Alack, alack, what blood is this which stains the stony entranc
of this sepulchre?
It has taken me a while to figure out where to start. You could argue that my story began more than six hundred years ago, with a highway robbery in medieval Tuscany. Or, more recently, with a dance and a kiss at Castello Salimbeni, when my parents met for the first time. But I would never have come to know any of this without the event that changed my life overnight and forced me to travel to Italy in search of the past. That event was the death of my great-aunt Rose.
It took Umberto three days to find me and tell me the sad news. Considering my virtuosity in the art of disappearing, I am amazed he succeeded at all. But then, Umberto always had an uncanny ability to read my mind and predict my movements, and besides, there were only so many Shakespeare summer camps in Virginia.
How long he stood there, watching the theater performance from the back of the room, I do not know. I was backstage as always, too absorbed in the kids, their lines and props to notice anything else around me until the curtain fell. After the dress rehearsal that afternoon, someone had misplaced the vial of poison, and for lack of better, Romeo would have to commit suicide by eating Tic Tacs.
“But they give me heartburn!” the boy had complained, with all the accusatory anxiety of a fourteen-year-old.
“Excellent!” I had said, resisting a motherly urge to adjust the velvet hat on his head. “That’ll help you stay in character.”
Only when the lights came on afterwards, and the kids dragged me onstage to bombard me with gratitude, did I notice the familiar figure looming near the exit, contemplating me through the applause. Stern and statuesque in his dark suit and tie, Umberto stood out like a lone reed of civilization in a primordial swamp. He always had. For as long as I could remember, he had never worn a single piece of clothing that could be considered casual. Khaki shorts and golf shirts, to Umberto, were the garments of men who have no virtues left, not even shame.
Later, when the onslaught of grateful parents subsided and I could finally walk off the stage, I was stopped briefly by the program director, who took me by the shoulders and shook me heartily—he knew me too well to attempt a hug. “Good job with the youngsters, Julie!” he gushed. “I can count on you again next summer, can’t I?”
“Absolutely,” I lied, walking on. “I’ll be around.”
Approaching Umberto at last, I looked in vain for that little happiness at the corner of his eyes that was usually there when he saw me again after some time away. But there was no smile, not even a trace, and I now understood why he had come.
Excerpted from Juliet by Anne Fortier Copyright © 2010 by Anne Fortier. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Orphaned at a young age and raised by a loving, devoted, wealthy aunt, Julie Jacobs is stunned to learn that all she inherits is a key to a safety deposit box in Italy!
Julie recently discovered she’s named for Giulietta, an ancestor whose love for a boy named Romeo rocked medieval Siena. But more stunning is that the feud made famous by Shakespeare is still going on—and it’s all about her key. Julie can’t help thinking of the play’s notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—as she realizes her quest to find her family’s lost treasure, a bejeweled statue of the doomed lovers, has become a dangerous competition; and the only one who can save her is her Romeo. So where is he? Anne Fortier’s Juliet is fantastic fun!
Hardcover Book : 464 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc./Random House ( August 24, 2010 )
Item #: 13-134945
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.05inches
Product Weight: 16.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
One of the best book I have read in a long time. Just loved the idea and the characters. Brought all of your emotions out. Just a wonderful book. Read it and enjoy.
There are no words to describe how great this book is. My review will by no means give it enough justice. This is the best book ever. I loved it so much. It is now my favorite book of all time. Just do yourself a favor and get this book. It touched my heart and soul. If I could ever meet the author I would give her a big hug and thank her for writing such a great book. I wish I could afford to give everyone a copy. I am contemplating reading it again!
A true gem which holds the reader between "Can't put down" and "Don't let this end!" The double story lines are equally fascinating and the movement between them flawless. None of the too often "Just get me through the flashback and back to the good stuff." The characters are truly interesting and the setting makes you want to visit the locals. I'll certainly be looking for Ms Forteir's future publications.
I just finished reading this book and it was amazing! From the moment I started reading it I couldnt put it down! Fortier really brought the story of Romeo and Juliet to real life with this book. It takes the reader into the depths of medieval Italy and back to the present day with all types of twist and surprises along the way to see how it was more than just a fictional romantic story. I would definitely recommend!!
I LOVED this book! It is one of the best books I have read in a really long time. Once I started reading it I could not put it down. I loved the history, romance and the twist and turns the book took. It kept you captivated from beginning to end.