A classic tale is retold in Jeanette Winterson’s 2016 book “The Gap of Time.” This adaptation puts a modern twist onto Shakespeare’s 1611 “A Winter’s Tale” and allows readers to relate to the play on a whole new level.

While I myself had never read or seen the original play, Winterson’s book starts out with a detailed synopsis, which gave me an understanding of the basic plot of what I would be reading. Only after reading the novel did I do some research on the original written piece. I found that the 289-paged “cover version,” as Winterson labeled it, and the original mirrored one another quite well, minus the uniquely converted names, location changes, modern technology and more common language. 

As I was reading, it was obvious to me that Winterson is British. Words and phrases that are different from American English are sprinkled throughout the novel. I didn’t find it distracting, as I had read many British authors throughout my middle school and high school years. I did, however, have to look up a few words to dispel minor confusions on topics of business, travel and certain historical references I was never exposed to before, especially those that were common in Europe and not in America. 

One conclusion I came to was this is not a children’s book. While many of Shakespeare’s plays have innuendos hidden amid the text, Winterson has no shame. There were certainly moments when I was slightly uncomfortable reading sexual tensions and perverted rage that were written so bluntly. One character, Leo (aka King Leontes), has an extremely disgusting personality. His vulgar mouth and incredibly insane actions made me angry, but also kept me intrigued with how the author was going to give him what I believed he deserved. 

The familiar emotions of anger, sorrow, jealousy and fear were brilliantly balanced with romance, adventure and purity. This is a story of forgiveness, and it tells a unique story of authentic love. I found myself unable to determine who the “bad guy” really was and whether or not the “good guys” were really all that good. 

My only real concerns with “The Gap of Time” are the seemingly random time gaps (most likely due to the book being adapted from a written play), long philosophical paragraphs that did not have a clear speaker and how rushed the last few chapters felt. I cannot complain too much, as I truly am fond of this book, but I did have to reread a page or two every so often to understand what was going on through these times.

By the end of the book, I was searching for more pages. This book was in my hands for a collective time of five to six days maximum, and now that it is done, I almost feel as though I am still waiting for the next chapter to come out. I am excited to say that I am interested in reading more modernized Shakespeare-inspired books within Hogarth Press’s section of Penguin Random House publishing. 

Angelique Inchierca can be contacted at:


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