The Banished Heart - Libi Astaire

Oh, how very much I wanted to like this book.  

And yet, it turned out to be quite average at the end of the day.

Paul is a Jewish student in Berlin during Hitler's rise; he has written a thesis about Rodrigo Lopez, on whom Shylock is based, after reading an antiquarian book loaned to him by an advisor.

The book disappears, his advisor is replaced, and he writes a new thesis based on what the new advisor tells him to do ... and is beaten to death the day of his thesis defense by the Brown Shirts.

The Heavenly Council gives him a chance to re-write his thesis on the original topic ... and sends him to Shakespeare's London in the person of Henry Rivers ... who subsequently becomes such a minor character that we hardly see him, while the author focuses on William Shakespeare.

It became very apparent to me that Paul was just the vehicle to get to where the author wanted to be in the first place, which makes me wonder why she bothered to create him.

The ending, when we finally meet Paul again, felt very tacked-on and rushed.  The premise was a good one, but in my opinion, the execution fell short.