Monday, June 24, 2024

Review - - A Daughter of Fair Verona

A Daughter of Fair Verona
by Christina Dodd
Daughter of Montague - Book 1
Publisher: Kensington (John Scognamiglio Books)
Release Date: June 25, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

I’m the eldest daughter of Romeo and Juliet. Yes, 
that Romeo and Juliet. No, they didn’t die in the tomb. They’re alive and well and living in fair Verona with their six wildly impetuous children and me, their nineteen-year-old daughter Rosaline…

Once upon a time a young couple met and fell in love. You probably know that story, and how it ended (hint: badly). Only here’s the thing: That’s not how it ended at all.

Romeo and Juliet are alive and well and the parents of seven kids. I’m the oldest, with the emphasis on ‘old’—a certified spinster at twenty, and happy to stay that way. It’s not easy to keep your taste for romance with parents like mine. Picture it—constant monologues, passionate declarations, fighting, making up, making out . . . it’s exhausting.

Each time they’ve presented me with a betrothal, I’ve set out to find the groom-to-be a more suitable bride. After all, someone sensible needs to stay home and manage this household. But their latest match, Duke Stephano, isn’t so easy to palm off on anyone else. The debaucher has had three previous wives—all of whom met unfortunate ends. Conscience forbids me from consigning another woman to that fate. As it turns out, I don’t have to . . .

At our betrothal ball—where, quite by accident, I meet a beautiful young man who makes me wonder if perhaps there is something to love at first sight—I stumble upon Duke Stephano with a dagger in his chest. But who killed him? His late wives’ families, his relatives, his mistress, his servants—half of Verona had motive. And when everyone around the Duke begins dying, disappearing, or descending into madness, I know I must uncover the killer . . . before death lies on me like an untimely frost.

PJ's Thoughts:

Ever wonder what might have happened if Romeo and Juliet had lived? If they were deeply in love and still creating drama seven children later, much to the everlasting embarrassment of their oldest, the happily single and never been in love, Rosaline "Rosie" Montague? Christina Dodd has and the result of those thoughts is A Daughter of Fair Verona, a whip-smart, witty, hilarious novel that should be on everyone's must-read list this summer. 

Five minutes into the book, I was already snort-laughing while reading passages out loud to my sister-in-law. On almost every page, I would call out, "OMG! You have to hear this!" then read a sentence, or a paragraph, or the whole darn page to her. She left after about the tenth time I did this because (a) she wants to enjoy the book in its entirety once it's published and (b) at the rate I was going I would have read the entire book out loud because it's just that good and she had things to do. 

From the character development, to the sarcastic humor, to the tightly-crafted mystery, to the time and place, to budding romance, snappy banter, and - whoa - unexpected twists, every single word in this book is perfection. Dodd transported me back to 14th century Verona with a modern-feeling yet true to the time, alternate version of the events surrounding Shakespeare's ill-fated lovers, Romeo and Juliet. She immersed me fully into their family, into the events within Verona, the challenges, the political machinations, and the romantic fate that may (or may not) be awaiting Rosie when her efforts to outwit her matchmaking parents seem to hit a brick wall. I was so invested in these characters. They had me laughing uproariously one minute and holding my breath the next. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough while also wanting to slow down and savor every perfectly placed word in the book. So. Much. Fun. 

Fair warning before you begin this book. I read the entire thing in one day. Bathroom breaks? My Kindle came with me. Meals? I need to lose weight anyway. Sleep? Pfft. Who needs sleep? All I needed was this book. It's genius. Pure genius. 

I haven't heard yet when the second book in this series is set to publish (sometime in 2025) but based on how A Daughter of Fair Verona ends, let's just say when book two finally arrives, it's going to be one very long night for this reader. I can't wait to discover what Dodd has in store for Rosie - and the rest of the Montagues - next!


  1. You hooked me with the part about laughing. Patoct

  2. I have been a fan of Ms Dodd for a long time. So, the fact that she is talented, yup, I know. But, this does sound over and above what I normally expect. Shakespeare and I share the same birthday........with Shirley Temple and Adolf Hitler too of course I am interested in this book. Thanks for the review and the tiny little hints that this may make me laugh.

  3. I usually don't like to read first-person stories, but this sounds like a fun and intriguing read. I always liked the thought that Romeo and Juliet lived. (I read somewhere that Queen Elizabeth I hated the ending, so she told Shakespeare to rewrite the ending for one performance.)

  4. Definitely will put this one on my TBR list. I majored in English in college (spent a lot of time reading the Bard) and have been reading a lot of rom-coms, both contemporary and historical, lately. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Sounds great! Thanks for the review, PJ!

  6. What a clever plot twist. This one sounds like a must read. Definitely gonna get this one. I love a book that includes laughs. Thanks for the great review!

  7. This sounds like so much fun. I have enjoyed Christina Dodd's books in all the sub-genre in which she writes. Irt has been way too long since I've read one of her books, especially an historical. This one goes straight to the top of my wish list.