Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Review: "Juliet" by Anne Fortier
Once she arrives in Italy and she begins the formidable task of uncovering the secrets that her late mother had hidden, Julia (now Giulietta) finds out that there is a possibility that she is related to the family of Juliet, whose star-crossed love with Romeo was the basis for Shakespeare's famous play. Once she comes to the realization that all is not what it initially appers to be in Siena, she is in too far to stop and becomes a part of an elaborate plot to right wrongs that were done long ago.
I'll admit two things right away. First, it took me about 100 pages to really get into the plot. There is a lot of backstory and explaination involved, and at points I was tempted to stop and pick it up again at a later time. Second, I found the parallels between the modern day Julie and the historical Giulietta quite annoying at first- one of my bookish pet peeves is when a modern story and a historical story, both being told in the same book, practically mirror one another. It makes me wish that the author would pick one story and tell it, because there is no point in telling two virtually identical stories.
I have a third confession to make. I'm really glad that I stuck this one out despite my initial misgivings. Once I had truly gotten into the story it flew by, and the parallels that I found annoying at first became more relevant as the story proceeded.
What strikes me as most memorable about this story is the fact that while it is unapologetically fictional, Anne Fortier creates a backstory about the inspiration for Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet that is entirely believable. Fortier's attention to detail is commendable, and that made Juliet a pleasure to read. When I was done reading the book I had to turn to the "Author's Note" to confirm that the story I had read was, in fact, fictional. Fortier, along with her mother, had certainly done her homework, and the majority of the places and people mentioned in the book were factual, but the overall story remained fiction. Fortier also mentions that Shakespeare's version of Romeo & Juliet was not the first one, and that he had merely based his work on plays by earlier authors.
Rich in detail, thoroughly researched, and filled with fascinating characters, Juliet was a pleasure to read. I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction, historical romanctic fiction, or those with an interest in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet.
Browse inside Juliet
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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010, The Canadian Book Challenge 4
Thank-you to HarperCollins Canada for sending me this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.