NAL, Feb 2 2010, $15.00
In Florence, Italy, Juliet Capelletti is happy that her best friend Lucrezia Tornabuoni is marrying into the Medici family as that is what she wants. On the other hand Juliet wants a Dante to sweep her off her feet rather than an arranged marriage. Her parents Simonetta and Capello have arranged for her to marry her dad’s silks and wool business partner Jacopo Strozzi, a member of the second wealthiest family in the city. Juliet detests Strozzi for his odious touching her without regard to her feelings, his yellow teeth, his odor and being sneaky.
Strozzi informs Juliet’s father that the Monticecco family declared war on them by sinking a cargo of silk and burning down a factory. Although he has no idea why a feud occurred, Capelletti retaliates. Romeo Monticecco tries to bring peace between the families, but matters get worse instead. When he and Juliet meet, they fall in love, but neither family will tolerate a marriage between one of them and a member of the enemy.
This is an interesting novelization of the classic play in which Robin Maxwell catches the essence of Romeo and Juliet as well as the political and economic intrigue of Florence that leads to the manipulations, back-stabbing and family feud. Although Strozzi as the devious villain is described as odious a quadrillion times, historical romance fans except for Shakespeare purists will enjoy the retelling; as the Bard receives the Austen-Bronte modern day chutzpah treatment.