What's not to love? It has everything! It is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, so rich in history, and laced withMYSTERY. ROMANCE. HISTORICAL-FICTION.
What's not to love? It has everything! It is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, so rich in history, and laced with mystery and action in every page, that it becomes reminiscent of The DaVinci Code!
This was a difficult book to put down and not devour in one sitting. I struggled to slow my pace and savor each line and page from the very start.
Anne Fortier did a remarkable job in crafting this amazing book! One could tell how much research was done to capture the old and timeless tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet and to successfully infuse it with fictional characters and events that feel as antiquated and believable as the original players.
So the book claims that the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet really happened in the 1340s, and that Romeo and Juliet were real people and that they lived in Siena under the names of Romeo Marescotti and Guilietta Tolomei. Just like Shakespeare's timeless love story, they died of a tragic death and that their love story was doomed from the very beginning. Awesome, right? I just love history, even if it's fictional in nature. Though the book is so rich in history, it is well-paced and the story building is well executed without it feeling overburdened with historical facts. I loved reading about the feuding families in Siena, Italy in the 14th century, about the different families/contradas, the Palio, and about the history of Siena itself and how it has worked its hardest to keep its integrity and to keep the infrastructure well-preserved to this day. Such a romantic setting to have!
And so when we continue on with this book, we find that, the female protagonist, the 25-year old Julie Jacobs, is a descendant of Guilietta Tolomei, the real Juliet. Further in the book, we find that Julie's real name is Guiletta Tolomei. She finds this out after her great-aunt, Rose, who raised her and her twin sister, Janice, left her a letter and a key and nothing else while her sister inherits everything. The letter tells Juliet that her mother, who died when she was 3 years old, left her a most valuable treasure in Siena. With the letter came a key to a safety deposit box to a bank in Siena. Disappointed and feeling cheated, Julie leaves for Siena without telling her twin sister where she was headed. And so the mystery and action begins as Julie finds out who she really is and the history of her family, the Tolomeis. But as she searches for her and her family's identity, and the hidden treasure left by her mother, she finds that her father and mother could have been murdered and that who ever was after her parents were now after her and in search of the treasure. This book has kept me at the edge of my seat at the turn of every page! Mysteries unfolded over and over again! And when you thought you've had the story all figured out, Anne Fortier throws a curve ball at you and throws you back on that roller coaster ride of twists and turns!
And what about that old tale of Romeo and Juliet? Anne's retelling and her sharing of what was found through research of the real Romeo and Juliet was by far a better story that the one retold by Shakespeare. It is definitely more romantic and horribly tragic. The Friar definitely played a bigger part in this retelling than in Shakespeare's. The fictional addition of the curse placed on the Tolomei's and the Salimbeni's (Paris' family in Shakespeare) as well as the sought-out treasure and where it was hidden were such intelligent and creative inventions!
Anne Fortier did an amazing job moving back in time to tell the story of Romeo Marescotti and Guilietta Tolomei in 1340 and return back in the present time to weave the story of Julie Jacobs/21st century Guilietta. The movement of going back and forth and the dialogues were expertly done that I was not confused for once as the POVs changed in time.
As for our present day Romeo and Juliet/Guilietta, I thought Romeo was swoon-worthy. But that Alessandro Salimbeni (Paris' counterpart)was definitely to die for! I almost hoped for him and Juliet to get together and forget about Romeo. Until of course, Maestro Lippi tells Juliet that there is a real Romeo and that he comes to his studio at night to look at the portrait of the original Juliet/Guilietta, do I start to wonder about this present-day-Romeo and how romantic he sounds! Swoon 3x! Lots of twists and turns happens before present-day-Juliet finds her present-day-Romeo and more twists and turns before we finally find out whether theirs have a happy ending or if it is another tragic one like their ancestors.
Anne Fortier's writing was so awe-inspiring and believable! It has compelled me to want to visit Siena and visit all the places mentioned in this book. Her Romeo-and-Juliet has captivated and has definitely inspired me to add this book to my book shelf!
If falling in love with a book is possible, then I'm madly in love with this one! Great debut!
Amazing!!! I adore this book! I love anything time travel related, historical fiction, and Italy!!! It doesn't hurt to have such sexy and hot Lords anAmazing!!! I adore this book! I love anything time travel related, historical fiction, and Italy!!! It doesn't hurt to have such sexy and hot Lords and knights for the male protagonists and kick ass heroines! I loved everything about this book! It's just amazing how long it took me to finally pick this book up and read!!!
Thanks to my gals on Street Corner for recommending this gem!
**4.5** for the audio version Audible Review Aussie Reading Challenge #9 TBR Reduction Challenge
The Book Thief audible version that I listened to was rea**4.5** for the audio version Audible Review Aussie Reading Challenge #9 TBR Reduction Challenge
The Book Thief audible version that I listened to was read by Allan Corduner, an English-Jewish actor. I could still hear his voice in my head, giving life to Death, the narrator of the book. I thought he did a superb job changing his voices from Death, to Liesel's Mum, and to Liesel herself. I still hear Liesel calling out to her "Papa" and calling Rudy, "Saukerl". It makes me smile and teary-eyed all at once. The reason for the rating of 4.5 for the audible was the struggle to keep track of what was going on historically as one's inundated with dates, and the moving of the story back and forth, forward and back.
“It’s a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl * Some words * An accordionist * Some fanatical Germans * A Jewish fist fighter * And quite a lot of thievery”
The journey is told by Death. It begins with Liesel Meminger, who was 9 years old at that time, delivered by her mother to her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubberman, to live in Molching, Germany, a small working-class neighborhood. The story goes back and forth between 1930s to 1940s, up until Liesel turns 14 years old. In this journey, in which Death narrates Liesel's life, we become an audience and get acquainted to Liesel's inheriting a new foster family, meeting and befriending her best friend Rudy, keeping her Jewish friend Max a secret, her thievery of books, and the bombing of her hometown of Molching and Munich, Germany...and so much more.
This book is nothing short of being profound, deep, and extraordinary! It often makes interested readers intimidated by the possible heartbreaking and tragic events of World War II and the horrendous loss of life. These two made me reluctant as well; you almost have to be in a specific mood to be able to experience such a book. I wanted to know more about the lives of the people caught in crossfires during World War II Germany. I've never learned about the bombing of Munich and how it affected the innocent Germans in my World History. I was curious to know their lives and their perspective on the war. Surprisingly, Markus Zusak did a tremendous job of balancing the good, the bad, and the ugly. This book was not all about lives lost and the tragic events of the war. It is also about Liesel, coming-of-age, understanding about love and loss, and being ever courageous. Her thievery and shenanigans with Rudy were hilarious! Their quarrels were laughable! The way they called each other, Schaumensch and Saukerl, was endearing. Only these two could make swear words sound so sweet! They were just hysterical!
“He was waving. "Saukerl," she laughed, and as she held up her hand, she knew completely that he was simultaneously calling her a Saumensch. I think that's as close to love as eleven-year-olds can get.” -- just adorable!
I loved the relationship that bloomed between these two; best friends since age 9.
“He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.” --that Rudy made me cry too!
I also loved the relationship between Liesel and her foster father, Hans. I think Hans was instrumental in teaching Liesel about compassion, courage, and generosity. Hans epitomizes the goodness in humanity. I was blown away by his kindness and his bravery. He is definitely my most favorite character in this book! He represents the perfect dad and was a perfect father to Liesel, though he was only a foster father to her. It melted my heart the way he got up everyday at 2 in the morning to comfort Liesel from her nightmares, help her change her wet clothes and sheets from her bedwetting, and sit with her and teach her how to read until she fell asleep. His dedication and love for a stranger was admirable. It's no surprise that Liesel loved him the most!
“Goodbye, Papa, you saved me. You taught me to read. No one can play like you. I'll never drink champagne. No one can play like you."
Liesel also made a friend in Max, the Jewish fist fighter, and the Jew who hid in her basement. I loved the stories he told Liesel especially the Word Shaker. There's just something about that story that was awe-inspiring and freeing. They were both orphans, left behind by tragedy and death, and survived. But most especially, I loved that he inspired Liesel to write and believed so much in her words.
As he stood, Max looked first at the girl and then stared directly into the sky who was wide and blue and magnificent. There were heavy beams-- planks of son-- falling randomly, wonderfully to the road. Clouds arched their backs to look behind as they started again to move on. "It's such a beautiful day," he said, and his voice was in many pieces. A great day to die. A great day to die,like this. Liesel walked at him. She was courageous enough to reach out and hold his bearded face. "Is it really you,Max?" Such a brilliant German day and its attentive crowd. He let his mouth kiss her palm. "Yes, Liesel, it's me," and he held the girl's hand in his face and cried onto her fingers. He cried as the soldiers came and a small collection of insolent Jews stood and watched.”
As in any historical-fiction novels, I learned so much from reading this book, which I loved. I especially loved the characters that Markus Zusak created. They were so authentic and real, and they made me both laugh and cry. Hans reminded me to be compassionate and kind. Liesel and Max encouraged me to return to writing. And Liesel and Rudy inspired me to live like I'm dying and to say I love you and what's in my heart to the people I care about every moment I got.
“Hair the color of lemons,'" Rudy read. His fingers touched the words. "You told him about me?"
At first, Liesel could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always loved him? It's likely. Restricted as she was from speaking, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to drag her hand across and pull her over. It didn't matter where. Her mouth, her neck, her cheek. Her skin was empty for it, waiting.
Years ago, when they'd raced on a muddy field, Rudy was a hastily assembled set of bones, with a jagged, rocky smile. In the trees this afternoon, he was a giver of bread and teddy bears. He was a triple Hitler Youth athletics champion. He was her best friend.(view spoiler)[And he was a month from his death. Of course I told him about you," Liesel said.” (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Another great novel from Ms. Bray! She does not cease to amaze me! The last novels I've read of hers were all audible and wonderful! Although she didnAnother great novel from Ms. Bray! She does not cease to amaze me! The last novels I've read of hers were all audible and wonderful! Although she didn't narrate this one herself, she chose a phenomenal narrator who portrayed each and every character so well, giving each one a very distinctive voice and personality. Even the male voices the narrator delivered with masculine quality to them. Wonderful narration throughout!
The main character, Evie, I actually found spoiled and self-centered at first but she eventually grew on me. I loved the way they conversed back in the early 20s. It was 'Jake'! In didn't think I'd love the setting and time period but it was actually pretty amazing! And a novel that appears to be scary based on the description (gruesome murders and all) didn't seem so frightening as Bray balanced it with enough wit and funny! She is such an amazing storyteller that she kept my ears glued from beginning to end and wanting more!...more