Romeo and Juliet is familiar tale. Anyone who has sat through High School English has read it at least once. Ask anyone off the street to quote a line from a Shakespeare play, a line from Romeo and Juliet will probably be the first line they quote.
One of my previous posts was a review of Anne Fortier’s new novel, The Lost Sisterhood. Out of curiosity, I decided to read her previous novel, Juliet.
Julie Jacobs lost both of her parents when she was a young girl. She and her sister, Janice were raised by their Aunt Rose. At the beginning of the novel, her aunt has died. Julie’s inheritance is a key to a safe deposit box in Siena, Italy. She is told that the contents of the safe deposit box will guide her to a centuries old family treasure. Arriving in Siena, Julie discovers that not only is her birth name Guilietta Tolomei, but she is descended from a woman who was the real life inspiration to the title female character in Romeo and Juliet.
I liked this book more than I did the Lost Sisterhood. It contains the same elements, an ancient mystery and lives centuries apart that are somehow intertwined. Ms. Fortier repeats the use of flashback and flash forwards to tell the story of medieval and modern Guilietta. I have never been to Siena, but I felt like I was there with the characters. It’s a bit shorter than her newest novel, which for me made a big difference. I recommend it.
The Amazons are part of the ancient myths that comes down to us from the ancient Greeks and Romans. According to the myth, they were a tribe of warrior women who cut off one breast so they would not be impeded as they shot their arrows.
In her new book, The Lost Sisterhood, Anne Fortier interweaves two stories.
Diana Morgan is an academic from Oxford University in England, her specialty is the Amazons. Ms. Fortier brings the reader into three different time periods: present day and Diana’s childhood with a grandmother who is either suffering from mental illness or reliving a past life as an Amazon. The third time period is ancient North Africa, where Myrina and Lilli’s mother has just been killed. They make their way to temple of the Moon Goddess. When Greek pirates raid the temple and kidnap several of Myrina’s sisters, she embarks on a quest to rescue them, not knowing that they will be part of the Trojan War.
A mysterious and wealthy benefactor offers to fund Diana’s research about the Amazons. Finding a buried tomb, Diana discovers that Myrina was once the Queen Of The Amazons. Her journey takes her through the Middle East and Europe. Traveling with Diana is Nick Barran, a man whose name and loyalties seem to be questionable. Adding to the quest to discover who Myrina is and what her story was, she is confronted by those who do not want to her to continue on her journey.
The book is long, nearly 600 pages long. It’s not a bad book, but the meat of the book is in the final third of the story. In trying to mingle academic fact, myth and fiction, the book is almost too long. I could have done without some of the traveling. Would I recommend this book? Maybe, if I was going on a long trip and needed a book to keep me occupied.