Saturday, July 17, 2010

Juliet – A Review

Disclaimer:  A copy of this book was provided by Goodreads for review. The views expressed here are honest and are in no way influenced by the author or the publisher.

Synopsis via Goodreads

 Of all the great love stories ever told, hers is perhaps the most famous. To me, she is the key to my family's fate. To you, she is Juliet.

When Julie Jacobs leaves for Italy per the instructions of her late aunt's will, she never imagines that she'll be thrust into a centuries-old feud, not to mention one of the most legendary romances of all time. However, as she uncovers the story of her ancestor, Giulietta, whose love for a man named Romeo proved ill-fated, Julie finds herself increasingly under threat, and can't help but feel that the past and present are very much connected. Juliet is a gripping historical novel of great passion and scope from a remarkable debut author

My Review

I really jumped at the chance to review this historical fiction because the entire package (the title, synopsis and the book cover) was really appealing to me. And I have to admit, I did enjoy the story. Who knew that I would begin to have an appreciation (whether it is a negative or positive one will have to be put aside for another rant…I mean discussion) for Shakespeare.  In Juliet, Ann Fortier seeks to bring some truth to one of Shakespeare most popular plays Romeo and Juliet while wrapping in it modern day romance and suspense.

This story intertwines with Julie Jacobs in the present and Giulietta Tolomie (Juliet) in 1340. The former is the descendant of the real life version of Juliet and is thus thrust into a mystery and a curse that surrounds this famous couple.  The tactic of meshing the past with the present and vice versa made it really difficult to put this book down. I think it really helped to create a sort of natural suspense for the reader since both periods are juxtaposed and so the only way for you to find out what happens to one character in one particular period is to first read about the other character.

The author also recreates Siena so vividly that it makes you want to go live there. The architecture, the people, the food and the local parlance are all well described and well represented in Fortier’s debut novel. As Fortier states in her Author’s Note “While Juliet is a work of fiction, it is steeped in historical fact.” This statement is testimony to the level of research that went into this piece. The information did not overwhelm you but instead encouraged you to do your own research into some of the themes that Fortier brings out in the book.

I was not always convinced of the characters themselves though.  Julie at times was inconsistent and her strained relationship with her sister was over exaggerated. I mean how many times do you have to spell it out for the readers…Julie is the antithesis of Janice. I think that the characters who were much more interesting to me were the ones featured in 1340.  They had more depth than the modern day ones and were much more exciting to get to know.  Readers should also watch out for the plethora of clues that are revealed in the book. Some of them feel unresolved by the time you are finished reading, some of them you forget and some of them are a bit confusing.

Juliet is romantic and full of suspense and I think that people would forgive its size (its 447 pages long) for the share fact that it’s good. Anne Fortier is definitely an author to watch and I look forward to reading more from her.


Jules@OneBookShy said...

This sounds like a great read. Just had to go and add it to my TBR list! Thanks for the review.

Alison said...

I just reviewed this book, too!

You point out some things that I missed--like Julie's character. Yes, I get it--She and Janice don't get along. My sister and I don't get along, but we're not at each other's throats *that* much.

I really didn't like that Julie and Alessandro went from hating each other to getting married in such a short period of time. Not! Realistic!

The Bookish Type said...

I've had my eye on this book. It reminds me a little of that movie Letters to Juliet - I've been wondering if the movie was based on this book. I love Shakespeare, but Romeo & Juliet isn't my favorite. However, from your description, I think I would really enjoy this book - it sounds like it would bring a lot more to the story of the two overly hormonal teenagers that Shakespeare created. I like the blending of past and present - it sounds like it would be a really haunting story. Thanks for the informative review!

jewelknits said...

Yours is the second positive review I've read on this book, and you know that I love historical fiction! I really really have to stop reading good reviews, as I'll never get through my to-buy and tbr list at this rate!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

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