Harlequin Shakespeare

Shakespeare shows up much less frequently in the Harlequin romances so popular in 70's and 80's. Often, as in Byfield's novel, only the title is actually Shakespearean.

However, there are a few intermittant appearances. Romeo and Juliet is particularly popular, showing up in titles like Judith Arnold's Just Like Romeo and Juliet and Natalie Bishop's A Love Like Romeo and Juliet. More flexible invocations appear in Kasey Michael's Romeo in the Rain and Julie McBride's Baby Romeo, P.I. All use contemporary settings and focus on the family conflict, but Arnold's book includes the device of Romeo and Juliet looking down on unhappy lovers from above and helping them through their quandaries.

The Taming of the Shrew also holds a certain amount of appeal, as show in its appearance in the anthology Unmasked, and Kiss Me Kate, by Helen Myers. Even Much Ado about Nothing has its Harlequin proponents, Elizabeth Ashton's My Lady Disdain and Paula Marshall's Mills and Boon Dear Lady Disdain.

There are also actress novels using Shakespeare amongst the Harlequins, most notably Kay Thorpe's Curtain Call.

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