Friday, October 21, 2011

Juliet by Anne Fortier

by Anne Fortier
  • Title: Juliet by Anne Fortier
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Realistic Fiction/Shakespeare Remake
  • Format: Hardcover, 447 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 24, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0345516117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345516114
  • Author's website:
 They say love conquers all, but can it transcend death itself?

When Julie's aunt died, she expected to get half of her estate. Unfortunately, when the will was read that did not happen. Her twin sister inherited all but a few pictures which were selected for Julie. To say she was devastated and shocked would be an understatement. When Umberto, the man who had acted as both butler and stand in father, told her that there was a reason she'd been cut out of her aunt's will she was intrigued. She found out her aunt had given her and her sister new identities after their mother's death. Their actual names were Giulietta and Giannozza Tolomei. Apparently, her mother had left her a treasure of her own and her aunt felt it was only fair that she give Janice, Julie's sister, the majority of her own estate. Armed with a key to a bank's safety deposit box and the money she had left in her savings, Julie headed out to Sienna in search of the treasure her mother supposedly left her. What she found, however, was totally unexpected. For the box held a journal of what appeared to be the real story that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was based off. A story that took place in Sienna, Italy in 1340. Plus, she learns that she and her sister are related to the original Juliet. Slowly, as the tale of the true Romeo and Juliet is divulged, a hidden treasure and a family curse are revealed. Julie's life will be endangered, and she'll not know who to trust as everything she thought she knew about her family is put into question, and an outstanding question will remain--Could she be Juliet reincarnated? Could she be fated to finally get her happily ever after with her true love Romeo?

     You're a Salimbeni, I'm a Tolomei. We're destined to be enemies."
     His smile returned. "Or lovers."
     I started laughing, mostly with surprise. "Oh, no! You are a Salimbeni, and as it turns out, Salimbeni was Shakespeare's Paris, the rich guy who wanted to marry Juliet after she had secretly married Romeo!"
     Allessandro took the news in stride. "Ah yes, now I remember: the rich handsome Paris. That's me?"
     "Looks like it." I let out a theatrical sigh. "Lest we forget, my ancestor, Giulietta Tolomei, was in love with Romeo Marescotti, but was forced into an engagement with the evil Salimbeni, your ancestor! She was trapped in a lovers' triangle, just like Shakespeare's Juliet." 
     "I am evil too?" Alessandro liked the story better and better. "Rich, handsome, and evil. Not a bad role." He thought about it for a moment then added, more quietly, "You know, between you and me, I always thought Paris was a much better man than Romeo. In my opinion, Juliet was an idiot." 
     I stopped in the middle of the street. "Excuse me?" 
     Alessandro stopped, too. "Think about it. If Juliet had met Paris first, she would have fallen in love with him instead. And they would have lived happily ever after. She was ready to fall in love." 

What if Shakespeare got it wrong? 

I truly enjoyed this slightly twisted tale of Romeo and Juliet. It was fun, held my attention, and had so much going on it never got boring. I liked the flipping between past and present. I liked the interaction and banter between Alessandro and Julie and also between Romeo and Juliet. The ending got a little crazy, but I think that is what made it such a fun tale. You didn't know what would come next or who to trust. The mystery of whether or not there was a treasure and what happened to some missing artifacts was fun.  

Alessandro and Romeo were my favorite characters, followed by Juliet. They all had such good lines that left me smiling, laughing and giggling a lot. I liked how Julie seemed to gain confidence throughout the novel and started trusting her own instincts. While at the beginning she seemed to stand in her sister's shadow, by the end she seemed to stand on her own. Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. A truly fun and lighthearted read with a happy ending.

Images of Sienna gotten off of photobucket:

The Siena City Tower (Torre del Mangia)
     " A lily, he called it, a proud monument to female purity with its white stone flower held aloft by a tall red stem. And curiously, it had been built with no foundation. The Mangia Tower (above), he claimed, had stood for over six centuries, held up by the grace of God and faith alone.
     I blocked the sun with my hand and looked at the tower as it stretched against the infinite blue. In not other place had I seen female purity celebrated by a 355-foot phallic object. But maybe that was just me."

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