Friday, November 5, 2010

historical romance brings classic tale to modern life

Anne Fortier’s Juliet is a mixture of romance, whodunit, coming-of-age and historical fiction.
When Julie’s aunt Rose dies, she is left not with half an inheritance, but with a wooden box containing a secret.
Julie’s much more successful, and much nastier, sister Janice gets Rose’s house – and all it’s debts – much to Julie’s delight.
The secret in the box turns out to be a bunch of documents and letters that lead Julie to randomly decide to return to Sienna, Italy, where her parents died and where her personal history may be unravelled.
It’s in Sienna that Julie discovers that she, and her sister, are scions of an ancient Italian family – which may have been the source of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic tale.
Titillated by the possible connection, Julie ignores the warning signals of mysterious men following her, mysterious policemen being overly interested in her whereabouts and mysteriously friendly “long lost relatives”.
Obviously the secret of the box, the secret of her parents deaths and even the possible secret connection to the fabled Juliet, could lead to a lucrative payday for someone.
Eventually Janice – the more organised and practical sister – discovers what Julie is up to and turns up in Sienna ready to sort it all out. Once again, Julie is “saved” by her sister.
After a few historical twists and turns, with some very obvious fudging of historical facts, the secret is revealed, the romantic hero turns out to be a cad and the sisters rediscover their love for each other ... of course.
Still, Juliet is nicely written; the pacing is tight, the characters mostly realistic if a little stereotypical, and Fortier has a nice turn of descriptive phrasing especially when describing the streets of Sienna.
There is plenty of action, lots of romance, burning gazes and heaving chests, as well as a bit of magic; Juliet is a fun read, perfect for the Christmas holidays.

Juliet by Anne Fortier is published by HarperCollins and is available from good book stores and online.


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