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Publisher's Summary

Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved Aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.

This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei.

In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.

But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding her—superstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud, she begins to fear that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is destined to be its next target. Only someone like Romeo, it seems, could save her from this dreaded fate, but his story ended long ago. Or did it?

From Anne Fortier comes a sweeping, beautifully written novel of intrigue and identity, of love and legacy, as a young woman discovers that her own fate is irrevocably tied—for better or worse—to literature’s greatest star-crossed lovers.

©2010 Anne Fortier (P)2010 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"To understand what happened centuries ago, in the previous generation, and all around her, Julie relies on relics: a painting, a journal, a dagger, a ring. Readers enjoy the additional benefit of antique texts alternating with contemporary narratives, written in the language of modern romance and enlivened by brisk storytelling. Fortier navigates around false clues and twists, resulting in a dense, heavily plotted love story that reads like a Da Vinci Code for the smart modern woman." (Publishers weekly)
“One of those rare novels that have it all. . . I was swept away.” (Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 4 Stars
    62
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    38
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    5
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Glory
  • Thomasville, NC
  • 09-01-10

Excellent! Merits 20 hours

I took a chance on this book, trying to explore genres other than detective mysteries and nonfiction. It was definitely worth it. The depth of the characters and the intricacy of plot compelled me to listen way past bedtime. I am not a fan of the Da Vinci Code, and am surprised by the comparisons. The writing is excellent, if a bit immature. But this does not lead to distraction. I look forward to seeing how Ms. Fortier's talent becomes more skilled. Absolutely engrossing!

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Well written, captivating

This was a GREAT BOOK, from the first sentence to the last. I found myself captivated at the weaving of stories, past and present. Full of twists, turns and surpirses, the writing never failed to keep me intrigued. The narration was excellent. At the end, I was crying and laughing and full of that feeling that only comes from a truly satisfying book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Charmaine
  • AUSTIN, TX, United States
  • 10-13-10

Romance Novel w/twist (if that's your thing)

First of all, I will pretty much listen to anything. And I id finish this book. While the play on the historic Romeo & Juliet is intriguing... I wanted to strangle the heroine & her beloved Romeo. Sappy stuff. Narrator did a decent job with the Italian accents.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

wanted to love it

With a passion for both Shakespeare and all things Italian, I was excited at the premise of this book. While some of the twists and turns kept me reading, I found the modern day Juliet to be one dimensional, not the brightest bulb, and an inconsistant character. The smattering of the supernatural was tepid, the coincidences were too "on the nose", and the relationships underdeveloped. Read this with expectations of a light, fluffy experience. Its "PG rating" would make it a good read for a student along side their first exposure to Shakespeare.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kimberly
  • Pinole, CA, United States
  • 09-22-10

Stretched and snapped my credulity

Full disclosure - I made it only thru parts 1 and 2. I simply could not subject myself to the torture of such banal writing, cardboard characters and unbelievable situations anymore. Ann Fortier, have you ever been to Siena? Anyone who has can tell you that in summer its streets are NEVER EMPTY, as they always are at night in this book so young women can run from bad guys. It would also be nice if some of your characters were motivated by more than one deadly sin - lust, greed, etc. Try TWO! And one more thing, you have used up your lifetime quota for the use of the phrases, "For as long as I could remember," "Ever since I could remember" and "As far as I knew." You're done. How did this get published? How did I get tricked into handing over one of my 2 monthly credits for such dreck? I;ll tell you how - the Publishers Weekly starred review got me. NEVER AGAIN.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Awful !

This was just terrible, even with Cassandra Campbell narrating. A trite, sappy story, unrealistic and unlikable characters.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • kelly
  • hampden, ME, United States
  • 09-15-10

got pulled into the plot

enjoyed listening to this book, really got pulled into the plot. Liked how the author switched between the current day romeo and juliet and original Romeo and Juliet. Good story

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Katie
  • College Station, TX, United States
  • 09-12-10

I loved it!

I loved Juliet.. Fortier put a whole new enchanting spin on Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet. I realize that the story is farfetched, but to me, that is what made it so fun and captivating. I loved the characters, too! I couldn't put my headphones down. It was one of the best books I have ever 'listened' to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lanie
  • Laverne, OK, United States
  • 09-11-10

Loved it!

Loved it! One of the best books I've listened to, kept me interested the whole time. I could hardly put it down! Looking forward to more from this author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A rose by this name stinks

I like history; I like Shakespeare and I like Italy. You would think that this book would have been just perfect for me. Not so. This book seems to have been written for sexually frustrated females with no experience of foreign travel. The author goes on about fashion, shoes, girl talk and other chick oriented muck. The story goes on with two Juliet???s; one in the present and one in 1340 Italy. Neither story has any substance. Character and plot development are uneven and farfetched. Don???t look for any clever twist or turns. Everything is boring and predictable. As an extra bonus you are subjected to second rate poetry from Romeo, although I suspect that the author just paraphrased most of it from other sources. This is certainly true of Shakespeare. She mangles the old bard???s words many times and shoves them into her characters mouths. This book is just dreadful.

16 of 23 people found this review helpful