Julie's Reviews > Juliet

Juliet by Anne Fortier
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's review
Apr 30, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Read from May 12 to 18, 2010

I received this as a GoodReads ARC, and I’m so happy I got a chance to read it; it is a wonderful combination of historical/literary fiction and modern-day romantic adventure.

Julie Jacobs has grown up wondering about her parents and their untimely deaths in Italy when she was was small. Upon the death of the great-aunt who raised her, she finds that while her twin sister inherited the house, she has inherited a key to a safe-deposit box in Siena. Her adventure begins with a chance meeting with a glamorous older woman who takes her under her wing, and continues with the woman’s handsome godson, Alessandro; break-ins, priceless artifacts, and descriptions of Sienese landmarks; the revelation that Julie’s real name, Giulietta Tolomei, suggests that she is descended from Juliet; and the fact that at the time of their deaths, her parents were researching the historical figures on whom Shakespeare based Juliet and Romeo. Is there truly a curse on the families, and can Julie trust any of her new acquaintances in Siena, where families still take their allegiance to their contrada (neighborhood/clan) seriously? Siena’s timelessness is the link as the story moves between Julie’s present-day investigation and various documents that tell of the events surrounding the original Giulietta.

My only criticism of the novel is a plot point that is necessary to maintain the symmetry between past and present, and it’s a spoiler so…stop reading here if you don’t want to be spoiled. Here it is: it is conventional for the girl to meet the boy and they detest each other at first sight, but eventually fall in love. This sort of trajectory can be made to seem natural, but in this novel, it seems quite formulaic and unexplained. Which actually mirrors Romeo and Juliet, so maybe that's the point.
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