This is the story of Julie Jacobs who upon the death of her Aunt, her guardian since her mother and father died in a tragic car accident, learns the truth about her name, her place in life, her background and her history. History which goes back to the 14th Century and involves a familiar story to Julie, in fact her favourite – William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Julie goes on a journey back to Italy, Siena in fact not Verona and begins to piece together the clues left by her mother about her rather strange heritage. What this then provides is stories of hidden treasures, family arguments and seeking out the truth. For me this part of the book, took a long time to really get anywhere and I was slightly bored by the constant descriptions of the buildings, and the routes to everywhere in the different sections of the city and which family ruled which part. However, it did pick up and I was rather intrigued to find out what was going on as Julie began to unravel everything before whoever was following her caught up with her. It has so much of The Da Vinci Code in it – all these clues and documents pointing to something that has never been proved or found, if anything was it intentionally written like this to make us as readers question a play which has been around for 500 years and has survived to this day. Was it based on real fact and real people?
Interspersed within this story is the story set in the 14th century of a boy called Romeo and a girl called Giuiletta, which is theorised to be the starting point of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? Again we see the fights, the feuds, and the duels, the families at war over marriage, money and position. There are a lot of characters in this section of the book and it takes a while to work out who belongs to what family and whether they are friends, enemies or on the outside of them all. This part of the book relates to the present day and is narrated in the third person whilst the current story is narrated by Julie, this helps give a definition between the two stories and the two ‘Juliet’s’.
If you are a fan of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet and theories about where Shakespeare got his stories from and where they fit into today literature then this is the book for you. If you are looking for something else I fear you will not find it. I struggled with this book mainly because of the characters and the amount, I lost who was connected with who and where. I cannot fault the wonderful descriptions of Siena and the architecture within the walls, the author has obviously done plenty of research with this one. A challenging book but I am not quite sure if I enjoyed it.
Thanks to Amazon Vine for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. I was tempted to buy it more than once in a bookshop but always hesitated. I hope review reflects that I am still rather hesitant about the book.