Sunday, August 1, 2010

Juliet by Anne Fortier

Juliet

Title:  Juliet
Author:  Anne Fortier
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Publication Date:  August 2010
Format:  Hardcover, 464 pages
Age Group:  Adult

Julie Jacobs and her twin sister, Janice, have never gotten along but their great-aunt Rose had always treated them equally.  So Julie is shocked when aunt Rose dies leaving everything to Janice.  The only item Julie inherits is the key to a safety deposit box in Italy, which may or may not lead to a family treasure.  As Julie embarks on her quest to locate the treasure, she discovers far more in family history.  In Siena, Italy, she meets family members who knew her parents and learns that the family feuds written about in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet may still continue to this day.

I absolutely loved this book.  Fortier captured me from the opening paragraph, actually from the prologue.  At that point, I was already wondering what was going to happen.  Where was the story going to go and how was Julie Jacobs tied to the story of Juliet?  What would she find in Italy and how would it change her?

I think that weaving the past and the present is one of the most difficult things a writer can do.  When it is done well, it can be brilliant but when done poorly, it can be confusing and frustrating.  Fortier certainly has the gift for moving back and forth in time without jarring the reader.  She allows the connections between the past and present to develop naturally without forcing them on the reader.  Julie's discovery of the people behind Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet brings a new vision to the play.

The characters were engaging and so many of them had hidden elements.  Little in this book is as it first appears and Julie must stumble forward as she pieces everything together.  While her initial purpose for going to Italy is to locate the family treasure, she soon finds more knowledge in the people and her family history.

The majority of the book is written wonderfully.  There were only two places where I felt as if I was taken out of the story for a bit as the characters lapsed into dialogue that seemed a bit forced and out of character.  I realize that this was an intended effect as these characters tended to rub each other the wrong way but in these two particular instances I felt it was taken a bit too far.  Throughout the rest of the book, I was completely captivated by the characters, the action, and the setting.

I fear that this review is not doing the book justice.  Let's just say I would highly recommend Juliet!  Learn more at the book's official website.

I received an Advance Reader's Edition of Juliet from the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing with the expectation that I would provide a review.  The opinion expressed here is entirely my experience with reading this book.

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