Monday, October 4, 2010

Juliet by Anne Fortier

5 Star
When Julie Jacobs inherits a key to a safety deposit box in Siena, Italy, she is told it will lead her to an old family treasure. Soon she is launched on a precarious journey into the true history of her ancestor Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo turned medieval Siena upside down. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in Shakespeare’s unforgettable blood feud, she begins to realize that the notorious curse -- “A plague on both your houses!” -- is still at work, and that she is the next target. It seems the only one who can save her from her fate is Romeo . . . .but where is he? 

Full of sleeping potions, secret processions, and the glorious Italian countryside, Juliet is at heart an epic romance that proves that love is strong enough to conquer even death.

Lydia - 5 Star

Juliet is an extraordinary debut! Its intensity, intrigue, scope, history, and detail captivated my attention from the first few pages and didn't disappear once as I devoured the pages. Having been compared to a romantic Da Vinci Code, Juliet crosses so many genres it makes my head spin.  Part mystery, thriller, romance, historical fiction, women's fiction, with humorous contemporary women's fiction or chick lit moments gleaning through, this novel will appeal to fans of any of these genres and anyone just looking for a fantastic read. 

Never having been a huge Romeo and Juliet fan, I wasn't aware that the origins of Shakespeare's famous tale began in Sienna and not Verona where he set the story. Even with not knowing much about the history and not having read Romeo and Juliet in close to twenty years, I still loved this novel and didn't find it difficult to follow. I even enjoyed the historical love story about Giulietta and Romeo much more than Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

My favourite part of Juliet was the two novels in one. In addition to Julie Jacob's modern day treasure hunt, we are treated to the 14th century tale of Giulietta and Romeo. At first when I realized the novel was formatted this way, I groaned, never having been a fan of jumping around, but as soon as I read the first few installations of the historical tale, I was hooked and with each narrative change, it took only seconds to become immersed again and I was left agonizing when it flipped back. This is a true testament to this novel for me because this format typically distracts me, but it didn't have this effect at all. I even began enjoying Giulietta and Romeo's tale slightly more than Julie Jacob's storyline, although I still couldn't wait to discover what was going to happen with her too. 

This novel was impeccably developed. The story rolled along smoothly with details unraveled at just the right pace, keeping the momentum and maintaining the suspense and intrigue throughout. My only concern was that I didn't immediately fall in love with Julie's character. I found her too selfishly focused on her disinheritance and trying to be so opposite of her sister, who I wasn't a fan of either. Julie's character grew on me though as she matured throughout her quest and I was rooting for her to unravel the mystery and grow from her experiences. 

I loved this novel, thought it would make a great movie (it's already been scooped up by Universal!) and look forward to reading it again as well as seeing the movie adaptation.  I'll be widely recommending Juliet as it crosses so many genres that it will appeal to all.  Can't wait to read more by Anne Fortier!

Kathryn - 5 Star

This novel was inspiring to me- initially because I was impressed with the writing and later because I was obsessed with the plot and how simply Fortier seemed to create it.  Now I’m sure that as it was being written the novel didn’t just fall on to the page but when it was read in its final product it seemed completely effortless so congratulations to Fortier!

 The history of Romeo and Juliet and the modern story of Juliet looking for answers about her past are interwoven from the start.  I thought I might find the back and forth between the present and 1340 confusing but it didn’t bother me and it certainly wasn’t difficult to pick up the plot of each era again.  I loved the symmetry between the twin sisters Giulietta and Gionnozza from both time periods but appreciated that Fortier didn’t make their relationships exactly the same.  When I look back I think I found the sisterly relationships more fascinating perhaps than the romantic Romeo and Juliet links.  I also loved the detail she gave us about Siena.

I was also completely in awe of Fortier’s ability to keep the mystery and intrigue throughout the entire novel without once losing the plot or letting some minor object or character slip.  She also kept the reader completely engrossed at all times while introducing new people, scenery and twists almost every scene.

If a movie was made of Juliet I would be afraid to watch it and have it not be able to compare to the way the book read- but I’d watch it of course!

Check out our 5 question interview with Anne Fortier!

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for our review copy and this stop on Anne Fortier's blog tour.  

Connect with Anne Fortier:


  1. I have seen this book and cannot wait to read it! It is right at the top of my wishlist :). Thanks for the review!

  2. Thanks Colleen! I'm sure you'll love it when you get it from your wishlist! Enjoy!

  3. I thought it would make a great movie as well - I didn't know it had been picked up! I found the back and forth chapters a bit annoying - but to each his own!

  4. I agree with you Lydia! I didn't like Julie a whole lot right away fact I kind of liked Janice because she had a grittier edge to her. It took a while for me to believe that Julie was the kind of girl who could become a "Juliet" for a "Romeo" but in the end she convinced me.

    I didn't know that the novel has already been snatched up by Universal so they can make a movie out of it but I'd definitely watch it!


  5. Very nice review. I really enjoyed the book, too. I loved the format and how the story progressed.

    Thanks for posting the news about the movie and Universal. I hadn't heard either. I can't wait.



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