O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
ARC, Paperback, 338 pages
February 2, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: From Publisher NAL and Robin Maxwell for Review
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!
5 out of 5 stars (and more if it were possible)
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
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