Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Review - "Juliet" by Anne Fortier

Julie's Aunt Rose dies and leaves the house to Julie's twin sister, Janice. Julie gets a note and a key and is sent off to Siena, Italy, to find a treasure left by her mother. She thinks Janice got the better end of the deal, but she is curious to find out about her family's past and so she follows her aunt's instructions.

Julie, born Giulietta, has always been fascinated by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and she wonders if this trip means she will meet her Romeo. She feels connected to events that happened six hundred years earlier; will history repeat itself?

Author Anne Fortier has re-imagined the story of Romeo and Juliet, which actually has basis in fact. They lived a couple hundred years before Shakespeare wrote his play and resided in Siena. Fortier allows their tale to unfold along with Julie's, making for spell-binding reading. There is a sense of events coming full circle. A curse uttered in the fourteenth century has to be undone in the twenty-first. It's hard to explain much of the plot without giving anything away, but suffice it to say that things--and people--aren't always what they seem.

I posted a while ago on a trio of books set in Italy in convents. Juliet would appeal to readers who liked those ones, even though the setting and circumstances are different. Juliet also has the element of the present day for those who like some suspense and some romance. Fortier has written a well-plotted, well-researched, well-written story. It's action-packed yet full of details that make you think you really are in Siena in 1340, participating in the annual horse race. Julie has clues to follow, knowing she is looking for a grave and a statue but not sure where to find them. Once you pick up this book, you won't want to put it down.

Another author that readers might like is Carol Goodman, specifically her book The Sonnet Lover. Shakespeare and Italy also figure in that story, but her books in general have classical references along with suspense. Also check out Luanne Rice's The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners, which is set on Capri and features a young girl trying to reconnect with her past.

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