Published by: NAL Trade
Published on: Feburary 2, 2010
Page Count: 338
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC sent to me by the publisher
Availability: paperback and eBook
Giveaway: see below for details
O, Juliet is the first novelization of Shakespeare’s famous play. Although Robin Maxwell maintained the key plot points, she did modify the location, opting for Florence over Verona. The main characters are much the same, however their last names and circumstances are shaped by the history and feel of Florence. Therefore, the Medici family plays a large roll in the relationship (or lack of) between Romeo and Juliet’s families. In addition to the Medicis, Dante is also front and center. The love of his poetry is what brings the two young lovers together.
What I enjoyed most about this novel is the romance between Romeo and Juliet. Their stolen moment outside of the Medici palace painted such a wonderful picture of young love. It reminded me of how my husband and I bonded over R.E.M. We could talk about music for hours. Having an obvious impediment also seems to draw young couples together. It makes for a quicker, tighter bond, regardless of how wise the relationship might be in the long run. When you don’t think that you can have something or someone makes you want it all the more. You can see very easily how these two characters could get so involved so quickly.
I had some difficulty with the change in Romeo and Juliet’s last names. They were changed, I presume, due to the different settings to make them authentic to the time and place. For whatever reason, I never grew comfortable enough with Monticecco and Capelletti to stop looking for Montague and Capulet. This didn’t prevent me from enjoying the romance, but it did take me out of the story from time to time. Besides, I liked Maxwell’s selection of Florence over Verona over all, too. Florence is such a fascinating location and the Medici involvement added so much to the family rivalry.
If you are in the mood for romance, I strongly suggest picking up and reading O, Juliet. I loved the way Maxwell retold such a familiar story, adding details and fleshing out scenes. Although I knew the ending to this story before I ever opened, I held out hope in the end. With this love story, I always do. Now, when I think of Romeo and Juliet, I will think of two things: how the young lovers got to know each other in the Monticecco vineyard in this novel and visions of Mr. Sommers, my freshman English teacher, acting out the play his classroom with his wispy white comb-over bobbing up and down on top of his head.
Robin Maxwell’s Site and a Giveaway!
If you are interested in reading this novel or entering the author’s poetry contest, you should really check out Robin Maxwell’s website. Or, you can also enter my contest! I want to thank Robin Maxwell and NAL for providing me with a copy of this novel to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Between today and March 4th, leave a comment here telling me about your best Romeo and Juliet memory – your first read, first theater experience, etc… I will use the great Randomizer to select the winner.