Saturday, September 25, 2010

Review: Juliet by Anne Fortier

From the Back Cover:

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 winding and perilous journey into the history of her ancestor Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo rocked the foundations of medieval Siena. 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 house!" - is still at work, and that she is the next target. It seems that the only one who can save Julie from her fate is Romeo - but where is he?

My Thoughts:

I really, really wanted to love this book. And I started out loving this book! The beginning is great, opening with an eloquent and mysterious prologue that instantly makes you want to read more. Julie Jacobs' great-aunt Rose dies and leaves Julie a key to a safe deposit box in Siena, Italy, along with a letter telling her that her real name is Giulietta Tolomei and hinting at answers to questions Julie and her twin sister Janice have always asked about their parents, who died when the girls were three. So a debt-ridden Julie heads to Italy hoping to find an inheritance but instead finds a box full of ancient texts containing different versions of the story of Romeo and Juliet.

In Siena she is befriended by a glamourous woman, Countess Eva Maria from the Salimbeni family, the Tolomeis sworn enemies, who claims to want to help Julie. But Eva Maria has a hunky godson named Alessandro who is suspicious of Julie and doesn't believe she is who she says she is. Who are these people? Does Eva Maria really want to put the past behind them and forge a friendship with the Tolomeis? And if so, why does Alessandro act like that's the last thing he wants? Julie's journey to unravel the mystery of her heritage is entwined with the ancient stories of Romeo and Juliet and takes a dangerous turn when an age-old family vendetta rears its ugly head and has its sights set on Julie. I was thoroughly hooked and loving it.

Then around page 200 or so everything started falling apart. The chemistry and tension between Julie and Alessandro, which had been smokin' to that point, changed and became rather high-schoolish. Then Julie's sister showed up and Julie, who until that point I thought had been very well developed, morphed into a whiny child and began acting like a fool and I just didn't like the direction the plot took. I can't exactly put my finger on what bothered me so much about it, but it's almost like it changed mid-stream from a smartly written, sweeping historical adult novel to a young adult anything-goes romp. Horny gangsters and swat teams, anyone? All's well that ends well, but the route to get there wasn't what I'd hoped it would be.

My Rating:  3 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references an advance copy received from the publisher, and therefore the final published copy may differ. Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. I rated this a 4. What bothered me most was how Julie's relationship with Alessandro and Janice just changed out of the blue. Janice had been represented as such an awful person and then she shows up and she's abrasive, sure, but she's actually looking out for Julie. And then how Julie went from completely distrusting Alessandro to trusting him with her life in a snap. I kept waiting to see Janice's true colors show, but she stayed in her new role. So I was left wondering what Julie had been smoking to describe her as such a hateful, spiteful person in the first place. Other than that, I enjoyed the rest of the book. I think it could have been better, but it was still pretty good for me.

  2. I agree with your review, up to the point where I stopped reading (which was also around p.200). Guess I'd been hoping for a little more maturity from these supposedly adult characters. It could have been my mood, so I may give it a try at another time.


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