Title: Call Me But Love
Author: Tracy Rowan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: B List
Blurb: Mercutio is a funny, moody, complex foil for Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but in the four stories presented here, each an independent tale, Mercutio’s love for his friend goes far deeper, always somehow entwined with the fates of Romeo and Juliet.
The first tale sets the trio back in Renaissance Verona, where Mercutio vies for Romeo’s love. Romeo is oblivious, but the love triangle has deadly consequences. Next, we find Romeo and Mercutio in Victorian England. Though Romeo knows Mercutio loves him and returns his passion, he struggles to fit his desires into the strict mores of the day. The third story takes us to post-WWII America, where war-weary Romeo, Juliet, and Mercutio long for the right to love whom they choose. The final story in the collection brings the three characters into contemporary times, a band on a road trip that will change their lives forever.
Review: I liked this author’s style of dividing this novella up into four acts keeping it in the form of a play. Setting them in four different era’s dating from the 14th century to the present time giving Romeo and Juliet a modern twist. This book has well written style changes to match the era, that each of the tales represent. All four stories not only contain the love and tragedy you expect from a romance, the author also gives good examples of the characters’ and society’s attitude to same sex relationships through the ages.
Each story has three main characters Romeo, Juliet and Mercutio with slight variations of their names to suit the time period and continues with the theme of the feuding Montague and Capulet families.
Act 1 is the shortest of the four stories and is the closest in keeping with 14th century Shakespearean style. I didn’t feel I made much of a connection with the characters here due to the shortness of this story. Although in essence the shortness was significant and well written and didn’t spoil my enjoyment.
Act 2 set in the 19th century Victorian London, where Romeo attempts to win the heart and hand of Juliet. Again, I enjoyed the style change with the writing here, giving me a feel of the social etiquette and banter between the characters for this era.
Act 3 set in post WWII America is where I found empathy and a connection with the characters. This storyline certainly held my interest, I found the characters intriguing. I had real feeling for them. It left me wanting more, I could read a novel on this storyline alone.
Act 4 is set in 2012 with a teenage Rom setting out to seduce Julie at her birthday party, this gave the feeling of a modern Romeo and Juliet. I had expected a little more on reaching the final Act, as I enjoyed Act 3 so much. I started to lose interest with the characters here, but I feel that this was simply just not a storyline for me. Having said that, I liked the distinct changes in style of the characters throughout, and Act 4 really added to the experience.
Overall I really like what the author did with this book, an intriguing and enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Teddy