Customer Reviews for

Juliet

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

A refreshing and lovely version of a classic tragedy.

The tragic story of Romeo and Juliet is a beast you don't mess with; star-crossed lovers are untouchable in my book. By reinventing this well-known plot, Anne Fortier took a risk; a calculated-check the wind direction and temperature, analyze the audience and market-ris...
The tragic story of Romeo and Juliet is a beast you don't mess with; star-crossed lovers are untouchable in my book. By reinventing this well-known plot, Anne Fortier took a risk; a calculated-check the wind direction and temperature, analyze the audience and market-risk. Thankfully it paid off.

In a maneuver comparable to Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Fortier retells a well-known story by delicately narrating two distinct plots: present day Julie Jacobs, hunting down a mysterious treasure armed with nothing but a cryptic letter from her dead aunt; and Giulietta Tolomei as she falls for the devilishly handsome, charming, and romantic Romeo Marescotti in 1340 Siena, Italy. Set amongst lush and fragrant vineyards and crumbling ruins, these two women, centuries apart, are somehow linked and it's up to Julie to set the record straight. Was Shakespeare's tale really what transpired so many hundreds of years ago?

Reading two plots with several characters with the same names (lots of Tolomeis, Salimbenis, and Marescottis throughout) can be a little confusing at times (especially when those characters may not be who they say they are). But pushing on, the reader is rewarded with an enthralling and richly detailed story arc. Drifting from the romantic to the tragic to the thrilling, the idea of Juliet is wonderful. My one disappointment was that the 1340 storyline of Giulietta and Romeo ended too swiftly, I didn't feel it was given appropriate time and attention. With such a well-known event and characters being used, I wish there'd been a more dramatic conclusion.

Reading Juliet made me woozy with heady romance; the fourteenth-century kind with flowing dresses and balconies and poetry. In short, it made me desperate to read Romeo and Juliet, or at least watch the movie. The ache of their tragedy seeped through Fortier's words to pierce my heart with sadness. Overall, it was a beautiful and refreshing story, not entirely perfect, but lovely regardless.

posted by TheCrowdedLeaf on August 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Not what I expected

I may be alone in my assessment of this book, but I was thoroughly disappointed. Hearing it was a feminine "Da Vinci Code", and reading the synopsis, I was intrigued, and yet from the get go, I felt let down. In the very beginning, our heroine Juliet/Julie/Giulietta, st...
I may be alone in my assessment of this book, but I was thoroughly disappointed. Hearing it was a feminine "Da Vinci Code", and reading the synopsis, I was intrigued, and yet from the get go, I felt let down. In the very beginning, our heroine Juliet/Julie/Giulietta, states that her identify is an anti-war activist with no real aims or goals in life. She is not truly anti-war, she is simply pacifist by some magical hereditary desire to end the conflict between warring families. She never does anything with her life because she plans on inheriting her rich Aunt's money. She is not passionate. The author never clearly develops her character or the story beyond a tale of reincarnation through rather confusing means. She never displays any sparks of intelligence, wit, strength, or other notable characteristic which would make her a heroine. Other people solve the riddles to the story, the bad guys are underdeveloped mafia hit men, and Julie/Julie/Guiletta has weird jealousy issues with her twin sister and is the epitome of the helpless damsel in distress who wins the man with little effort. I am sorry, but I am a big believer that a heroine of a novel can do better than be a hood ornament. I grew up in the era of Mulan, not Sleeping Beauty. If I had saved the receipt for this book, I would have returned it and got my $29.00 back. I am not saying the Da Vinci Code was world class literature to last the ages, but "Juliet" is not either. If you are looking for women of depth such as The of Mists of Avalon, or Memoirs of a Geisha, do not look here.

posted by kmlsdlion on December 20, 2010

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A refreshing and lovely version of a classic tragedy.

    The tragic story of Romeo and Juliet is a beast you don't mess with; star-crossed lovers are untouchable in my book. By reinventing this well-known plot, Anne Fortier took a risk; a calculated-check the wind direction and temperature, analyze the audience and market-risk. Thankfully it paid off.

    In a maneuver comparable to Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Fortier retells a well-known story by delicately narrating two distinct plots: present day Julie Jacobs, hunting down a mysterious treasure armed with nothing but a cryptic letter from her dead aunt; and Giulietta Tolomei as she falls for the devilishly handsome, charming, and romantic Romeo Marescotti in 1340 Siena, Italy. Set amongst lush and fragrant vineyards and crumbling ruins, these two women, centuries apart, are somehow linked and it's up to Julie to set the record straight. Was Shakespeare's tale really what transpired so many hundreds of years ago?

    Reading two plots with several characters with the same names (lots of Tolomeis, Salimbenis, and Marescottis throughout) can be a little confusing at times (especially when those characters may not be who they say they are). But pushing on, the reader is rewarded with an enthralling and richly detailed story arc. Drifting from the romantic to the tragic to the thrilling, the idea of Juliet is wonderful. My one disappointment was that the 1340 storyline of Giulietta and Romeo ended too swiftly, I didn't feel it was given appropriate time and attention. With such a well-known event and characters being used, I wish there'd been a more dramatic conclusion.

    Reading Juliet made me woozy with heady romance; the fourteenth-century kind with flowing dresses and balconies and poetry. In short, it made me desperate to read Romeo and Juliet, or at least watch the movie. The ache of their tragedy seeped through Fortier's words to pierce my heart with sadness. Overall, it was a beautiful and refreshing story, not entirely perfect, but lovely regardless.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com

    After the death of her great-aunt, Julie's world is turned upside down. Aunt Rose had raised Julie and her twin sister, Janice, since they were three years old and survived a car crash that killed both of their parents. Now, more than twenty years later, Julie still doesn't know much about her family, except that her mother was American and her father Italian, and that they both died near the city of Siena. So when Aunt Rose leaves the entire monetary value of her estate to Janice, and gives Julie nothing but the key to a Sienese safe-deposit box, Julie is horrified at such an unequal distribution of her aunt's fortune, but also intrigued by this chance to find out more about her own heritage. With nothing left to lose, she hops a plane to Siena and sets to work uncovering the mystery that her mother had been at work on when she died.

    Julie quickly discovers that her real name is not Julie Jacobs, but Giulietta Tolomei, and that, if her mother's theories were correct, she is descended in the female line from the Giulietta Tolomei who was the inspiration for the character of Juliet in Shakespeare's ROMEO & JULIET - a story, she discovers, that was originally set, not in Verona, but in Siena. The clues left behind by her mother lead Julie to uncover the remains of the family feud between the Tolomeis and Salimbenis in modern-day Siena, and to delve deeper into the origins of the Shakespearean play that Julie already knows by heart.

    The novel switches between presenting modern-day events from Julie's first-person point of view and narrating the events surrounding the original medieval tale of Romeo and Giulietta. As Julie reads the documents left for her by her mother, she discovers alarming facts - for example, that Romeo and Giulietta were not from feuding families, but that a third man stepped in and caused all of the trouble - and begins to ask questions that might put her in danger if heard by the wrong people.

    Without a doubt, my favorite parts of the book were when Fortier described modern-day Siena. I've traveled in Italy before (though not to Siena), and her depiction of a city so steeped in history and so connected to its own past both rang true from my experiences of other cities and made me want to visit Siena. I enjoyed Julie's first-person segments of the narrative more than the flashback tale of the original Romeo and Giulietta, where Fortier's attempt to use more time-appropriate language resulted in a strange mishmash of medieval and modern phrasing. I felt much more strongly for the characters in the present of the story than for Fortier's recast Romeo and Giulietta (though I must admit that I never really liked Shakespeare's version, either).

    The plot twists and turns itself into an impressive labyrinthine structure, but if you're not paying attention, it's possible to get lost. For this reason, I'd recommend this book primarily to readers who've already encountered ROMEO & JULIET, and particularly to those who enjoyed the story but aren't afraid to see it rewritten in some thought-provoking ways.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The past meets the present in Juliet

    I really jumped at the chance to review this historical fiction because the entire package (the title, synopsis and the book cover) was really appealing to me. And I have to admit, I did enjoy the story. Who knew that I would begin to have an appreciation (whether it is a negative or positive one will have to be put aside for another rant.I mean discussion) for Shakespeare. In Juliet, Ann Fortier seeks to bring some truth to one of Shakespeare most popular plays Romeo and Juliet while wrapping in it modern day romance and suspense.

    This story intertwines with Julie Jacobs in the present and Giulietta Tolomie (Juliet) in 1340. The former is the descendant of the real life version of Juliet and is thus thrust into a mystery and a curse that surrounds this famous couple. The tactic of meshing the past with the present and vice versa made it really difficult to put this book down. I think it really helped to create a sort of natural suspense for the reader since both periods are juxtaposed and so the only way for you to find out what happens to one character in one particular period is to first read about the other character.

    The author also recreates Siena so vividly that it makes you want to go live there. The architecture, the people, the food and the local parlance are all well described and well represented in Fortier's debut novel. As Fortier states in her Author's Note "While Juliet is a work of fiction, it is steeped in historical fact." This statement is testimony to the level of research that went into this piece. The information did not overwhelm you but instead encouraged you to do your own research into some of the themes that Fortier brings out in the book.

    I was not always convinced of the characters themselves though. Julie at times was inconsistent and her strained relationship with her sister was over exaggerated. I mean how many times do you have to spell it out for the readers.Julie is the antithesis of Janice. I think that the characters who were much more interesting to me were the ones featured in 1340. They had more depth than the modern day ones and were much more exciting to get to know. Readers should also watch out for the plethora of clues that are revealed in the book. Some of them feel unresolved by the time you are finished reading, some of them you forget and some of them are a bit confusing.

    Juliet is romantic and full of suspense and I think that people would forgive its size (its 447 pages long) for the share fact that it's good. Anne Fortier is definitely an author to watch and I look forward to reading more from her.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2010

    Juliet

    Julie Jacobs and her twin sister Janice were raised by their Aunt Rose in America after the death of their parents in Italy. After Aunt Rose's death, Julie is left a letter, while Janice gets the house, par for the course in their tempestuous twin world. Julie's letter directs her to Siena, Italy where the mystery of their parents' life work intersects with what is the historical origin of the original Romeo and Juliet tale. I find family genealogy to be very interesting and in this, Julie learns she and her sister are descended from a set of twins from 1340, Giulietta and Giannozza Tolomei. In both the historical and modern day sections, I really liked Fortier's description of the various districts of Seina and the strong-willed families that populate each area. A couple of the twists seemed a little far reaching near the end, but overall, this was a well-paced, captivating read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2012

    Loved reading this on my recent trip to Italy!

    Loved reading this on my recent trip to Italy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    loved it

    Well written, engaging, and entertaining. I did not want to put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    A true love strory

    This is a great love novel based adventure and the italian version of romeo and juliet

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Page Turner!

    I picked up this book not really knowing what to expect. What I got was a journey to the past written so vividly I could believe it was all true; a modern dramatic romance filled with twists and turns of real life; This book was worth the many almost sleepless nights wanting to see what happens next between four people whose lives have been intertwined with each other.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    Amazing gift for setting

    While the story was somewhat predictable the setting truly makes this book. The setting literally takes on the rilr of a vharactwr all by itself.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Best Romeo and Juliet takeoff I've read

    Juliet follows two stories, one in the present day and one in 1340. The 1340 story follows the love of Romeo and Giulietta as they fight to stay together against all odds. Similar to Shakesphere's Romeo and Juliet with several twists and more believable plot line. The story takes into account the fact that Shakesphere had to base his tragedy on something, and this was the true story that developed into the fictional tale.

    Now, in modern day, Julie and her sister Janice just lost their Aunt only to find that she had hidden more secrets about their family then they could have ever guessed. Julie takes off on a whirlwind adventure through Sienna following the clues that her mother left behind in order to find the family secret and break the family curse.

    Right from the beginning this book screamed Davincci Code, only replace Davinnci with Romeo and Juliet. Julie gains one clue at a time sometimes moving closer to the treasure, and sometimes falling further behind. Why did her mother keep such random items in a bank? Who were her parents really? How did they die? All questions that come up early on in the story, spiraling into a never ending sea of questions as Fortier takes you on twist after twist in the plot line.

    I loved the storyline, but I honestly preferred the tale of 1340 to the modern day mystery. Had Fortier simply written the 1340 story with the Curse on the Wall, I would have enjoyed it thoroughly. However, the mix of mystery and romanticism added a whole new dimension to the story and made me analyze the 1340 tale in a way that I wouldn't have if it had stood alone.

    One thing I didn't like about the story is that the main character, Julie, tended to be a little wishy washy. She didn't really think for herself until the end. She simply did what everyone else told her in attempting to figure out the mystery. I would have liked to see her be a bit stronger on her own and less reliant on the minds of others.

    Overall, great book! I don't like Romeo and Juliet nor romance books, but I loved this version!

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    A must read!

    A great long book to read while traveling. I was very interested on how everything would come together and if Romeo and Juliet would get together in the end or would it be another tragedy.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    A wonderful weekend read!

    Very enjoyable and great descriptions of Sienna.

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    Good story

    Liked the book

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    WONDERFUL

    What a fun book based on the classic tragic, love story! I enjoyed the past and present descriptions and couldnt put it down once I started!

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Must read

    This was a fun read. The story was great it had everything one could want, history, romance, and mystery. Not only was it a fast read but it was well written.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    Fun read!

    Juliet was a fun romp through Italy for any girl who wishes she could go! If you are a fan of Romeo and Juliet (or not) you will enoy the authors take on how the tale came to be. The mystery kept me guessing and I'm usualy one who figures out the twist before it happens. This was a fun read. I recomend it as a good vacation/beach read.

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Slow, But Ends Well

    Anne Fortier combines a modern-day mystery/adventure with the ancient tale of Romeo and his Juliet. Initially set in ancient (1340) Siena, Italy, Romeo & Giulieta are the star-crossed lovers later written about by William Shakespeare during the Elizabethan period. Allegedly, The Bard decided to uproot the historic couple from their rumored hometown of Siena to Verona, and Anglicize the story. Flash forward to present day: Julie Jacobs and her twin Janice are left completely alone in the world after their Aunt Rose passes away. But her death leads them on an adventure to the city of Siena, and just when you think you've begun to figure out how the ancient & modern storylines are linked, you'll be thrown for a twist and veer off somewhere you'd never expect. This was a slower read for me, but the last 100 pages were pay dirt!

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    Pretty good... for the most part

    I was hesitant to read this book at first because it seemed like most people who read the book either loved it or hated it. I read it anyway and really enjoyed it for the most part. There were a few really corny parts to the plot and I didn't really like any of the main characters. There are two separate plots in the book, one being the story of modern-day Julie and the other of the historical Guilietta. The more historical one was my favorite. I liked reading the twist on the Shakespeare story.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Thoroughly Enjoyable Read

    If you enjoy the type book that has the characters chasing clues toward their objective - read on:

    I began this book with the expectation that I would read it an hour here and there. After the first few chapters, I couldn't put it down and finished it within 24 hours. It was an easy, enjoyable, engagiing read with just enough plot twist to keep me guessing through most of the book. Definitely recommend it!

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    great book....

    is confessions of friar lorenzzo real? connfuzing but good

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