Juliet Review

Kora Mullett

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Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet, the star-cross’d lovers of Verona.  In addition to countless adaptations, Shakespeare’s immortal tale has inspired other works, such as Juliet, a romantic historical fiction novel was written by the Danish-American writer Anne Fortier. The book was published in 2010 and is highly recommended to any fanatic of the lovers’ story.  What does Julie, the main character, learn about her ancestors and herself?  Will she find her Romeo, or will she be cursed with everlasting loneliness?

This is a story about a young woman named Julie Jacobs and her twin sister Janice.  The sisters are raised by their Aunt Rose in America after their mother’s death in a car accident.  When she is in her 20s, Julie is sent on a journey to Siena, Italy with the key to a safe deposit box that belonged to the mother by their butler, Ugliengo.  The butler also gives her a letter that explains that her real name is Giulietta Tolomei and her sister’s is Gionozza.  When she finally is able to extract the contents of the safe deposit box she finds a journal belonging to Friar Lorenzo. She discovers that it’s similar to the story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which she has memorized.  She also realizes that this is the historical basis of Romeo and Juliet, or rather Giulietta.  While there she also finds out the curse that was put on Romeo and Juliet’s families is still occurring from that fateful day when Mercutio, stabbed by Tybalt, cursed their houses all those years ago.  

This book gives a more in depth explanation of the story with an easily understood writing style.  Fortier describes her characters’ emotion in depth, writing of her protagonist, “My heart stopped, and I was not breathing- in the eyes of the world I was really dead”.  Fortier’s writing is much easier to read than the Bard’s iambic pentameter, so fans who love the story but find the original confusing would enjoy this book.  As you read the narrative switches from Julie’s point of view to Friar Lorenzo’s account of her ancestor. Fans of Shakespeare’s most famous work should take this literary journey; you might find out something about this well-known story you never expected.  Rating: five out of five suns.

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