Shakespeare's Secret Info

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Starting sixth grade at a new school is never easy,
especially when your name is Hero. Named after a character in a
Shakespeare play, Hero isn't at all interested in this literary
connection. But when she's told by an eccentric neighbor that there
might be a million dollar diamond hidden in her new house and that it
could reveal something about Shakespeare's true identity, Hero is
determined to live up to her name and uncover the mystery.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.19

8119 Ratings

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for Shakespeare's Secret:

4

Jan 22, 2019

I was charmed by this little mystery within a mystery. I love that there is a Shakespeare thread and a history thread and a school thread and a family mystery. It all works so well. Hero has moved into a new house and a new school. She is having a difficult time making friends. She does make friends with her next door neighbor, Mrs. Roth who is a grandmother type. Hero is made fun of for her name. Her parents named her after the play "Much ado about Nothing".

Danny shows up at Mrs. Roth one day I was charmed by this little mystery within a mystery. I love that there is a Shakespeare thread and a history thread and a school thread and a family mystery. It all works so well. Hero has moved into a new house and a new school. She is having a difficult time making friends. She does make friends with her next door neighbor, Mrs. Roth who is a grandmother type. Hero is made fun of for her name. Her parents named her after the play "Much ado about Nothing".

Danny shows up at Mrs. Roth one day and he is like the really cool kid at school. They start exploring the idea of did Shakespeare write Shakespeare and her dad is a Shakespeare scholar. They come up with some exciting theory and in the story, they prove it's worth. I had so much fun reading this story. The mysteries are wrapped up nicely and I won't spoil them here.

What I realized today thinking of this book is that I did figure most of the story out. I think when you get older and you have read a ton of stuff, it becomes easier to see threads the author is putting together and sorting out the logical direction of a story. It can be easy to get jade because as a reader, we don't get that surprise we got as newer readers. Even though I did figure things out, I still loved the characters and the mystery that was set up. It was all so fun and I enjoyed the read. I realized that what makes a book really wildly popular is that it can surprise even the most jaded reader with something new. So, it becomes for most people setting up great story lines and great characters and I feel this story did that.

I appreciate this little story. It makes me want to read 'Much Ado about Nothing' again too. I like the friendship that blooms between Hero and Danny and hero and Mrs Roth. I love the conclusion and it all feels so nice. I'm glad I found this before the library got rid of it. ...more
2

Jan 19, 2008

Shakespeare’s Secret’s main character is Hero Netherfield, a 6th grade girl who is trying to adjust to a new school. She is an outcast that contrasts greatly to her outgoing, pretty sister Beatrice. Both girls get their names from the Shakespearian play Much Ado About Nothing, which is a favorite of their Shakespearian scholar father. Hero is miserable because of the teasing of classmates, but the friendship of an elderly neighbor and a neighborhood boy who confides the details of a famous Shakespeare’s Secret’s main character is Hero Netherfield, a 6th grade girl who is trying to adjust to a new school. She is an outcast that contrasts greatly to her outgoing, pretty sister Beatrice. Both girls get their names from the Shakespearian play Much Ado About Nothing, which is a favorite of their Shakespearian scholar father. Hero is miserable because of the teasing of classmates, but the friendship of an elderly neighbor and a neighborhood boy who confides the details of a famous missing million dollar diamond makes things a bit more bearable. The fact that the diamond is rumored to be hidden in the house that Hero’s family has moved in to makes this mystery very personal for Hero.
This fictional novel is a mystery, but it takes information about Shakespeare and other figures of Elizabethan history and uses them to tell the story. Broach uses the same device that Dan Brown used when writing The Da Vinci Code. Shakespeare’s Secret contains some historical facts, some hypotheses from scholars, and events completely made up by the author to create a mystery about a missing diamond from a necklace that may have belonged to Ann Boleyn. I hope that students read the Author’s Note at the end of the novel which clarifies what is real, what is speculation, and what is fiction. If I were to be using this in my classroom I would make an entire lesson of reading the Author’s Note and discussing the difference between truth and fiction. As The Da Vinci Code left some adults with misconceptions, Shakespeare’s Secret could do the same if not properly discussed.
Shakespeare’s Secret is intended for students in grades 4th-8th. The story does not contain anything that is obviously inappropriate, but it does allude to figures in history having “lovers”, and there is some mention of rude things written on boy’s restroom walls, but the author is vague about what might be the content of this vandalism. The central theme of this novel is friendship and secrets, but toward the end of the story, school violence and harassment is brought up. This would lead to interesting discussion in the classroom on how harassment is dealt with by teachers and administrators.
Shakespeare’s Secret has been frequently reviewed, and across the board the reviews were favorable. The reviewer from Booklist thought that readers would enjoy the “true emotions and rich language”. I agree with the reviewer from Horn Book that this was an “absorbing” story, but that it did tend to “strain credibility too far”. Despite its minor flaws, Shakespeare’s Secret is a great story that will spark great discussions.

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4

May 25, 2008

This was a fun and quick read that I was previewing as a possibility for Sarah to read. I think I've decided to let it wait another year or so--mostly because I just think she'll enjoy it more then. She's going into third grade next year, and the main characters are in sixth and eighth grades, so the context is just a little bit older for her.

Anyway, this is the story of Hero (named after the character in Much Ado about Nothing) and her family who move into a new town and a house with a This was a fun and quick read that I was previewing as a possibility for Sarah to read. I think I've decided to let it wait another year or so--mostly because I just think she'll enjoy it more then. She's going into third grade next year, and the main characters are in sixth and eighth grades, so the context is just a little bit older for her.

Anyway, this is the story of Hero (named after the character in Much Ado about Nothing) and her family who move into a new town and a house with a mystery--a missing diamond purported to be hidden on the property. Hero and her new friends, Miriam (an elderly neighbor) and Danny (an eighth grader who may be able to save Hero from being a total outcast at school), are determined to find the diamond. On the way, they may even unravel the mystery of who really wrote Shakespeare's plays...

I enjoyed the historical aspect of this story--the author is an historian--as well as the characters' development. The mystery, while not difficult for an adult to figure out, is fleshed out nicely, and there is a lovely happy ending, which when I was young was the determining factor in liking a book. I think this is a good, intelligent read-aloud or independent read for upper elementary to middle school kids. ...more
4

Aug 23, 2013

OH MY GOD.


I actually bought this book, and have read it cover to cover so, so many times. So, you can figure out that after I moved into my new house, I would want to reread this book again, right? Well, you are correct. But, always remember this. Moving does some things to your stuff. Bad things.


There was a freaking DEAD SPIDER flattened on one of the pages in the book! Dead! With its... stuff in its body all splattered out! Can you imagine my horror? My freaking horror? It scared the HECK OH MY GOD.


I actually bought this book, and have read it cover to cover so, so many times. So, you can figure out that after I moved into my new house, I would want to reread this book again, right? Well, you are correct. But, always remember this. Moving does some things to your stuff. Bad things.


There was a freaking DEAD SPIDER flattened on one of the pages in the book! Dead! With its... stuff in its body all splattered out! Can you imagine my horror? My freaking horror? It scared the HECK out of me. Unfortunately, this has been one of my favorite mystery books. But I can't read it anymore. Simply too lazy to go get it from the library.


Back to the review. I love, loved this book. Hero is a great name, but for a girl, I don't think so. I do think it could have worked on a guy. Maybe Heroine? Blech. But, she lived with her name at the end, without being embarrassed, and she made friends at her new school! I love happy endings. Not sappy endings though, like you know those really cheesy endings in fairytales? I dislike those.


Hero had thoughts that any sixth grade girl would have at her new school. Elise Broach showed that amazingly in her story. Danny was nice, easy going, laid back. He wasn't one of those horrible guys who are disrespectful to their parents, elderly... Unfortunately, I see horrible guys like that A LOT. I've learned to ignore it. But I liked how Danny was so sweet towards his grandmother, Ms. Roth, towards the end of the book. Wonderful ending, yes?


I live in Maryland, and I wish there was a diamond in my house. Well, there are, but it's jewelry, like a ring or something. I'm talking about the diamond Hero found. She deserved the happy ending. In the beginning of the book, when Hero talked about her sisters decorating style of her room, I was kind of confused. So, did she pin posters to her ceiling, so when you walked in there was a poster hanging in front of you? That's nice actually.


I recommend this book to someone who likes mysteries, but aren't obsessed about them. Someone who likes to read mysteries once in a while, not all the time. Hope you enjoyed the review :) ...more
4

Dec 30, 2008

There was so many different aspects of this book that appeal to different people. If you like mysteries then there's that aspect of the book. If you like history, then there's the Shakespeare angle. If you like realistic fiction about middle school angst, then there's that angle too. My only criticism of the book is that sometime Broach used her description to excess and she also made it appear as if the mystery that was solved at the end of the story was historically accurate. Of course, that There was so many different aspects of this book that appeal to different people. If you like mysteries then there's that aspect of the book. If you like history, then there's the Shakespeare angle. If you like realistic fiction about middle school angst, then there's that angle too. My only criticism of the book is that sometime Broach used her description to excess and she also made it appear as if the mystery that was solved at the end of the story was historically accurate. Of course, that problem is alleviated at the very back of the book if you read the author's note where she explains her position.

I really like that this book gives kids a little taste of ideas and theories of Shakespeare before they actually begin to learn it. I have to commend the author for wanting to expose a younger audience to the playwright whom they will inevitably have to read a few years down the road in high school. ...more
3

Sep 21, 2007

I listened to this book while doing my tri-state pre-Christmas driving tour. That is to say, I listened to the whole thing while driving from Williamsburg to Leesburg, then to College Park, MD, then to Alexandria, then back to Richmond where I shuttled between my parents' house and Judson's parents' house. Lots of driving, lots of time to follow along with the mystery.

I liked the main character - something that rarely happens - and I liked the premise. This is a story about a lonely, slightly I listened to this book while doing my tri-state pre-Christmas driving tour. That is to say, I listened to the whole thing while driving from Williamsburg to Leesburg, then to College Park, MD, then to Alexandria, then back to Richmond where I shuttled between my parents' house and Judson's parents' house. Lots of driving, lots of time to follow along with the mystery.

I liked the main character - something that rarely happens - and I liked the premise. This is a story about a lonely, slightly geeky girl who worries about fitting in even though she has very little desire to be like anyone else. She strikes up two unlikely friendships, and character development ensues. In all honesty, I was much more interested in the evolution of those friendships than the "mystery," which I found to be a little Hardy Boys-ish. ...more
4

Jul 06, 2008

This is a fabulous book to give kids if you want to open up a discussion on the authorship question of Shakepeare's works. Plus it is just great fun! I read it again today for my upcoming colloquium for the Shakespeare class I teach. Loved it all over again and I cannot wait to discuss it with the kids!
Quote I loved: "That's the real mystery, isn't it? Not whether he was a common merchant or the queen's son, but how he could understand so much about human nature. And write about it in a way that This is a fabulous book to give kids if you want to open up a discussion on the authorship question of Shakepeare's works. Plus it is just great fun! I read it again today for my upcoming colloquium for the Shakespeare class I teach. Loved it all over again and I cannot wait to discuss it with the kids!
Quote I loved: "That's the real mystery, isn't it? Not whether he was a common merchant or the queen's son, but how he could understand so much about human nature. And write about it in a way that still rings true, all these years later. That's Shakespeare's secret. And I suppose we'll never figure it out." ...more
0

Jan 06, 2016

This book has such a great plot that it deserves 6 stars. Thanks Les for recommending it.
5

Jul 11, 2017

"That's the real mystery, isn't it? Not whether he was a common merchant or the queen's son, but how he could understand so much about human nature. And write about it in a way that still rings true, all these years later." She smiled at them. "That's Shakespeare's secret. And I suppose we'll never figure it out."
When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher—a wonderful woman who loved books, and taught her students to love them, too—brought a crate of novels to class. She told us we could each "That's the real mystery, isn't it? Not whether he was a common merchant or the queen's son, but how he could understand so much about human nature. And write about it in a way that still rings true, all these years later." She smiled at them. "That's Shakespeare's secret. And I suppose we'll never figure it out."
When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher—a wonderful woman who loved books, and taught her students to love them, too—brought a crate of novels to class. She told us we could each choose one to take home, and although I'd really wanted this novel (because the cover was so elegantly drawn), my best friend ended up with it: Shakespeare's Secret.

For the next couple months of the summer, I would borrow it from her all the time. I fell in love with this story, with Hero Netherfield and Danny Cordova and Shakespeare's secret identity and the mystery of the Murphy diamond. I'm pretty sure this was the novel to catalyze—or at least make me become aware of—my infatuation with angsty romances, if a protagonist in the sixth grade can be capable of feeling such a thing. (Hero + Danny 4ever)

The summer I was enamoured with this book, I roamed my house looking for secret passageways and hidden nooks; I crushed real hard on a boy with a skateboard; I Googled Edward de Vere and read books about Anne Boleyn; and I even tried stenciling out secret patterns, just to see if Hero's technique with the pencil-rubbing worked.

Years later, this book hasn't really left my thoughts. While it hasn't impacted my life in a way that I can visibly see, or clearly articulate, it is one I still love to this day. A few days ago, I had a sudden urge to reread it, for the first time in ten years. I was worried that I would find the writing too childish, the characters too immature; I was terrified that it would not be the novel I held so cherished in my memories.

I needn't have feared. The writing in this children's book can be compared to that of young adult novels; Elise Broach writes uncondescendingly and beautifully. It's not simple, per se, but it certainly isn't complex. It's a perfect blend of both. And when I read certain passages, nostalgia would tickle the back of my mind—I remembered this phrase, and those words, and that scene. This was familiar to me. I knew this.

Now that I'm older, I can better appreciate the way that Broach has so deftly woven together several elements that make this book not only a great mystery, but a fascinating study in relationships and the human condition. This wasn't just the tale of finding the elusive Murphy diamond, worth over a million dollars; it was a lesson in forming friendships, learning to trust, facing up to bullies, expressing grief, exploring Elizabethan England, and reading some really classic lines from some really great poetry. Hero begins the story a sullen, withdrawn girl; she is ostracized and tormented by her peers, and not entirely sympathetic to the people who show her kindness. By the end, she has become someone who surprises herself with her own resilience, determination, and ultimately, her ability to let people care about her, and her for them.

And for all of these reasons, Shakespeare's Secret will forever be one of my favourite reads. ...more
5

Jan 04, 2009

Named after a character in William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, Hero has been teased about her name her whole life and expects more of the same when she starts sixth grade at a new school in a new city. She does indeed get teased, but things aren’t quite as bad as she expected as she starts to make friends both young and old. Not only that but she finds herself in the middle of a mystery – there may be a diamond hidden somewhere in her house – a diamond that may hold the key to Named after a character in William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, Hero has been teased about her name her whole life and expects more of the same when she starts sixth grade at a new school in a new city. She does indeed get teased, but things aren’t quite as bad as she expected as she starts to make friends both young and old. Not only that but she finds herself in the middle of a mystery – there may be a diamond hidden somewhere in her house – a diamond that may hold the key to Shakespeare’s true identity.

“Shakespeare’s Secret” is a novel for children ages 9 – 12 that works well on several levels. Author Elise Broach has created a great lead character in Hero Netherfield – a sixth grader who is very unsure of herself and feels that she lives in the shadow of her older sister Beatrice. Hero is a very real, if flawed, character, as she is sometimes her own worst enemy. Broach doesn’t sugar coat anything – the bullying Hero faces is very real and her friend Danny does some questionable acts. While the main mystery does involve the missing diamond (and it is fun to read as Hero and Danny search for the diamond), there is a secondary mystery involving Danny which is interesting, if a little bit too conveniently wrapped up. Mixed in with all of this are little lessons about Shakespeare and history that are so nicely woven into the story that young readers may not even realize they are learning something along the way.

“Shakespeare’s Secret” is not only a good mystery, but a good novel about a young girl who not only learns about Shakespeare, but how to deal with bullying, and what friendship is all about. Well done.
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4

May 28, 2007

Hero dreads starting at a new school again. She's never been popular like her sister Beatrice and she knows that the first day will be the worst. This first day is the worst she's ever had. When introduced to her new class, a girl in the class blurts out that her dog's name is Hero. Henceforth, Hero is known as the girl named after a dog. With no friends at school, Hero begins spending time with her neighbor Mrs. Roth who is telling her about the mystery of the large diamond that is suspected to Hero dreads starting at a new school again. She's never been popular like her sister Beatrice and she knows that the first day will be the worst. This first day is the worst she's ever had. When introduced to her new class, a girl in the class blurts out that her dog's name is Hero. Henceforth, Hero is known as the girl named after a dog. With no friends at school, Hero begins spending time with her neighbor Mrs. Roth who is telling her about the mystery of the large diamond that is suspected to be hidden in the house that Hero's family moved into. Hero just knows that the diamond is still in the house and she begins to look for it. Mrs. Roth has some clues that point to the diamond once belonging to Anne Boelyn and the two begin to piece together the history behind the diamond and its possible connection to Shakespeare.

I don't normally like mysteries, but I found this one very intriguing. There are clues that Hero and Mrs. Roth find out that lead to the solution to the mystery. There are also interesting facts about Anne Boelyn and the theory that another man might actually be the author of Shakespeare's plays. The author includes a length note about these facts that explains what was fictional and what was true.

Readalike suggestions: For mystery fans suggest "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin and "Chasing Vermeer" by Blue Balliett. ...more
4

Aug 22, 2007

Hero's family has moved. Again. That means another new school where older sister Beatrice will fit right in while Hero will be, at best, ignored. It's bad enough that Hero has a funny name, thanks to her parents' interest in Shakespeare, but Hero doesn't have the personality to quickly make friends either. Things are different in this town though - Hero makes friends with her elderly next door neighbor (good), gets teased for having a dog's name (bad), catches the attention of the cutest boy in Hero's family has moved. Again. That means another new school where older sister Beatrice will fit right in while Hero will be, at best, ignored. It's bad enough that Hero has a funny name, thanks to her parents' interest in Shakespeare, but Hero doesn't have the personality to quickly make friends either. Things are different in this town though - Hero makes friends with her elderly next door neighbor (good), gets teased for having a dog's name (bad), catches the attention of the cutest boy in school (excellent, but scary too), and finds out that a diamond with mysterious connections to Shakespeare may be hidden in HER house (awesome!). Secret clues, close escapes, and the possibility of betrayal, mean that whether Hero can solve the mystery of the diamond or not, this won't be any ordinary school year.

Filled with fun historical details, Shakespeare's Secret could easily be tied into school units on Shakespeare or English History. The clues are all laid out for readers to find - not just to where the diamond is located, but also to the relationships revealed at the end of the novel. Broach includes a timeline and historical note explaining which details in the novel are accurate since some came from her imagination. My 3rd-5th graders loved this, although some struggled to read it in the month's time.

January 2009 Cover 2 Cover selection. ...more
4

Jan 18, 2008

Hero Netherfield, a sixth grader, has enrolled in yet another new school. At this school, just as other schools, all the kids tease her about her unusual name. Everyone, that is except Danny Cordova, the coolest boy in the eighth grade. Hero is also befriended by her next door neighbor, Mrs. Roth. Danny and Mrs. Roth are already great friends. Danny and Mrs. Roth tell Hero about the beautiful Murphy diamond, a 13 carat treasure that is supposedly hidden in Hero’s new house. The diamond may have Hero Netherfield, a sixth grader, has enrolled in yet another new school. At this school, just as other schools, all the kids tease her about her unusual name. Everyone, that is except Danny Cordova, the coolest boy in the eighth grade. Hero is also befriended by her next door neighbor, Mrs. Roth. Danny and Mrs. Roth are already great friends. Danny and Mrs. Roth tell Hero about the beautiful Murphy diamond, a 13 carat treasure that is supposedly hidden in Hero’s new house. The diamond may have a connection to William Shakespeare. Not only do they want to find the diamond, they also want to figure out what the connection is to Shakespeare. Danny and Hero set out to find the diamond with the help of some puzzling clues. Surprises and twists abound in this clever mysterious adventure.
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4

Apr 16, 2019

I'm a fan of Elizabethan history and literature, so this middle-grade novel was a fun read. It's set in the present day, but delves into the recent past and the times of Shakespeare. Sixth-grader, Hero, along with her elderly neighbor, and an unlikely friend, popular eighth-grader, Danny, search for the "Murphy diamond" which may be hidden in Hero's new home. The diamond is a family heirloom linked to Edward de Vere who was rumored to be the real identity of "Shakespeare."

Hero also struggles to I'm a fan of Elizabethan history and literature, so this middle-grade novel was a fun read. It's set in the present day, but delves into the recent past and the times of Shakespeare. Sixth-grader, Hero, along with her elderly neighbor, and an unlikely friend, popular eighth-grader, Danny, search for the "Murphy diamond" which may be hidden in Hero's new home. The diamond is a family heirloom linked to Edward de Vere who was rumored to be the real identity of "Shakespeare."

Hero also struggles to fit in at a new school and faces bullying. Unlike her older sister, Hero doesn't make friends easily and feels lonely which is one reason she befriends her elderly neighbor.

It's awakened my interest in Shakespeare's plays. Now, I'd like to read "Much Ado About Nothing" to read about Hero's namesake. ...more
5

Apr 22, 2018

Shakespeare’s secret is a beautifully written, interesting, and enticing mystery that I would use in my upper grades classroom without a doubt. It is books like this one that made me realize that I love the mystery genre in Elementary School. The story follows Hero, the daughter of a sought after Shakespeare professor, who discovers that her new home may hold some secrets about the famous Victorian Poet/ Playwright. This book draws you in from the first and keeps you hooked especially if you Shakespeare’s secret is a beautifully written, interesting, and enticing mystery that I would use in my upper grades classroom without a doubt. It is books like this one that made me realize that I love the mystery genre in Elementary School. The story follows Hero, the daughter of a sought after Shakespeare professor, who discovers that her new home may hold some secrets about the famous Victorian Poet/ Playwright. This book draws you in from the first and keeps you hooked especially if you love Shakespearian references and high dollar mysteries. One way that I would use this book in my class would be to introduce a unit on Shakespeare/ poetry because his life is intertwined in the mystery and intrigue of the story. Additionally, I would use this book to help my class study figurative language- I could select passages and we could do language dives to better understand the use and beauty of figurative language. This book was a WOW for me because I absolutely love the Mystery genre and I have a special connection with Shakespeare, having studied his works and life in Oxford, England on my first trip abroad- I even had the chance to visit his birth/ death place, Stratford Upon Avon as well as his Globe Theatre.
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3

Feb 12, 2009

This book is quite intresting. So far, this girls called Hero has moved house, yet again, and is setteling into a new school, but with a name like Hero - she was named after a person out of one of shakespear's plays because her dad has some job that involves Shakespears's plays - and a sister who is perfect in every single way, starting a new school isnt the easiest thing to do. She has just found out from an old lady that lives ner them that the house she lives in once was very famous because This book is quite intresting. So far, this girls called Hero has moved house, yet again, and is setteling into a new school, but with a name like Hero - she was named after a person out of one of shakespear's plays because her dad has some job that involves Shakespears's plays - and a sister who is perfect in every single way, starting a new school isnt the easiest thing to do. She has just found out from an old lady that lives ner them that the house she lives in once was very famous because there was a big case about a diamond being stolen form the house, but people think that it wasn't stolen but that it was hidden, so Hero has decided to look for it.

Overall, i think the book is okay, the only thing that realy anoys me is that it's written in the third person, and i usually prefer books that are written in the first person 'cause you can really feel like you are the character as they describe all their feelings.
But so far, the book isn't too boring. I'm just going to have to wait and see what happens later on. ...more
5

Sep 03, 2007

Shakespeare’s Secret
By Elise Broach
2007-2008 Mark Twain Award Nominee
September 3, 2007

Wow! I am not a Shakespeare fan, but thought I would try this book because others told me it was good. It is historical fiction. The facts about the famous people in the story are (as far as we can tell) true facts. Hmm, now I may need to read some Shakespeare.
Hero is a new girl in town, and has some tension about the first day of school. Hmm, it probably could have been worse, but not much. The story Shakespeare’s Secret
By Elise Broach
2007-2008 Mark Twain Award Nominee
September 3, 2007

Wow! I am not a Shakespeare fan, but thought I would try this book because others told me it was good. It is historical fiction. The facts about the famous people in the story are (as far as we can tell) true facts. Hmm, now I may need to read some Shakespeare.
Hero is a new girl in town, and has some tension about the first day of school. Hmm, it probably could have been worse, but not much. The story continues as Hero gets used to her new class, the people in it, her new neighborhood, and the people there.
We can see a relationship between Hero and her sister Beatrice, Hero and her neighbor Mrs. Roth, and Hero and a boy she becomes acquainted with named Danny.
Read and watch as everything unfolds piece by piece, and then fits together so nicely just like the crossword puzzle in the paper. It is a book you won’t want to put down.


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5

Oct 21, 2017

Hero Netherfield is average and ordinary, compared to her beautiful, popular sister, Beatrice. Constantly having trouble finding new friends and fitting in, Hero doesn’t believe her situation will change in her new neighborhood until she meets her neighbor who tells her about the diamond mystery surrounding her new house. This new found knowledge leads her to open doors, opportunities, and relationships she never thought was possible.

A mystery story with a historical twist, Shakespeare’s Secret Hero Netherfield is average and ordinary, compared to her beautiful, popular sister, Beatrice. Constantly having trouble finding new friends and fitting in, Hero doesn’t believe her situation will change in her new neighborhood until she meets her neighbor who tells her about the diamond mystery surrounding her new house. This new found knowledge leads her to open doors, opportunities, and relationships she never thought was possible.

A mystery story with a historical twist, Shakespeare’s Secret combines a variety of aspects from Shakespeare’s works and England’s history to modern day pre-teen issues, turning the narrative into one dramatic and dynamic performance.

Recommended for grades 5-8. Lexile level: 620
Reviewed by Christine Hwang, Youth and School Services, Vernon Area Public Library
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3

Jul 27, 2007

This was an okay book.
It's about a girl named Hero, named after a character from Much Ado About Nothing, who has moved to a new town again, and has to go through the ordeal of starting at a new school. Because of her name, she finds it hard to make friends and fit in. Sure enough, the same thing happens again, but this time she doesn't mind as much, because the old lady who lives next door tells her about a diamond that might be hidden in the house Hero is living in. Suddenly there is more This was an okay book.
It's about a girl named Hero, named after a character from Much Ado About Nothing, who has moved to a new town again, and has to go through the ordeal of starting at a new school. Because of her name, she finds it hard to make friends and fit in. Sure enough, the same thing happens again, but this time she doesn't mind as much, because the old lady who lives next door tells her about a diamond that might be hidden in the house Hero is living in. Suddenly there is more adventure in her life, and also a friend, the son of the police chief...but can she trust him with the secret of the diamond?
The book was good until the end. I thought the mystery was solved way to easily, and I figured it out within the first 50 pages. Also, I think I'm getting too old and jaded for endings that are quite so sweet and coincidental. ...more
3

Jun 21, 2008

This is a fun read about Hero Netherfield, a young girl saddled with an improbable name because her father is a Shakespeare scholar.
When Hero moves to a new town, she dreads starting a new school, and the constant ribbing she'll get about her name. Her worst fears are confirmed when a fellow student blurts out that she has a dog named Hero, and the torment at school begins.

Fortunately for Hero, she has a kindly next door neighbor who alerts her to a mystery she must solve -- a mystery involving This is a fun read about Hero Netherfield, a young girl saddled with an improbable name because her father is a Shakespeare scholar.
When Hero moves to a new town, she dreads starting a new school, and the constant ribbing she'll get about her name. Her worst fears are confirmed when a fellow student blurts out that she has a dog named Hero, and the torment at school begins.

Fortunately for Hero, she has a kindly next door neighbor who alerts her to a mystery she must solve -- a mystery involving the new house she has moved into, a diamond which may have belonged to Anne Boleyn, and the very identity of Shakespeare himself.

I won't reveal the ending, but this will be great for strong readers 7-10 years old looking for a fun book. It's a battle of the books choice for this year, although to me it seems to skew younger than sixth to ninth grade. ...more
4

Dec 25, 2008

Eleven year old Hero Netherfield (named after a character in "Much Ado about Nothing") just moved into a house whose previous owner was involved in a possible insurance scam concerning a missing diamond with links to Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth 1st, and William Shakespeare. Interesting twist on one of the mysteries of history. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Elizabethan fiction, Shakespeare, or mysteries. Some good guidelines for group discussions are Eleven year old Hero Netherfield (named after a character in "Much Ado about Nothing") just moved into a house whose previous owner was involved in a possible insurance scam concerning a missing diamond with links to Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth 1st, and William Shakespeare. Interesting twist on one of the mysteries of history. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Elizabethan fiction, Shakespeare, or mysteries. Some good guidelines for group discussions are included. ...more
4

Jun 29, 2017

Mystery Within A Mystery!

Elise Broach wove historical events without dragging the contemporary tale down. She never said more about Shakespeare than what was relevant to the current story. I only say this because I had worried I'd get bored. But Hero's emotion of starting a new school, lack of acceptance, befriending the hottest guy in 8th grade, and the mystery behind the missing diamond kept me intrigued until the end. Even more fascinating, a surprise about Danny unraveled that I hadn't Mystery Within A Mystery!

Elise Broach wove historical events without dragging the contemporary tale down. She never said more about Shakespeare than what was relevant to the current story. I only say this because I had worried I'd get bored. But Hero's emotion of starting a new school, lack of acceptance, befriending the hottest guy in 8th grade, and the mystery behind the missing diamond kept me intrigued until the end. Even more fascinating, a surprise about Danny unraveled that I hadn't expected and left me in tears. (Happy tears.) This is a must read! ...more
3

Sep 30, 2015

I read this book with my 10 year old son, taking turns. That, in and of itself, always makes the book more enjoyable for me. This book had an element of mystery, and the Shakespeare theme was a great one! We both learned something new about Shakespeare - always a plus. There was the hint of infidelity in the book, but my son didn't seem to pick up on it. Given that, I would suggest middle school or even older for this book.
3

Jan 19, 2009

One of 15 middle school Sunshine State books. A mystery story about a couple of teenagers trying to track down a family's lost jewel. An intriguing friendship develops and a mystery unravels. I thought there were some parts that were a little too slow but by the time I finished, I was glad that I read the story. Many girls in my classes have read the story and said they enjoyed it. I think it is more fitting for girls than boys.
4

Dec 08, 2017

Another childhood favorite. Like The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, this book holds up better for older readers than other middle-grade novels because it's grounded in more substantial matter--again, Shakespeare. Hero is a believable protagonist, and her relationship with Miriam is quite endearing. A nice, quick read.

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