If you're looking for a delightful book to cap off your summer, BookBrowse readers recommend Juliet. Here's what they have to say:
Family rivalries, Italian history, love, betrayal and suspense all play a role in this elegantly penned novel based upon Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Julie, aka Giulietta, travels to Siena, Italy and finds herself embroiled in an age-old feud between two of Sienna's most prominent families. Her search for truth and hidden treasure take her back to the year 1340 AD where the world of medieval legends come alive (Sharon V). Each time the action shifted from present day to 1340 or back, I was disappointed at leaving the story I was engrossed in, but within a page was just as lost in the other story. Ms Fortier takes the well-known elements of Romeo and Juliet and weaves them into an entirely new tale that keeps the reader guessing and wanting more and even manages a surprising ending (Stephanie W).
Whether it was purely Fortier's story telling power or my love of all things Shakespeare, Italy and ghostly - three chapters in and I was hooked! As the story unfolded and switched between present day and ancient Siena I couldn't turn the pages quick enough to find out what twist the story would take next - none of which were even remotely predictable (Glenn H). The author had just the right amount of history, romance, mystery and secrets to keep me interested and to keep my mind working to unravel the secrets (Shirley F).
Juliet is one of those amazing debut novels you will be so glad you that did not pass up. This quest-filled historical romance has a shining combination of magic, mystery and romance all told with scintillating humor and contemporary zing (Kathrin C)!
While 21 out of 24 of our readers gave Juliet 4 or 5 stars, even some who rated it highly were disappointed with some aspects of the novel, and a few truly disliked it:
I wanted to like this book, really I did! The premise was interesting, but I found the storyline set in 1340 so much more interesting than the storyline set in the present day. The author obviously did her research, but there were too many "coincidences" for me to even pretend to believe the modern day storyline. I tried to suspend my disbelief and really tried to get caught up in the twists the book took but it just didn't grab me (Baba). There is clumsiness in the prose, and at times it reads like a trashy romance, suggestive of an editor who fell short (Joanne H). The scenes are rich with Italian flavor although somewhat drawn out and the characters seem pulled from a fairy tale rather than developed from within (Sharon V). This Da Vinci Code "wannabe" is filled with a predictable plot and cliché characters (Deanna W), but if you want an enjoyable beach read, Juliet would be a reasonable choice (Joanne H).
The bottom line:
This book was FUN (Colleen T)! I could not put it down. It had all the elements I look for in a good book - romance, mystery, surprises at every turn. I loved the connection to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Ms. Fortier brought us back and forth between 1340 and the present, without confusing the reader. The style and historic references reminded me of Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code (Laura Q). With likable characters and a compelling mystery, it is easy to stay up way past bedtime lost in Fortier's worlds (Diane H). I'd classify this as a good book to take on vacation, not to be taken too seriously, but to be enjoyed. I can see this book appealing to older teens as well as adult readers (Jean N).
This review was originally published in September 2010, and has been updated for the July 2011 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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