Was this what really happened to Romeo & Juliet?
Think you know the world’s most famous love story? Think again. What if the story of Romeo & Juliet really happened – but not quite in the way we’ve all been told?
This part-prequel, part-sequel to the original tale, told from the point of view of the Friar, tells how an ancient Italian manuscript reveals secrets and lies which have remained hidden for hundreds of years, and casts new doubts on the official story of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers.
If you love the Romeo & Juliet story but are disappointed with the way it ended, this is the book for you.
I loved the tale of Romeo and Juliet growing up. I read the play, watched the movies and have seen the ballet. When this book was presented to me I was instantly intrigued. Why did the Friar act in the way he did? What were his motives? Could there have been an alternative outcome for the star crossed lovers?
When the book starts we find ourselves in modern day, a man celebrating his 100th birthday wants an old Italian manuscript, that’s been in his family for generations, translated. This task falls to his granddaughter, the secrets within reveal the real story behind the famous tale. They are side characters in this story, you see occasional glimpses of her thoughts interspersed through the book, but for the most part it is told first person by the Friar himself.
The first quarter of the story is the prequal leading up to the well known events. Charting The Friar’s life before entering the monastery. Sebastiano, as he was known, is one of those characters you instantly warm to. Even before his Monastic life he is kind hearted, warm and generous. Forced into the Monastery by his father, Sebastiano becomes Fra’Lorenzo. He makes the best of what life has thrown his way and becomes a well liked and respected Friar.
Obviously along the way we meet all the characters we already know and love. Sue has kept true to the original in her portrayal of these people, the only difference being is that she uses the Italian versions of their names. The old rivalry in Verona is in full swing when Fra’Lorenzo finds himself leading a Monastery there.
For the most part the story also sticks true to the famous play. Romeo and Juliet do indeed meet and fall helplessly in love. Marrying in secret before Romeo gets banished. Juliet is also forced to marry Paris. Things deviate slightly from this point, I do not wish to spoil things for you, but safe to say if you wanted a different outcome for pair then you need to read this book.
I loved this version of events. The story caught me and carried me along until its glorious conclusion. If you don’t know the story well you could certainly still read and enjoy this book. All the major events are covered, just from a different point of view. This is perfect for a valentines read, so if you need a very last minute present idea, purchase this book. You can also find a giveaway to win a copy at the bottom of this post.
Finally many thanks to Sue Barnard and Rachel at Random Resources for inviting me onto the tour and giving me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Find a giveaway at the end of this review
Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet. She was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium, but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University she had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “Non-Working Mother” would be banned from the English language.
Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.
Sue speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad. She is also very interested in family history. Her own background is far stranger than any work of fiction; she would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.
Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.
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Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Ghostly Father (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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