Beautifully interwoven, like the Medieval tapestries that adorned the walls of the castles of Sienna, Fortier's novel bursts with heart and beauty. Shakespeare's tales are universal and enduring to readers of all nations and ages. In this retelling of Romeo and Juliet, Fortier explores the roots of the story, including Shakespeare's classic of the Renaissance but also exploring the story's Medieval origins. It was Sienna, not Verona, where the two opposing houses were. Partly told in 1340 and partly told in present-day, this is the story of destiny, fate, family rivalries and true love. It is also, though, a story of lineage, of sisterhood, of twins and two sides, of ancient treasure, of discovery, of choice, of motive and of secrets. In short, it is a thrilling story infused with historical, cultural, mystical and adventuresome spirit.
This book is not only captivating, but also beautifully written with philosophical musing. This full-bodied experience is the kind of writing that I love both to read and to write. I was surprised to learn that Fortier's first language was not English, as she is Danish, because of the beauty captured in her words. One of my favorite passages is from Chapter IV.1
"The angels. If you are very quiet, you can hear them giggle."
"What are they laughing at?" I had wanted to know. "Us?"
"They take flying lessons here. There is no wind, only the breath of God."
"Is that what makes them fly? The breath of God?"
"There is a trick to flying. The angels told me." He had smiled at my wide-eyed awe. "You need to forget everything you know as a human being. When you are human, you know as a human being. When you are human, you discover that there is great power in hating the earth. And it can almost make you fly. But it never will."
I had frowned, not quite understanding him. "So, what's the trick?"
"Love the sky."
This is a gem of advice: to achieve your goals, do not try to run from what you hate, hoping to take off. Instead, reach for what you love and you will fly. Great books help us to soar and to love the sky. Juliet is one of the best books that I've read. I highly recommend it.
My best to you all,