always been my favourite Shakespeare heroine. I love that she’s a doctor here and god, her banter with Benedick is spot on1 I loved all the bitchiness and sarcasm and snark the original Beatrice had and she wasn’t lacking anything here at all. She’s confident, take charge and no nonsense. I particularly loved her friendship with Hero and how much she cared for her, because in Much Ado, Hero was just a passive character. Plus, she’s a feminist. At the same time, she’s very prim and proper and it’s unlike the conventional very brash and bold Beatrice. Hero: I always believe that Hero was created to highlight how different and unconventional Beatrice was as a lady. And it works even in Speak Easy. She is a charmer and a sweetheart and ambitious, everything that Shakespeare’s Hero was not. Shakespeare’s Hero was spineless and simpering and a typical girl, waiting to find her true love and be married off. But George’s Hero doesn’t sit around, waiting for be catered to. She takes charge of the speakeasy and everyone in it, is flirty and forward without a care and has a giant, golden heart for everyone around her. She’s no longer passive but she takes charge of her narrative and I love it. Margaret: Relegated to Hero’s lady’s maid in the Shakespearean version, she’s brought to extreme life in Speak Easy as the resident songstress of the speakeasy. She’s a woman of colour struggling to be recognised when the Brown Paper Bag Test was still around (I linked to a Wikipedia page because it is a good source of knowledge, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_P...) and she’s madly in love with John. While she still isn’t at the forefront of the plot, she has a stronger presence, a friendship with Hero that is explored and she has a motherfucking career and prospects. Prince: I present to you, Prince Pedro of Aragon, who is a charming bootlegger madly in love with Hero. His character makes the 1920s come alive what with his bootlegging and life of crime, and of course, passion. His relationship with his brother John which was unexplored in Shakespeare’s versions plays a major role in Speak Easy, giving life to what was another side and background character.John: Half-brother to Prince and villain of Shakespeare’s play, he reprises his role in Speak Easy but with more of a twist. He’s a quiet character, opening up only to Maggie but he’s also powerful, his connections to the mafia and mobs are often explored in Speak Easy. I particularly love the tension between him and Maggie. There’s a particular scene in Much Ado that is played by different characters in Speak Easy but I won’t spoil it for you. Claude: He is as spineless and annoying as Claudio. He doesn’t change. Dogberry and Verges were incorporated in the cleverest way possible and I won’t spoil that for you either.The Bad:1. Okay, I lied. I wish there was a little more 1920s slang. I used to do a roleplay where we incorporated as much slang as we could but all I got was: branch water.Conclusion:I think I’ve said enough. Go buy it. You won’t regret it.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    **I received this as an egalley through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**As soon as I saw the words “Much Ado About Nothing”, “1920’s” and “retelling”, I knew I had to read this book. (Also, that cover is drop-dead gorgeous and immediately grabbed my eye). I absolutely love love love Much Ado About Nothing , and of course, the 1920s is a spectacular time to read about, especially if done well. This one sang to me because it is an enemies-to-lovers romance and a retelling of one of my **I received this as an egalley through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**As soon as I saw the words “Much Ado About Nothing”, “1920’s” and “retelling”, I knew I had to read this book. (Also, that cover is drop-dead gorgeous and immediately grabbed my eye). I absolutely love love love Much Ado About Nothing , and of course, the 1920s is a spectacular time to read about, especially if done well. This one sang to me because it is an enemies-to-lovers romance and a retelling of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. And it was phenomenal.The story immediately dives in, introducing the characters one by one and setting the scene and situation. There’s humor and wit, speakeasies and bootlegging, the Italian mob and of course, romance. It moves at a decent pace, with chapters that alternate mostly between Beatrice and Benedick’s perspectives, with a few of Maggie’s in between (I’m not going to lie, I wouldn’t have minded a few from the other main characters here and there as well). The writing and dialogue was reminiscent of the time period and the wit easily had me laughing out loud at times. I will say there were a few lines here or there that threw me a little in terms of understanding what was trying to be said (I don’t know if it was a subtext clue I missed out on or something) but didn’t really affect the overall plot, thankfully. The romance is a beautiful slow-burn, the speakeasy and rumrunning storyline made for some great intrigue, and the whole thing just had me captivated from the start.The characters’ growth is definitely the driving force behind the whole story. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that George took some creative liberties and changed some of the relationships from the original play, but in such a way that made sense to the characters as she wrote them, and even had me looking back at how I first perceived them in Much Ado and reconsidering my original perspective. I think the most interesting change was in John, who, in Much Ado, was just downright evil, but in this book shows a much deeper and caring side to him, and a strong reason for his actions that hinder his brother, Pedro (Prince). I also really liked how she made Margaret (Maggie) a much more prominent character throughout the story – she was a character who, in the original play, really took me by surprise and had me intrigued by her own wit and humor, and so to see her put in a stronger role was wonderful indeed.Of course, though, this book is nothing without its two leads, Beatrice and Benedick. Where in Much Ado it was definitely much more of an ensemble piece, these two take the sure lead in the book as they go from bantering each other with witty remarks and harsh truths, to slowly but surely falling in love with each other (with the helpful nudge from Hero and co.) I loved how George characterized each of them, with Benedick being a wistful writer born into wealth with a strict father but longing for freedom to do as he chooses and Beatrice working her way determinedly from poverty to becoming a doctor despite society’s outlook on women at the time. It really gave them each a certain depth and history that brought their characters to life on the page, and their relationship growth all the more interesting. I also loved how there were sparks growing between them long before Hero and co tried to trick them into falling for each other – it just made everything all the much more believable and wonderful to read. Overall this book was just fun and romantic, full of wit and humor, with characters that grab you by the heart and make you fall in love with them, warts and all. A definite recommendation for anyone who likes a good enemies-to-lovers romance, historical fiction set in the 1920s, or Shakespeare retellings that really do it well. 5 stars
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