October 13, 2014

Review: Juliet's Nurse by Lois Leveen

Title: Juliet's Nurse: A Novel
Author: Lois Leveen
Published: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Hardcover: 384 pgs

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In Verona, a city ravaged by plague and political rivalries, a mother mourning the death of her day-old infant enters the household of the powerful Cappelletti family to become the wet-nurse to their newborn baby. As she serves her beloved Juliet over the next fourteen years, the nurse learns the Cappellettis’ darkest secrets. Those secrets—and the nurse’s deep personal grief—erupt across five momentous days of love and loss that destroy a daughter, and a family.

If you're a fan of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, than this book is a must-read! I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to be transported to Verona ("where we lay our scene"...get it? get it?) and take a totally different look on such a timeless love story. Kudos to Lois Leveen for capturing such an iconic time period.

Be warned though: Juliet's Nurse is NOT about Romeo and Juliet. In fact, think of them as a side story to a series of even greater romances. The book is filled with countless love stories --- between the Nurse and her husband, Nurse and her children, Nurse and Juliet, and even Nurse and Tybalt. It's amazing to me that when you watch Shakespeare's play, you forget entirely that here is another character who is a pivotal witness to all the drama, fighting, and death, and yet who never gets to express her pain.

The Nurse's story is tragic and painful to read. While she is filled with so much love to share, she is only dealt heartache after heartache. But at the same time, her character is so strong and powerful --- bending but never breaking. The balance between survival and suffering that her character has to live through is simply captivating to read.

This is definitely a good read for anyone (even if you have no clue who Romeo and Juliet are). It is "a tale of such woe", that even outdoes that "of Juliet and her Romeo".

5 out of 5 stars!

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