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The Turquoise Ring

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Acclaimed novelist Grace Tiffany, author of My Father Had a Daughter and Will, retells Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice from the perspective of five unusual women-and offers a radical new portrait of the controversial literary character Shylock the moneylender.

In 1568, twenty-one-year-old Shiloh ben Gozán flees the Spanish Inquisition to live openly as a Jew in Venic
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Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Berkley Trade (first published 2005)
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Willsphernalia
25th out of 35 books — 23 voters
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158th out of 225 books — 153 voters


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Community Reviews

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Amanda
Dec 19, 2007 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: book clubs, especially women
Loved it! This is the best book I've ever read from just picking something randomly off the new books rack at the library. The characters were deep and likable, and my book club really enjoyed it. I find my self comparing all my subsequent book club books to this one, and few live up to this standard.

The story is also based on The Merchant of Venice (from all the women's perspectives), which I didn't read until afterward, but I love Shakespeare and I loved the similarities. Reading the MoV after
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LeAnne
Fabulous retelling of the Merchant of Venice. A bit bawdy in places, but then, Shakespeare is bawdy. Tiffany takes the main characters of the Bard’s comedy and develops their backstories and motivations beginning in Toledo during the Spanish Inquisition. Her view is strongly feminist: All the men are fools or villains except Shiloh/Shylock.

Tiffany moves the story from the fifteenth century to Shakespeare’s own lifetime. It’s closely based on the original (even the ring is there, given by Shyloc
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Chrystyna
I really enjoyed this book. It's based on the Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare.

It is about 5 women who in the end are related by circumstance. The scene is the middle ages in Europe. The characters are: 1) a noble lady; 2) a prostitute; 3) a swordmaker's daughter; 4) the wife of a merchant; 5) the daughter of the merchant. Some of these women are true blood Christians and others are either Jew/Muslim or "publicly" converted Christians (the Inquisition comes into play). The the crux of the story
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Debbie
A tad contrived as a tale for my taste, but a fascinating, horrifying, educational, and fleetingly hilarious and encouraging tale of life in general, and womens' lives, particularly, in the mid-late 16th c. Author Grace Tiffany (Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama at Western Michigan University), creates a fascinating illustration of the era's too often brutal religious tensions. Using dialog between characters, stereotypical representatives of the time, Tiffany both blurs and clarifi ...more
SarahLeeNotCake
Retelling of the Merchant of Venice from Portia's perspective. What's not to like, Portia is a strong intriguing character and it was very enjoyable to go on the journey with her instead of the rather dull, idiotic men in Merchant.
Daniel
This book did not quite reach to me, as I had hoped it would. The book is supposedly "about" Shiloh (aka Shylock) and a specific ring, but as it's told through the story of five women, the focus is muddy. Two of the women's stories' are intriguing, one is incredibly dull, and the others rather bland.

They read more like romance novels rather than passionate drama as one might expect from a tale told of Shakespeare (with the one exception).

Sadly, not recommended.
Leslie
Mar 23, 2008 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs, romantics
An interesting take on Shylock from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. It's his "back story" so to speak.
The Inquisition is still virulent in Europe. Jews are hounded and harassed wherever they live - Spain, Italy, England.
Shiloh and his family and other people he deals with are fleshed out. You get a wonderful understanding of the times - the good and the bad.
It's an easy, fun read so far.
Sandi Gill
The Turquoise Ring is a take on Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. I haven't read this Shakespearean play so I sought out Cliffs Notes for a thorough summary, which was very helpful in understanding why parts of the novel seem like a farce. I must say that I must preferred the narrative of Shylock and his daughter Jessica to the 'comedic' passages.
Naomi
This author has several books that are sort of re-writings or re-imaginings of Shakespeare's works. This one is a retelling of The Merchant of Venice from the point of view of Shylock and four (or thereabouts?) important women in his life. I actually haven't read Merchant of Venice and this book really made me want to!
Gloria
Very readable and engaging, though the prose was a little overdone at times. I think a lot of this was lost on me because I'm not deeply familiar with The Merchant of Venice. Still, a very enjoyable plane read with an interesting, if melodramatic, picture of anti-Semitism in Renaissance Italy and Inquisition Spain.
KC
This is another book club book. If you've read Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice then this book is a good partner to it. The difference is that this book follows the story of the character of Shylock or Shiloh and the females who were a part of his life. It is worth the read.
Jessica
The book was an extremely interesting book to read. all five women characters really had an interesting point of view. I also liked how it was the Merchant of Venice with a completely different point of view. It is tough to get into but I'd recommend it.
Heather Guerena
I tried on like three separate occasions to read this book and I just couldn't get past the second chapter. The writing is just not engaging, it is taking to long to get to the point and the characters are slightly annoying. I didn't enjoy it.
Sheila Roberts
I enjoyed this book. It was great to see Shylock get his own story and I was fascinated by how the author interwove his life story with that of the women in his life. It was almost enough to make me want to read Shakespeare. Almost.
Erin
I LOVED this book. I loved Tiffany's storytelling and the way that you could still tell that it was a Shakespeare story. It was really interesting to read about Shylock/Shiloh the moneylender from another perspective.
Kim
I would really give this book 3.5 stars. I liked it. There were times that the names got confusing and the history was a little dry, but the story kept me reading and the characters were wonderful.
Mary Frances
Dec 18, 2009 Mary Frances rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Historical fiction and Shakespeare fans
A very well done retelling of the Merchant of Venice, with interesting takes on the characters and a very sympathetic Shylock. Found it on a remainders shelf but what a find!
Megan
I stopped part way through this book, I just couldn't get into it. The subject matter was interesting but the writing just didn't hold my attention.
Lauren
This book is based on Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. It is an alright read but the narration didn't hold my attention and seemed somewhat choppy.
Brenda
I enjoyed the first half of this book, but the second half seemed to drag on a little. For me it took away from the flow of the story.
Michellebody
An interesting retelling of the merchant of Venice. I enjoyed the book.
Claudia
interesting retelling of the Merchant of Venice. Enjoyed it quite a lot.
Ginger
I didn't actually finish this book yet... it wasn't very enthralling.
Serena
Story of the characters of the Merchant of Venice. Great read.
Peggy
hmmmm?? strange stuff in this one, but held my attention
Hayloa
Hayloa marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2015
Erin Howard
Erin Howard is currently reading it
Jul 29, 2015
Yvonne Williams
Yvonne Williams marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2015
Haley Corbin
Haley Corbin marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2015
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A New York native who mostly grew up in Virginia, Grace Tiffany is a Renaissance scholar who in recent years has turned her hand to the creation of historical novels.
More about Grace Tiffany...
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