Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler

Lady MacBethad Book Cover

Lady MacBethad
Isabelle Schuler
General Fiction (Adult) | Historical Fiction
Bloomsbury Publishing
02 Mar 2023


Daughter of an ousted king, a descendant of ancient druids, as a child it is prophesied that one-day Gruoch will be queen of Alba.

When she is betrothed to Duncan, heir elect, this appears to confirm the prophecy. She leaves behind her home, her family, and her close friend MacBethad, and travels to the royal seat at Scone to embrace her new position.

But nothing is as Gruoch anticipates. Duncan's court is filled with sly words and unfriendly faces, women desperate to usurp her position, and others whose motives are shrouded in mystery. As her coronation approaches, a deadly turn of events forces Gruoch to flee Duncan and the capital, finding herself alone, vulnerable, and at the mercy of an old enemy. Her hope of becoming Queen is all but lost, Gruoch does what she must to survive, vowing that one day she will fulfill her destiny and take up the future owed to her. Whatever it may take.

I recently had the opportunity to read Isabelle Schuler’s novel, ‘Lady MacBethad.’ As a fan of Shakespeare’s works, I was intrigued by the idea of a retelling of ‘Macbeth’ from Lady Macbeth’s perspective. I must say, I was not disappointed.

Schuler’s writing style is captivating and engaging, drawing the reader in from the very first page. The story is told from Lady Macbeth’s point of view, allowing the reader to see into the mind of one of Shakespeare’s most infamous characters. Schuler does a fantastic job of delving into the psyche of Lady Macbeth, showcasing her ambition, manipulative nature, and ultimately, her descent into madness.

What I appreciated most about this novel was the way Schuler humanized Lady Macbeth. Often portrayed as a cold and heartless villain, Schuler’s characterization of her showed a vulnerable and complex woman. Lady Macbeth’s actions are not excused, but they are given context and depth, making her a more sympathetic character.

The plot of ‘Lady MacBethad’ stays true to the original play, but Schuler adds her own twists and turns, keeping the story fresh and unpredictable. The pacing is perfect, with just the right amount of tension and suspense to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

One aspect of the novel that stood out to me was Schuler’s use of language. She seamlessly weaves in phrases and lines from the original play, paying homage to Shakespeare’s work while also adding her own unique voice. It was a delight to see how she incorporated these elements into the story.

In addition to the captivating storytelling, ‘Lady MacBethad’ also has a strong message about the dangers of ambition and the consequences of one’s actions. It serves as a cautionary tale, reminding readers that greed and ambition can lead to destruction.

Overall, ‘Lady MacBethad’ is a gripping and thought-provoking read. Isabelle Schuler has done a remarkable job of retelling a classic story in a fresh and compelling way. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves Shakespeare, historical fiction, or a good psychological thriller.


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