Fortier’s novel takes the classic story of Romeo and Juliet and gives it a twist – making the case that these two start-crossed lovers were, in fact, based on real people. Julie Jacobs, the novel’s protagonist, has traveled to Italy after the death of her Aunt Rose. She goes off in hopes of learning more about her parents (who died when she was a young child) and hopefully stumbling across a hinted at inheritance (her twin sister, Janice, seemed to have been the only one that Aunt Rose felt deserved to be the beneficiary of her estate). Setting off on this journey, Julie discovers that her real name is actually Giulietta Tolomei and that she is descended from a woman of the same name – the “original” Juliet. With this discovery, along with many others related to the Romeo and Giulietta that lived in Italy in 1340, the reader is transported between the past and the present with considerable overlap. The newly-christened Giulietta soon finds herself entangled in a mystery that seems to get more confusing and dangerous the deeper she goes.
I definitely thought this was an interesting take on the Romeo & Juliet story. There’s an underlying romantic element that emerges later on which readers of romance will certainly appreciate. It was an entertaining audiobook to listen to and I’m glad I came across it scanning the shelves at my local library.