Juliet by Anne Fortier
Publication Date: August, 2010
Publisher: Random House
Format: Hardcover, 447 pp
(Received for review from Pump Up Your Book Promotions)
Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):
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 Julie's twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key - one carried by her mother on the day she herself died - to a safety deposit box in Siena, Italy.
The key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever - a 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 it's pinnacle in Shakespeare's famous tragedy.
But six centuries have a way of catching up with the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and the 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 her - superstitions, 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 curse - "A plague on both your houses" - is still at work, and 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 tied - for better or worse - to literature's greatest star-crossed lovers.
Anne Fortier captures the imagination of the reader from the first page. Anyone who as ever read or seen Shakespeare's, Romeo and Juliet will be engaged and enchanted by this modern retelling of the classic star-crossed love story. There are so many elements of this book that could be discussed, from the writing style to the characterizations. Readers will be swept away buy the love story elements of the book, while being intrigued and glued to the novel by the suspense elements. Its a novel that will hold the interest of many different types of readers.
Julie Jacobs finds herself in Siena, Italy looking for information about her ancestors, while hoping to find a inheritance left to her by her aunt Rose. What she doesn't expect is to find that she is descended from Giulietta Tolomei, whose story inspired the world and became the basis for Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. The families involved in the real life story of Giulietta and Romeo are still feuding and Julie finds herself right in the middle of it. From mobsters to mysterious motorcyclists, this novel is full of action as well as love.
I'm not sure how I can express how much I enjoyed this novel. It has definitely made its way into my top ten of the year. I loved the way Fortier bounced from antique text and stories from the past, back to the modern story of Julie. It's a contemporary novel with a historical aspect. Being a former history major I found that element very satisfying. Readers of books like the Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons will really enjoy this type of read.
Julie's character is quirky yet very intelligent. She finds herself in the middle of very sticky situation. To start with she shows real fortitude when she finds that her aunt has left her entire estate to her twin sister, and all she gets is a key. She doesn't despair but tries to figure out the meaning of all this. Once she reaches Siena is confronted by circumstances that would cause most women to sit down and cry, not Julie, she continues her quest until the end. I liked her spunk, her determination and the fact that she realizes that she can't do everything on her own, she is going to have to make herself vulnerable and trust someone.
I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good story, full of love and loss, mystery and suspense. The cover is absolutely gorgeous as well.
Juliet is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Here is some additional information about Anne Fortier.
Anne Fortier grew up in Denmark and emigrated to the United States in 2002 to work in film. She co-produced the Emmy-winning documentary, Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia and holds a Ph.D in the history of ideas from Aarhus University in Denmark. The story of Juliet was inspired by Anne Fortier's mother, who always considered Verona her true home... until she discovered Siena.