For the Love of the Bard by Jessica Martin
Review,  Romance

For the Love of the Bard by Jessica Martin – witty, quirky, nerdy romance

For the Love of the Bard is entertaining, delightful, heartwarming, witty, quirky, nerdy romance with amazing characters and setting.

witty, quirky, nerdy romance

For the Love of the Bard by Jessica Martin

Publication Date : June 28th 2022

Publisher : Berkley Books

Genre : Romance / Chick-Lit

Pages : 352

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tea for this book : Indain Masala chai

Disclaimer – Many thanks to Berkley for eARC via NetGalley.
This post contains affiliate links


To go for it or not to go for it? That is the question when two former high school flames return to their Shakespeare-obsessed hometown for a summer of theater and unexpected romance, in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jessica Martin.

Literary agent and writer Miranda Barnes rolls into her hometown of Bard’s Rest with one goal in mind: to spend the summer finally finishing her YA novel, the next installment in her bestselling fantasy series. Yet Miranda’s mother, deep in the planning stages for the centennial of the town’s beloved annual Shakespeare festival, has other ideas.

Before you can say “all’s fair in love and war,” Miranda is cornered into directing Twelfth Night–while simultaneously scrambling to finish her book, navigating a family health scare, and doing her best to avoid the guy who broke her heart on prom night.

When it comes to Adam, the veterinarian with a talent for set design and an infuriating knack for winning over Miranda’s dog, the lady doth protest too much. As any Shakespeare lovers knows, the course of true love never did run smooth, and soon Miranda realizes she’ll have to decide whether to trust Adam with her heart again.


delightful, heartwarming, witty, quirky, nerdy romance

For the Love of the Bard is entertaining and nerdy contemporary romance that follows Miranda Barnes who returns to her hometown, Bard’s Rest, for The Centennial, Shakespearean summer festival, and to write her long overdue book in YA fairy series, but on arriving home she found herself tangled in festival committee, responsibility of directing the mainstage, deal with her mom’s recent health issues, and reconnect with teenage crush who crushed her heart.

For the Love of the Bard is about literature, theater, sisterhood, family, friendship, forgiveness, heartbreak, getting over self-doubt, letting people in, taking leap of faith, and giving love a second chance.

Writing is enetrtaining, witty, descriptive, and nerdy that oozed Shakspeare. For the Love of the Bard is written in first person narrative from Miranda’s perspective. Her voice is fresh and cheerful. I loved the way author divided the story in scenes and each chapter titled with the different places of Bard’s Rest mentioned in the chapter where characters’ lives play out.

You can see this book packs more than just romance and author has included many light and serious scenes with witty dialogues and so many quirky characters. Miranda and her family are my most favorite characters.

Miranda is introvert, lovely, compassionate, and caring, who was peacemaker between sisters and in family; she was labled as Backup Barnes in school; and would deal with any life situation with sass and humor. She is also brilliant writer and play director and actor. Her passion for theater, everything Shakespeare and anything literary is contagious. She doesn’t exactly have middle child syndrom but childhood experiences shook her confidence a little and she has hard time letting people in her problems. There are so many layers to her character and I loved seeing Miranda behind each layer.

I could get her reason for writing books under pen name and keeping her identity secret. I loved how returning back to her hometown she found her voice, passion and inspiration to write book once again. It was amazing to see her courage and confidence grow and how she forgive Adam and gives him another chance.

Adam is handsome, lovely, compassionate, theater-obsessed vet who has pig for a pet. His love for his pig is so adorable. He honestly won meart whenever he talked about his pig and I was ready to forgive him and forget his jackass behavior in his teen who broke Miranda’s heart. I liked his thoughtfulness and patience around Miranda, understanding he is the reason she wouldn’t give him a chance, giving her all the time she needed, trying to mend what they had, and giving proper explanation and apology.

Family dynamic is lovely. They all added their own charm to story. Isabella and Peter Barnes both professors and bookstore owners are amazing pair and parents. I loved the Barnes sisters. Cordy is my favorite. Like Ian I would give anything to have this sister with me. She is lovely, lively, loyal, and most supportive and fun youngest sister and baker with rebellious streak. Her desserts and cakes are mouthwatering. I’m still craving remembering those delicious chocolaty baked confectionery. Portia is the eldest. She is workoholic, perfectionist, and scary corporate lawyer who has obsession of winning and she would do anything, she decided to do that caused Miranda heartbreak. But as story progressed, we see another side of her that she kept well hidden. Her developement is as good as Miranda’s. Ian, Miranda’s best friend is amazing. I also liked Candace and all the characters who participated in play.

The best part is setting of Bard’s Rest. This town is full of geeks and nerds who loved Shakspeare so much that their streets, stores and business are all Shakspeare-themed. They even called tourist Bardalator. This town worshipped Shakspeare and even talked Shakspeare, and hence all the dialogues and conversations also felt very sassy and literary. It’s a typical small town with tight-knit community, gossips and banter, I loved how they all volunteered for The Centennial and how much they helped supported each other. In short, be prepared for loads of literary references.

Romance is slow and sizzling with second chance arc, hate to love trope, and complex relationship. Chemistry between Miranda and Adam is hot and sexy. Even after their terrible heartbreaking past they both felt spark and connection and I liked they didn’t deny it and author didn’t rush it either. It’s most realistic romance I have read so far.

While the first and middle part was all drama and fun, third part was heavy on romance and development. Climax is interesting with Miranda letting in Adam and things going in right way. Just when I thought there will not be any drama, it’s going all calm and cozy towards lovely and happy ending, there came silly assumptions and drastic steps. But that too turned into more growth in Mirada’s character. I loved how she embraced her personality and identity.

End is very realistic and feel-good without big romantic gesture but I wish there was more groveling involved. Forgiveness is too hasty for my taste. I always prefer butt kicking of character who causes painful hearbreak but I can ignore that.

Overall, For the Love of the Bard is delightful, entertaining, witty and quirky romance with amazing characters and setting.

I highly recommend this if you like,
Nerdy story
Literary references
Main character, a writer
Writer’s perspective
Vet hero
Small town setting
Tight-knit community
Second chance romance
Slow burn romance
Witty literary dialogues
Story divided in scenes
Chapters titled after different places of setting
Amazing family dynamic
Quirky characters
(This is longest list I ever had)

Book Links

Goodreads | Storygraph | | |

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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