Wow, wow, wow. This was AMAZING. I loved this novel so much. I read pretty much the last four hundred pages (mainly, the entire book) over the weekend because I just couldn't put it down.
Juliet is about Julie Jacobs, a young woman who loses her Aunt Rose and discovers that she doesn't inherit anything from Aunt Rose except a key to something mysterious in Siena, Italy. Something that her own mother had left her. Instead, Aunt Rose left her entire estate to her selfish, self-serving twin sister, Janice. On top of the news of the estate and the key, she finds out that she and her sister's real names are in fact not Julie and Janice Jacobs, but Giulietta and Gianozza Tolomei.
So the story really begins with Julie in Siena, where by chance, she meets Eva Marie Salimbeni. She learns that the Tolomei and Salimbeni families are actually rivals, much similar to the Capulets and the Montagues. So the parallels between the two novels are there but much more entertaining, and a twist of originality.
What Giulietta finds in the secret box is a journal, written in 1340 by Maestro Ambrogio, an artist who witnessed the events of the 'original' story of Romeo and Juliet, the story that eventually becomes the play that Shakespeare would write but would originate in Siena, Italy, with three families: Giuletta Tolomei , Messer Salimbeni (head of the Salimbeni family) and Romeo Marescotti.
The novel (Fortier's novel, not the journal) traverses between Julie's 'now' world, and the mystery of people following her, ransacking her hotel room, and the brooding Alessandro, who is Eva Maria's godson and doesn't believe for a minute that Julie is Guilietta.
It's fascinating reading the historical nature of 1340, and the 'story' of what might have been the real Romeo and Juliet (in their novel, not real life). The scenery of Italy is truly amazing, the way Fortier writes of it. I truly thought throughout she must have an Italian background. When I finished the book, I realized she was from Denmark and that she wrote it, partly for her mother, who loved the city.
The story kept me on my toes. Just when I thought I had the plot figured out, it twisted again. The story is just beautiful, endearing, funny and romantic - in 1340 and in present day. I can't believe Fortier doesn't have another novel for me to read! How can this be? And looking around for more work by her, it's no surprise that this book is on the docket for a movie. How could it not? But as we all know, there is NO WAY a movie could ever do this beautiful book justice.