Thursday, January 28, 2010

O, Juliet... by Robin Maxwell

This book will be available February 2, 2010.

Grade: A+


Before Juliet Capelletti lie two futures: a traditionally loveless marriage to her father's business partner or the fulfillment of her poetic dreams, inspired by the great Dante. Unlike her beloved friend Lucrezia, who looks forward to her arranged marriage into the Medici dynasty, Juliet has a wild, romantic imagination that takes flight in the privacy of her bedchamber and on her garden balcony.

Her life and destiny are forever changed when Juliet meets Romeo Monticecco, a soulful young man seeking peace between their warring families. A dreamer himself, Romeo is unstoppable once he determines to capture the heart of the remarkable woman foretold in his stars.


Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 7/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 63/70

Obtained: Free copy provided by publisher.

Age Appropriate? R

Cussing: Some, but nothing obscene.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: References to drinking and drunkenness. Intentional drinking of potions, etc.
Sexual Content: Several very explicit scenes that go into a lot of graphic detail. Younger readers caution. Also, lots of bawdy, lewd, or blandly suggestive talk, sometimes startlingly so.
Disturbing Images/Violence: A lot of graphic murder, some disturbing bloody "crime scenes", entrails, blood, fights, etc. Some decaying corpse images that was a bit chilling. Discussion of gay lovers (which didn't bother me, but just in case someone has a problem with that). Threat of rape by an incredibly creepy, evil man. Bigamy (sort of). Suicide.


Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

O, Juliet is a masterfully crafted retelling of a classic tale by a very gifted author. I was astounded by the mindful historical detail included in this novel. It was careful, natural, completely brilliant. Robin Maxwell makes it insanely easy to immerse yourself in the Italian Renaissance and the lively, unique Florentine world.

I was a bit apprehensive of this book. I love Shakespeare, and Shakespeare retellings, but Romeo and Juliet is just so overused, and I get sick of it. But this... This was the most creative retelling I have ever experienced. It did justice to the Bard's tale, but took many liberties that improved the story for novel-making. The play is woven into the bones of this story. It's recognizable, but the result is entirely original and thus, much more enjoyable than a simple retelling. This was a modified-telling.

This novel is written with the majestic, almost archaic voice that seems to be the most successful with Shakespearean stories. It is poetic yet comprehensible. I fell in love with Juliet and Romeo for their intelligent, clear-headed, but distinguishable voices. The dialogue was fascinating, written with a conversational/slightly formal ease that was perfect for the story.

Overall, this was a surprisingly lovely rendition of the Bard's Romeo and Juliet. It's a story all its own, for Shakespeare lovers and haters alike. Riddled with intriguing allusions to Dante Alighieri's life and work. It made me want to read his Inferno and La Vita Nuova to get a better understanding of Juliet and Romeo's obsession. But whether or not you are a fan of good ole Will Shakespeare or the great Poet Dante, O, Juliet will surely capture your heart.


Robin Maxwell
O, Juliet sneak peak!
Love Games (contest by author)
Lisa Klein (another wonderful Shakespeare reteller)


  1. I received this book in the mail last week and now I'm very excited to read it! Great review!


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