Penelope Countess of Arcadia – a Review

Penelope arcadia

Recently, I was gifted a copy of a book for participating in an event by Helena Hann-Basquiat and I present to you my humble review of it.


Penelope Countess of Arcadia is a Shakespearean style play, starring our favorite Countess Penelope (It’s Penny damnit!), Helena and the gruesome, sleazy Empress Claudia, alongside other characters.


Not many writers would dare and pursue the wanderlust of their Shakespearean passions, beyond sonnets, and it is what makes this book intriguing from the start. The masterful use of language makes you both dizzy and enflamed, and it does make the reader want to speak and write in the same way after the last page is read. This is why I think writing books like these is important, because it inspires learning and exploring and also opens venue in which writing and storytelling alike can branch out into other directions, like theater and music.

The other reason why I think this book is important is because it depicts a situation that happens way to often in real life. It uses satire and tongue twisting rhymes, the honest bad words to paint the true faces of a myriad of bad people. I believe that by reading about situations and people in this way, it makes our minds more apt and willing to understand the situation and deal with it.


Helena and Penelope are already developed characters we love to follow and stalk through various stories, adventures and misfortunes, but Helena has given other characters the same zeal in their wrong-doing and good-willing. The rhymes, the lines, the tones and the posture make you read with ease, waiting for Empress Claudia to finally be put in her place. I especially liked the back and forth between the amorous couple of Dante and Beatrice.

This book also gives a better insight into the character of Penelope, which I as a reader personally craved. This was really Penelope’s moment to shine, and shine she did.


This book, this story of the vortex of justice and injustice, of thieves and lovers and friends and law – like a bridge between the time when Shakespeare was still holding a quill with his own hand and our precious, dirty 21st century, inspires, teaches and most of all, provides passion and fun with its pages.

If Ken ever opens up auditions to turn this into an actual play, I would definitely try out for a role.


If you would like to get this book and read it for yourself, visit the PUBSLUSH campaign, and you can pre-order it, alongside other books. The campaign ends soon, so if the book peeked your interest, you’d better hurry!


The enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.

Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

Last year, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, and is about to release Volume Two, along with a Shakespearean style tragi-comedy, entitled Penelope, Countess of Arcadia.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell. VISCERA, a collection of strange tales, will be published by Sirens Call Publications later this year. Find more of her writing at or and Connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat , and keep up with her ever growing body of work at GOODREADS, or visit her AMAZON PAGE

~ by Oloriel on March 28, 2015.

5 Responses to “Penelope Countess of Arcadia – a Review”

  1. This is such a great review!…
    I truly liked the excerpt in which you state: “(this book is) a bridge between the time when Shakespeare was still holding a quill with his own hand and our precious, dirty 21st century”… > Very eloquent.
    You make me want to read it! ~Thanks for sharing & best wishes to you. Aquileana ⭐

  2. A profound review.

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