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A Romantic Mystery

I finished this lovely little novel right before Valentine’s Day.  At first glance, one might conclude that it is a mere retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  In the first place, a retelling need not be relegated to something so disdainful.  Re-told tales can be charming in their own right.  In the second place, such a dry description would be an unfortunate mischaracterization of this book.

After the death of her beloved Aunt Rose, Julie Jacobs inherits a mysterious key that is meant to unlock a terrible secret linked to her ancestry.  She uncovers the real reason for her parents death, and that she must break an ancient curse on her house or else possibly face an untimely death herself.

The adventure takes place in Siena, Italy, where the true story of Romeo Marescotti and Giulietta Tolomei began about 700 years ago.

Great love, you believe, carries the seeds of great sorrow.  Well perhaps you are right.  Perhaps the wise spurn one to remain safe from the other, but should rather choose to have my eyes burnt in their sockets than to have been born without.

The author’s narrative is engaging without being forced, sweet but not saccharine.  I really enjoyed the rich detail and intricate history.  It’s a perfect February read.

And now for a little confession.  I’ve never read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In all my English Lit classes, we skipped it probably because all the teachers assumed it would get covered elsewhere.  What about you?  Have you read all the plays?  Which ones are your favorites?