Scott Volz's Reviews > Shakespeare's Secret

Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach
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's review
Mar 04, 12

bookshelves: juv-novel, mystery, grades-6-8
Read in March, 2012

The daughter of a Shakespearean scholar whose career has led to regular family moves, Hero Netherfield isn’t excited to begin the sixth grade in another new place. With her weird name (from the play Much Ado about Nothing) and lack of social confidence, Hero has a hard time adjusting—unlike her older sister Beatrice. Hero does, however, strike up a friendship with Mrs. Roth, her eccentric next-door neighbor. She learns that her new house is the “Murphy Diamond House” where local authorities believe the previous owner hid a large diamond that once belonged to Edward de Vere, an Elizabethan nobleman who some scholars suspect to be the true author of Shakespeare’s plays. With the help of Mrs. Roth and popular eighth-grader Danny Cordova, Hero sets out to solve the case. Fast-paced with natural dialogue and well-developed characters, the novel presents an engaging mystery with the right amount of complexity. Author Broach enhances her story with details of Elizabethan history, although some might be misled by the possible-but-not-widely-accepted theories that fuel the mystery. Some of the book’s twists test the boundaries of plausibility, but Broach’s engaging characters and rich use of language keep the reader interested and entertained.

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