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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, May 23, 2014

Debut Novel Not So Great; Second Effort Much, Much Better

JulietJuliet by Anne Fortier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was Anne Fortier's first book and, though I liked it, I found the characters difficult to keep straight. This was true especially in that portion of the book set in the present. Ms Fortier employs a style in which the action alternates between the present, in which a modern Juliet Jacobs is a descendent of Shakespeare's Juliet of Romeo and Juliet fame. This Juliet has a twin sister who has been a thorn in her side since birth and who has made her constantly feel inferior. They have been raised by an aunt in America, though they were born in Italy. Both parents died under suspicious circumstances and Aunt Rose brought the girls to the States to protect them from some danger she has never revealed to them. Now, Aunt Rose has died. She's left her estate to Janice but through her lawyer she has left Juliet a supposed treasure which is in a safe deposit box in Siena, Italy.

And so the stage is set for Juliet to go to Siena and retrieve this mysterious treasure. What she finds are a silver crucifix and documents dating back to the 14th century which seem to indicate that Shakespeare's story is based in fact but that he took some poetic license in its rendering. Seems the actual story took place in Siena, not Verona and there were three prominent families involved, not two. From this point onward the book moves back and forth between the present in which our Juliet is on the trail of the original Giulietta and her Romeo. There is a twin sister in the past also and several modern day descendents of the three families, all of whom either help or hinder or hinder or help, depending on any given day, our Juliet to solve the mystery of the treasure and lead her to her very own Romeo.

All works out in the end,without suicide by poison or dagger, but it is a long slog that sometimes gives the reader a headache. If you want to read a really amazing book by this author try her second--The Lost Sisterhood, which I have also reviewed.

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