Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
By Yari Nieves-Rivera, Courier Book Editor
Juliet by Anne Fortier is a very twisted turn on the romantic tale of Romeo and Juliet. Set in modern times, Julie and her sister, Janice, have never been on good terms. When the woman who raised them (their great-aunt), dies of unforeseen circumstances, she leaves Janice all of the estate and she leaves Julie nothing but a passport with her ‘real name’ on it, a bank deposit key, and a story about a great treasure meant for her. These things would lead her to Italy, (where her mother once lived) and would unravel not only the truth about her past, but about what truly happened to her mother and what was meant for her and her sister to find out.
At first, Julie is unsure of what to do with this new information. With encouragement from the housekeeper and father-like figure, Umberto, Julie decides to follow her Aunt’s last wishes and go to Italy.
There, she finds that everything she’s known and had lived for was a life. Her mother was related to the Tolomeis, an aristocratic family from Siena, and that her ancestor was the inspiration to the Shakespeare's famous play Romeo and Juliet. She finds out that her and her sister were renamed, and that their birth names were Giulietta and Giannanozza--the names of the original Tolomei sisters. Not only that, but she’s being followed by a mysterious man named Alessandro, who she finds threatening and annoying at times. It doesn’t get much easier for Julie from there, and she’s forced to find the answer to everything--even if she doesn’t want to.
This novel by Anne Fortier isn’t one of my favorite books, but it’s a good read if you’re the romantic-adventure type. The novel is split off into two parts, for most of the book. Half set in the modern city of Siena, and the other set in the 1340s, where the real Giulietta and Romeo lived. Although the storytelling is wonderful, I found a flaw in this: I was mostly interested in the past version, than the modern version. When the tale of the original Romeo and Giulietta ended, I wasn’t interested in reading any more of the book. Sure, I was curious about the end so I kept reading, but I wasn’t reading with the same intensity that I had before. The answer to the mystery was what I wanted to see, but I didn’t care for the main characters and the outcome of their stories in the end.
To me, Julie’s personality was a little bit too flat. She mostly cared about how she wasn’t beautiful, and that her sister had always been the beautiful one, and how boys didn’t like her. It brings for some comedy at times, yes, but when she keeps mentioning it throughout the whole book, it gets to a point where it is annoying. Alessandro is the character that has the most depth. He has a horrible past, a sad life, and really the worst luck in the world (in terms of family). Julie is just very unnerving at some points, and too worried about appearance.
Again, I do recommend this book to the romantic-adventure type of person. Hopeless Romantics will find this book enthralling as well. I personally favor books with a much more complex storyline, and this is simple and easy to understand. Its great for reading at home, just for fun.