This is an awesome book. I really enjoyed reading it. Because the story was so well written and appealing, it was easy to read and enjoy. I just loved how it was all put together and how the story unfolded. Through letters, journals and other written documentation, Julie is able to piece together the past events of her ancestors and figure out who the keys players are in both time periods. The book alternates between past and present, which sometimes can be confusing, but not so in this case. Fortier makes it easier on the reader by writing the past (1340s) in the third person and the present in the first person. I could tell right away which time period I was reading about. The other thing I really liked about this format was that the author pretty much gave equal billing to both the past and present. I believe it's partly because of this that I really enjoyed reading about both time periods.
I should say that I'm not a fan of Shakespeare. While I like the gist of the stories, the language totally puts me off. I found it absolutely torturous in high school. I just didn't get it and honestly still don't. While Fortier doesn't recount the play so much as the story that apparently inspired it, she made the story so accessible. I haven't read Romeo and Juliet in many years and remember just a little about it. I think I remembered enough, though, to see how the story that Fortier related could inspire the play.
A big part of the story revolves around the Palio (horse race) and it's preparations, rivalries and outcomes. The race never ceases to amaze me. I actually saw part of one race on TV once, however, I had no clue what it was. It was broadcast in Italian, so I didn't understand a word of what was going on, but it was way to fascinating to turn the channel. It's amazing that the race is still being run today.
...Romeo and Juliet...is not about love. It is about politics, and the message is simple: When the old men fight, the young people die.
munificent (page 52): generous
magnanimity (page 102): fairness, generosity, nobility
ductia (page 111): instrumental dance
estampie (page 111): dance and musical form
dryad (page 112): fairy
perfidious (page 159): disloyal
cotehardie (page 221): gothic fitted dress
toadying (page 244): flattering, submissive
loggia (page 260): terrace
Highly recommended. I'd love to read another book by this author.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.
For more information about the author, please visit Anne Fortier's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins Canada for this review copy.
Juliet by Anne Fortier, HarperCollins, ©2010. ISBN 9781554684991(Advance Reading Edition), 447p.