Book Review: Speak Easy, Speak Love ~ McKelle George | ★★★★★

This novel made me think of words like feathers, love, and sunshine.

Click to see on Goodreads

Expected rating: ★★★★✰ (I’ve had some issues with Shakespeare retellings)

Actual rating: ★★★★★

Read if you… like the 20s, are keen on obvious romance stories (but still fresh and beautiful), want to have a good Roaring Twenties-style laugh.

Why I read it: This is hands down the prettiest cover I’ve seen in my life, and it made me want to eat the book I’m bibliovore to another level. The synopsis makes the story sound fresh and light, so I figured why not since it’s set in the 1920s.

Read it in: 3 days (368 pages)

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.

This is a book that was written to be adored, is all. It’s beyond my understanding how underhyped it is: not even 1k reviews on Goodreads? Seems impossible when you read it.

The characters felt so real that I expected them to jump out from the pages into reality, and almost cried when they didn’t. George has left me swooning over Prince, Margaret, Benedick, Hero, Beatrice, and John. Hey Nonny Nonny, the Jazzy vibes, THE FEMINISM, the adorable banter, the cute ships… everything contributed to make this novel a very light read. It made me think of words like feathers, love, and sunshine.

I was a bit wary of the whole Shakespeare retelling aspect at first, but oh dear, prejudices are a hindrance. Much Ado About Nothing could not have been polished better under any other author’s pen (+ the ending was much more coherent than the original, in my humble opinion).

TL;DR: *giggles in flapper*.

  • Each of the girls is a feminist in her own way, and yet there is no doubt that they belong to the 1920s.
  • Cousins love? Check. Solid friendships? Check. Family is not about blood, it’s about whom you choose to love? Check.
  • They support each other, even if it means they cannot be together anymore.
  • THE BANTER IS HILARIOUS. I wish I could speak sarcasm like Beatrice and Benedick.
  • “One could admire a bolt of lightning, after all, but from a distance. One didn’t want to touch it.” ~ Benedick about Beatrice
  • I could not even bring myself to hate the antagonists, but in a good way.
  • H.A.P.P.Y. E.N.D.I.N.G. that still feels real.
  • I loved to learn random bootlegging facts.
  • Sometimes they were all kinda oblivious, and I’m not only talking about their blindness to mutual pining. There were moments (like when the pheasant hunters or whatever they were were nosing around) when I felt a little unnerved that no one was putting two and two together.
  • Er- I wouldn’t know what else to put here?

Do you know that feeling when your mouth is dry so you get a glass of fresh water and it’s just wonderful and healing and- heaven? Speak Easy, Speak Love is the literary version of it.

One more gem to beautify my rec pile.

Have you read Speak Easy, Speak Love? Would you like to? Let me know what you think of it!

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Speak Easy, Speak Love ~ McKelle George | ★★★★★

  1. A MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING RETELLING??? That is good?? Brilliant review, this sounds fantastic! (I love how you set your reviews out btw, so fun and easy to read) This does sound excellent I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this – Much Ado is a favourite of mine! Your Pros all sound brilliant, you have definitely put this on my radar! Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed this! 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

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