Juliet, an ambitious, utterly engaging historical novel on the scale of The Thirteenth Tale and The Birth of Venus, follows a young woman who discovers that her familys origins reach all the way back to literatures greatest star-crossed lovers.
Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julies twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a keyone carried by her mother on the day she herself diedto a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.
This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forevera journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeares famous tragedy.
But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding hersuperstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud, she begins to fear that the notorious curseA plague on both your houses!is still at work, and that she is destined to be its next target. Only someone like Romeo, it seems, could save her from this dreaded fate, but his story ended long ago. Or did it?
From Anne Fortier comes a sweeping, beautifully written novel of intrigue and identity, of love and legacy, as a young woman discovers that her own fate is irrevocably tiedfor better or worseto literatures greatest star-crossed lovers.
Alack, alack, what blood is this which stains
The stony entrance of this sepulchre?
It has taken me a while to figure out where to start. You could argue that my story began more than six hundred years ago, with a highway robbery in medieval Tuscany. Or, more recently, with a dance and a kiss at Castello Salimbeni, when my parents met for the first time. But I would never have come to know any of this without the event that changed my life overnight and forced me to travel to Italy in search of the past. That event was the death of my great-aunt Rose.
It took Umberto three days to find me and tell me the sad news. Considering my virtuosity in the art of disappearing, I am amazed he succeeded at all. But then, Umberto always had an uncanny ability to read my mind and predict my movements, and besides, there were only so many Shakespeare summer camps in Virginia.
How long he stood there, watching the theater performance from the back of the room, I do not know. I was backstage...
If you're looking for a delightful book to cap off your summer, BookBrowse readers recommend Juliet:
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). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (627 words).
Search the web for "famous love stories" and you'll find that most sites rank Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in 1st place. Considering how few of the general populous will have actually read or watched a performance of Shakespeare's arguably most famous play in recent years it seems likely that what keeps this pair of star-crossed lovers in everyone's minds is not Shakespeare's work itself but the countless adaptations, parodies and representations of it since it was first performed in the late 16th century. In fact, it's difficult to imagine a single literary work that has inspired more artistic endeavors. Tchaikovsky's overture, Prokofiev's ballet and West Side Story are just the tip of the iceberg - various sources estimate there are ...
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From NYT bestselling author Ann Leary
The captivating story of an unconventional New England family.
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