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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Review: O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell

O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
ARC, Paperback, 338 pages
NAL Trade
February 2, 2010

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: From Publisher NAL and Robin Maxwell for Review
“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 has a wild, romantic imagination that 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 determines to capture the heart of the remarkable woman foretold in his stars.”
O, Juliet tells the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet – but this isn’t Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet! Juliet Cappelletti is the daughter of a silk merchant in Florence. Romeo Monticecco is the son of rural olive growers. Juliet is to be married to the wealthy partner in her father’s silk factory. When her path crosses with Romeo she knows that she can’t just settle for the uncomfortable, sour life that is planned for her. She must be able to choose what her heart wants!

The Shakespeare version of Romeo and Juliet always just left me half fulfilled – that is not something I can say about O, Juliet! Maxwell does a phenomenal job at creating the world around our heroes. Florence is described in vivid detail – the famous sites, artists/artwork, and cultural practices. I didn’t even mind that the setting wasn’t the traditional Verona because the world was so well developed. Many of the characters that surround the Cappelletti’s and Monticecco’s are well known historical figures: Cosimo d’Medici, Lucrezia Tournabuoni, Dante. Set into the historical context makes this story so much more convincing and makes the fictional characters feel alive and real.

The emotions and passions of the characters are palpable. They have thoughts and concerns other than just the love story. There are the concerns of Juliet’s father’s silk business, politics in Florence, religious concerns. We learn that Juliet writes poetry – something that wasn’t looked upon in a great light in those days. She is a strong willed young woman whose thoughts are ahead of her time. Every character is unique and fits neatly into the historical folds of Florence.

This novel has really made me love the story of Romeo and Juliet. In my opinion, this version blows any other out of the water. I didn’t get dragged down by trying to understand the poetic way of speaking. There is a real depth to the characters, setting, and story line. Even when you know the story of Romeo and Juliet there are many twists and turns that reveal so much more to you. Truly a delightful read and the only negative thing I could say about this is that I wish it were longer and the story would go on and on!

Maxwell has done it again!

Author Robin Maxwell also has written Mademoiselle Boleyn, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Signora Da Vinci, The Queen’s Bastard, To The Tower Born, Virgin, Jane, and The Wild Irish. You can visit her website for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

My reviews of other books by this author:

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

Be sure to check out Robin Maxwell’s blog, O, Juliet Love Games for great events, giveaways, and discussions.

You can also check out my post on Lucrezia Tournabuoni for more information about this amazing woman.

You can also check out the other events today for the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table:

Tragic Romance in Literature & Giveaway
at The Burton Review
Romeo and Juliet in Fashion Photography
at Hist-Fic-Chick

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. What a great review-it has really made me want to check it out! The title had me wondering if it was, indeed, about "that" Juliet. Sounds like a good incarnation of the story we know a bit of.

  2. Great review! I have always loved the original Shakespeare version, so I'm anxious to read another take on the story!!

  3. Five out of five stars! That's quite a rating. You've made me want to read it even more-- nice job!

    Laura Hartness
    The Calico Critic

  4. I was never a lover of Shakespeare - the writing not the stories - so I know that I will enjoy this book and all of the reviews have been glowing.

  5. Congratulations! I gave your blog an award! Keep up the good work!


  6. I can't wait to read this one. It sounds wonderful.

  7. It is so interesting to read the Ladies of the
    Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table, great review from all of you!!!!

  8. I'm with you all the way onj this one Heather- more than a fantastic read! Love your review; you capture it all- and coldn't agree more that it's a whole lot more than just a love story. Thanks:)

  9. I haven't read Romeo & Juliet since high school, so no matter what, Robin's book will be a brand new story to me. And based on her other fab books, I'm not surprised that you had such a high rating for O, JULIET. Only a few short days until the rest of us can get our hands on it.

  10. I'm excited to see what Robin Maxwell has done with the classic story of Romeo an Juliet. And I'm even happier that you and the other Round Table members rated the book so highly. I can't wait to read this!!!!

  11. I love how you you wrote 5 stars & more.. =)
    I second your opinions, it was a wonderful read!

    The link to The Burton Review goes to your own profile of Google Reader, so FYI the link is THIS and there is also a giveaway here. Thanks!

  12. I look forward to reading this book. When reading the Shakespearian version you have to spend time concentrating on form and verse. It will be interesting reading a fully "fleshed out" version of the story. It sounds like Ms. Maxwell has done an excellent job.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  13. I just posted my review of this book yesterday. Though I did enjoy it, I didn't enjoy it as much as you did. I'm glad that it made you love the story of Romeo and Juliet.

  14. Looks like you loved it as much as me I was sad it was over too!

  15. Several other readers besides you, Heather, have mentioned that for them, as brilliant Shakespeare's writing is, it got in the way of this story. To tell you the honest truth, I am not a Shakespeare afficianado. I consider myself an intelligent person, but much of his language goes right over my head. Thanks for the thumbs-up on O, JULIET!

  16. Brilliant review Heather! I wanted more too!

  17. Great review! This is on my TBR pile. :)


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