Hidden in the language of Shakespeare's best-loved comedy Much Ado About Nothing are several clues to an intriguing tale. It seems that the witty lovers Beatrice and Benedick had a previous love affair that ended bitterly. But how did they meet? Why did they part? And what brought them together again?
When nineteen-year-old Beatrice is brought to live at her uncle's court in Sicily to be a companion to his daughter, she first meets Benedick, a young soldier who is there with a Spanish lord on a month-long sojourn. As they begin to wage their war of wit, their words mask their deep love for one another. But the pair are cruelly parted by misunderstanding and slander. Heartbroken, Benedick sails to England on the ill-fated Spanish Armada. Beatrice returns to her home in the North and an unwanted betrothal. While Benedick must fight for his life on board ship, Beatrice fights for her freedom from an arranged marriage.
From the point of view of Beatrice and Benedick we hear the lovers tell their own story, taking us from the sunlit southern courts of Sicily, to the crippled Armada on the frozen northern seas, to the gorgeous Renaissance cities of the north.
From Marina Fiorato, author of the acclaimed historical novel The Glassblower of Murano, comes a beautifully imagined Beatrice and Benedick.