Juliet by Anne Fortier

>>  Monday, December 26, 2011

Juliet by Anne Fortier
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-1554684991
Published Aug 13, 2010
Hardcover, 464 pages

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time. I finally picked it up because it's was one of my planned reads for the Italy in Books Challenge. This is one reason I love challenges. It motivates us to read the books we've been wanting to read. So did this book live up to my expectations? Yes, for the most part.

Julie and her twin sister Janice were adopted as children by their aunt Rose. When Rose dies, Janice inherits the entire estate while Julie only gets a key that once belonged to their mother. But things are not what they seem as Julie travels to Siena, Italy and discovers that the key opens a safety deposit box that leads her on a hunt to find treasure that is related to her ancestor, Julietta Tolomei, who is the famous Juliet of Romeo.

The story alternates between the present and the past. In the present, Julie meets Alessandro who is allegedly from the family that was enemies with her ancestors. In the medieval past, we meet Julietta who falls in love with Romeo in a story different from the Shakespearean version. Both stories are interesting, although I did really like the one in the past because I love historical fiction. There's a lot going on in this novel. Intrigue, romance, mystery, adventure and history. Not a dull moment. I loved the setting of Siena, Italy and how even in the present it wasn't much different than in the past.

The historical aspect of this story was great and I loved how the author built around the story of Romeo and Juliet and tied it in with present day characters. I felt the historical story was better developed than the  one set in the present and felt some present day scenes were superfluous. The romance between Julietta and Romeo was also better developed than the one between Julie and Alessandro.

Although Julie and Janice are twins they never got along and are practically enemies but there's a shift at some point and suddenly they are acting like long-lost sisters. It confused me, especially since the author spent considerable time showing how ruthless and unfeeling Janice was toward Julie even as a child. This abrupt change in their relationship seemed unbelievable to me because the story only takes place within the span of a week or two.

But apart from this, I did enjoy this book a lot. This was a suspenseful tale with lots of twists and turns, spunky women characters, detailed history and a beautiful setting. It was the perfect escape novel.

Note: This book is rated P = profanity for some religious expletives.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: Italy in Books Challenge, Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge

Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: I bought this book and was not told how to rate or review this product.

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