Christina (Reading Extensively)'s Reviews > O, Juliet

O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
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Mar 21, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: historical, read2010, romance
Read in February, 2010

O, Juliet is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in Florence rather than Verona. In this version of the tale, Juliet Capelletti attends an engagement part for her best friend Lucrezia who is about to marry into the Medici family. There she meets Romeo and the two connect over their mutual love of poetry, particularly Dante. But Juliet is promised to the vile Jacopo Strozzi, her father's new business partner and Romeo is the son of Roberto Monticecco, her father's enemy.

I didn't think I would like this novel because of my feelings about the play but I decided to give it a try anyway and I am very glad I did! When I read the Shakespeare play as a freshman in high school I didn't like the character of Romeo at all. He went from being so in love with Rosaline to falling for Juliet in the space of a heartbeat. I didn't much care for Juliet either. I didn't believe that they could love each other so intensely after just a few brief meetings. However in O, Juliet we get two complex characters and their relationship is given time to grow. Juliet is an intelligent girl with dreams of her own. Romeo is this honorable young man who desires to bring about an end to the feuding between his family and the Capellettis. Juliet's parents in the play are portrayed in a very negative light but here we see that they genuinely care about their daughter and others. While some have complained about the liberties that Robin Maxwell took with the story I really enjoyed the additional material such as the quotes from Dante and the way the characters were filled out. Even if the outcome of the story is the same, O, Juliet is a beautifully written and romantic novel about love, family, forgiveness, and dreams.
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