Deanna James'sActs of Passion/Acts of Love

Deanna James's Acts of Passion follows a strikingly similar pattern to Christina Dodd's The Greatest Lover in All England. Miranda Drummond, appalled that her mother plans to marry the man she thinks murdered her father, stows away with Sons of Thespis, Royal Shakespearean Company by Appointment to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. When she becomes the lead actress, her roles range widely in Shakespearean canon, but naturally Hamlet remains the central play. At one point she claims to be Hamlet and in fact manages to elicit a public confession from her stepfather when she appears as her father in response to his dedication of a monument to the deaths of soldiers he allowed to die in order to possess her mother.

James also resembles Dodd in her inclusion of chapter headings with Shakespearean quotations. She explains the strategy and claims Shakespearean structure in her afterword, "To the Reader"--

Since the quotations from Pericles, Cymbeline and King John would surely escape most readers who are not Shakespeare enthusiasts, this transformation of romance into memory quiz seems destined to put the readers down. The claim to Shakespearean structure and thus mimicry of the "master writer of all time" insists on the craft of the novel's construction as well as its unexpected educational testing.

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