Thursday, February 25, 2010
O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
We all know the story of Romeo and Juliet so I will not repeat the story. Maxwell sticks to the major events that happen in William Shakespeare's story but does a nice job in retelling it with some new twists and characters. Maxwell's version it is set in 15th century Florence during the Medici era.
Juliet's best friend Lucrezia was engaged to Piero de Medici and big party was thrown by the patriarch of the Medici family, Cosimo de Medici and his wife. Juliet was there and met Romeo, who actually came to the party to enlist the help of Cosimo, to help break the feud between the Monticeccos' and Capellettis'. Right away the couple find they have a strong common interest, the writings of Dante.
The two found all kinds of different ways to see each other and their love for each other grew very fast. A big problem, even bigger than the feud was that Juliet was promised to her father's business partner, Jacopo Strozzi. She loathed him but as with most women back then, she had to abide by her father's wishes.
Romeo figured out a plan so that Juliet would be able to marry and live with him. However there are many twists and turns that get in their way.
I loved the way Robin Maxwell used the Medici as a starting point and background to the story. It really added a new and exciting dimension to the story. I didn't care for her portrayal of Jacopo Strozzi. She used the "done to death" plot of him being ugly and sour breathed. She mentioned this just about every place he appeared in the novel. Yes, I got the point, he was evil. That said, another part I really adored was the addition of Dante's writing in the story and how she used them.
Over all, I really did enjoy this retelling of Romeo and Juliet. I recommend it for fans of romance, historical fiction, and the Medici.