Juliet by Anne Fortier

Anne Fortier’s debut novel combines the diverse elements of history, romance, travel and dangerous adventure into one brilliantly told tale. Parallel narratives tell the story of a contemporary young woman and a tragic love story that occurs in medieval Italy.

After the untimely death of their parents in Italy, infant twins Julie and Janice Jacobs are reared in Virginia by their doting great Aunt Rose and her faithful and ever present man servant Umberto.  Though identical twins, Julie and Janice are opposites in temperament, personality and interests. Their relationship is cantankerous and marred by constant bickering.

Reunited at Aunt Rose’s funeral, their animosity increases when Julie discovers her inheritance is only a key to a safety deposit box in Siena Italy. Flighty, fashionable and promiscuous Janice has inherited all of Aunt Rose’s extensive estate.  Julie is left heartbroken and destitute by this turn of events.   Unbeknownst to Julie, that key leads her on an adventure which unveils the root of her family’s obsession with Romeo and Juliette.

The reader is transported to Siena, Italy during the 1300’s, where life is brimming with violence, superstition and family vendettas.  Julie’s quest for a lost treasure is entwined with this past, placing her in mortal danger.

Fortier engages her reader with alternating chapters that interweave the modern story of Julie and her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei.  Fortier’s writing vividly portrays both time periods of Italy, her well drawn characters come to life for the reader and the suspenseful plot keeps you turning pages.

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