Monday, January 18, 2010
O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
* I started this post on Friday. We had company stop by and I didn't get a chance to get back to it. Saturday was spent running errands. Saturday night I was in a bad car wreck. Just a reminder, PLEASE, PLEASE always wear your seatbelts. They save lives. No doubt they saved the lives of not only myself, but my daughter and dear friend.
Sorry for the delay in another post. My school dreams were dashed about three days in when the finance office called me in to tell me that the FASFA aid would only happen if I underwent an amazingly long financial review(apparently, our income caused the expected family contribution to be more than the course would actual cost for a semester). That was fine, except some of the paperwork they needed would have to be sent off for and I wouldn't have it in time to finalize and all payments or aid had to be in place before I could continue with school, and the time delay was too long and we simply don't have the monies right now to pay for it ourselves. I also can't really justify taking out a student loan. So, next semester it is then. Unfortunately, I took my disappointment out on my poor kitchen and have been cleaning out drawers, cabinets and installing shelves for the past week. Almost done in that room and off to the next. It helps. Anyway, since I'm unable to go to school right now, I should have time for more posting (once I have all my manic cleaning done anyway :).
O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell *Click on the author's name to be taken to her site and a chance to enter a contest.
(BCC) *This review is done from a book sent to Novel Reads from the publisher.
Before Juliet Capelletti lie two futures: a traditionally loveless marriage to her father's business partner or the fulfillment of her poetic dreams, inspired by the great Dante. Unlike her beloved friend Lucrezia, who looks forward to her arranged marriage into the Medici dynasty, Juliet ha a wild, romantic imagination thta takes flight in the privacy of her bedchamber and on her garden balcony.
Her life and destiny are forever changed when Juliet meets Romeo Monticecco, a soulful young man seeking peace between their warring families. A dreamer himself, Romeo is unstoppable once he dtermines to capture the heart of the remarkable woman foretold in his stars.
When I first opened this book I was sure it would be one I would not read. I mean, the cover is beautiful but the potential for disaster in the re-telling of Romeo and Juliet is colossal. Plus, it's an Historical. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the Historical genre, but it's not one I generally search for (there is no clear reason for that, but there it is). So on my computer desk this book set for a couple of days. I kept looking at that gorgeous cover. I kept flipping it over to read the BCC. Finally, I decided to give it a go—I didn't want to put it down.
You all probably know the story of Romeo and Juliet well. What Eighth Grader hasn't read it? But as the front cover of this book says, "Their love was the stuff of legend. But the legend is only half the story." And Maxwell takes the reader on a journey like no other.
Juliet Capelletti's family has known great loss. All of the Capelletti sons have died and without them there is need for a partner for her father's silk business, and plans begin to be made for Juliet to wed Jacopo Strozzi. Storzzi's family is in the wool business and also very wealthy. Though Jacopo is not the first son, so this partnership serves to offer him a great deal. And though Juliet loathes Jacopo, "I cringed at the thought of him. The occasions we had met at my father's house had been grating in every way. His pinched mouth and furrowed forehead bespoke a constipated soul." She knows she has no choice but to wed this man for her families sake, though she desperately wants to marry for love. You see, Juliet is a woman very rare for her time. In love with the works of Dante and poet herself, Juliet longs to find the life for herself that is filled with love and poetry.
Romeo Monticecco is home from years spent with his uncles in Verona. His family has also known loss, as his sisters and brothers have also been lost to fever. Upon his return, Romeo wishes to make peace with the Capelletti, a family that has been feuding with his since the time of his grandfather. Romeo, also loves the works of Dante and dearly loves poetry and writing verse, the same as Juliet.
When Romeo goes to, what I guess would be considered an engagement party, for Juliet's friend Lucrezia in the hopes of seeking out Lucrezia's soon to be father in law, Don Cosimo, a man held in the highest regard of all those in the area, he goes with the intent of getting Cosimo to help him forge a peace between his family and the Capelletti. But it is here that Romeo meets Juliet. The two are instantly smitten. Only it turns out that not only is there an age old feud between the two families that feud was recently reignited when the Monticecco family, unbeknown to Romeo, had sank one of the Capelletti's cargo ships. But, after meeting Juliet, "This woman, this earthly angel-perhaps "Goddess" suited her more, for an angel is merely sweet and gentle, and Juliet was fierce - she inspired me..." Romeo more than ever wants to restore a peace between the families.
Just as it seems peace will be restored, the unthinkable happens. Sabotage at the Capelletti silk factory. Orchestrated by someone they trust, "Jacopo was clever and was now provoked to action by the one emotion whose strength rivaled that of love - jealousy." Romeo is framed for murder of Juliet's beloved cousin and has to flee the country yet again. I think we all know how this story ends.
I'll admit, I had serious doubts before reading this book. The re-telling of a famous love story is always a tricky thing, but Maxwell wove a tale so engaging, made Romeo and Juliet so real, that the story was new again. The tale of two lovers that lived long ago touched me deeply. In Maxwell's O, Juilet, I get to know and love Romeo and Juliet, in a way I had not before. This story of loss and love is one I highly recommend to any love of Romance.