Friday, April 6, 2012


I passed by this book for about three years before finally deciding to purchase it. The original cover attracted me but it was stuck over in the mystery section of my book store and I am just not a mystery reader. I drift away from that section because the majority of my experiences with it have never been good. It was on a shopping trip prior to visiting my grandparents in Florida that I decided to finally pick this book up (now located in the fiction section of another store). I wanted to bring two books to read and this was one of them. Toward the end of my trip I was able to start reading but as soon as I got home the book was put to the side.

Hop and skip two months into the future and I picked it up again. So here is the deal: broadcast something as having to do with Shakespeare, let alone an ancestor of Juliet, and you've caught my attention. Stick the book in anything but mystery and my interest is even higher. But despite my personal excitement for all of this I feel that my expectations were too great and I was rather disappointed.

The book was certainly very slow at parts, many parts, it would have a brief jolt of excitement and speed then slow down again. The writing style also changed from chapter to chapter which is both good and bad. The book went back and forth between modern day Julie Jacobs, all written in first person, to chapters telling the story of Giuliette (from the 14th century) in third person.

I tend to enjoy third person POV's more than first. With first person it is so easy to fall into just telling a story. "I shook my head. Then I sat down. I felt tired." To me, if it isn't handled well, it can lack certain creativity. Fortier, more often than not, teatered on a ledge between just stating the events of the story and properly spell binding me. But the portions written in third person? Perfect. It's definitely her strong suit.

Much of the book takes place during warm, sunny weather. I wasn't really feeling the descriptions at first but the moment we received warmer weather I began eating up these descriptions andl oving it all. Was it just that I was lacking a creative mind? Maybe. Was it that the descriptions weren't that great to begin with? Possibly. I've been able to read winter scenes during the summer without struggling to picture anything but this was a little hard to do.

I won't say I hated the book nor that it's a bore - that would be a lie. It did entertain me and I stuck with it to find out what would happen next, but reread it? I don't think so. This will collect dust on my bookshelf until I have a chance to sell it to a store where someone can buy it and enjoy it much more than I did. I felt that it was dreadfully slow up until the first 150 pages had passed. It didn't really get rolling until the last 150 pages of the book. The books total pages? Just over 440. That left a lot of pages of mediocre story telling in the middle that I wasn't fully enjoying.

If I could have had the same amount of excitement and action through the entire book that I had in the last half, I would have been happy. The remaking of the story of Romeo and Juliet was the best part of the boring half of the book and completely heartbreaking. I'll give the author that. I was feeling emotional pain for the characters involved and their sorrows hung onto me. But the modern day main characters? I really couldn't care less about them until, like I said, the very end of the book.

So I was disappointed with this book, I expected it to be much more engaging than it was. I appreciated the attention to history that the author had, I really do, and I feel that everything was supported by some level of research. I loved the retelling of Romeo and Juliet and once the story got going and you found out about all the who's and what's of the modern day it was exciting and engaging. But it took so long to get to that point. I, more or less, forced myself to read a chapter every day this week up until I got to the really interesting part of the book (at which time I began flying through the pages) and due to my stubborn nature I didn't put the book back on the shelf. I spent money on this book and dammit I wasn't going to make that purchase a waste by not reading the book! Had I not been so determined I would have given up on the book and missed out on the great second half of it.

This is definitely influenced by the idea of fate controlling what goes on to everyone, family curses and a little bit of sappy romance. For some readers, that's what they're looking for. For me personally, it has to be served rather well and I didn't find it to my satisfaction. I really wanted to love this book and I'm left feeling a little confused over it. The first half of it was so god awful boring and the second half was so amazing that I'm not quite sure what to feel of it other than I would never want to read the start of the book again and I am a firm believer of rereading a book straight through, not just the parts that I liked. So, I suppose, I'll not read this book again because I just don't want to drag my feet through those first 150 pages all over again.

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