It is a modern day updating of Shakespeare’s midsummer night’s dream. Emily is determined to break up her father’s impending marriage to a younger woman, while her best friend Helen is trying to get over the man she has been in unrequited love with for ten years. Emily’s boyfriend Dominic has spent his life trying to make sure others are happy, and is coming to realise that he’s not happy himself, and Helen’s roommate Alex has always been against long term relationships but then meets the one girl he wants to commit to.
May’s take on the characters make them into endearing, and relatable people. I particularly warmed to Helen, who although she has been pining over someone that she doesn’t think will love her back, is remarkably unselfish. Emily is a little harder to like, because she doesn’t seem to be able to understand the people around her, but May has her break out of the self involved fear driven rut that she had fallen into by the end of the novel. Alex provides many of the funnier moments, including a section in which- intoxicated- he attempts to fight Dominic in a bid to win Helen’s love for himself.
May removes the magical elements of the play, as you might expect, but the characters are by and large still there. Bottom is now a incredibly laidback student who has a tendency to be late for lectures, and is not guaranteed to be fully clothed when he attends. Titania is now a cocktail waitress, who grew up in a circus family, who meets Emily’s father when he is attending a conference. He is a educator in May’s version of the story.
This book is a intelligent and well crafted reimagining of Shakespeare’s play, with clever touches throughout. I was intrigued enough to get the other book in May’s series out, to see whether that is as good as Midsummer Dreams, and will be reviewing it very soon.