- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 23 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345813995
- ISBN-13: 978-0345813992
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.6 x 23.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #452,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Juliet's Nurse: The world's most famous love story as it's never been told before Paperback – Deckle Edge, Sep 23 2014
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“Lois Leveen has crafted a startlingly original take on an iconic love story, and with grace and insight presents Shakespeare’s Verona and its characters in a wonderfully new and surprising light. Angelica’s unabashed sensual nature is balanced by her understanding of the complexities of the human predicament, and in the end, her resilience inspires us all to be more tolerant of our own wounded hearts.”
—Linda Holeman, author of The Devil on Her Tongue and The Lost Souls of Angelkov
“If Romeo and Juliet is the story of two star-crossed lovers, then Juliet’s Nurse is the equally compelling love affair between the infant Juliet Cappelletti and her milk mother and nurse, Angelica. Leveen’s novel is clever, fast-paced, well-researched and beautifully written. Convincing historical details are sprinkled throughout with a light hand, provoking in the reader the sense of: Oh, of course, yes . . . this is how it must have been in the 14th century. Exactly like this. I loved it.”
—Roberta Rich, author of The Harem Midwife and The Midwife of Venice
“Wise, thoughtful and utterly irresistible, Juliet’s Nurse opens the back door to Shakespeare’s masterpiece, telling a powerful story not just of youth seduced by love and destruction, but also of maturity left to pick up what is left and carry on.”
—Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace and Empress of the Night, the novels of Catherine the Great
About the Author
Award-winning author LOIS LEVEEN dwells in the spaces where literature and history meet. Her work has appeared in numerous literary and scholarly journals, as well as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Bitch magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, and on NPR. Lois gives talks about writing and history at universities, museums, and libraries around the United States. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with two cats, one Canadian, and 60,000 honeybees.See all Product description
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Narrated by the nurse Angelica herself, she is the wife of a beekeeper, whose own life has been tragically filled, as the couple have lost seven children already to birth or to illnesses such as the plague, which, needless to say, is rampaging through Italy at the time. She becomes employed, as we would have it, as a wet nurse for the Cappellietti's new baby girl Juliet. Angelica and Juliet form a loving bond in Juliet's much younger years. All this takes place in Part I. Part II finds Juliet at 14, when the 'tragic days of her life' occurs. Here we meet some of the more familiar characters like Tybalt, Mercutio, and Friar Lorenzo...and of course young Romeo (for up to now, we've been asking 'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?'). Actually, the narrative not only takes up five days, but they are the ones readers are looking for. Like the nurse is obvious, even getting to know the sweet baby Juliette is okay, but we really want to cut to the chase, even though, of course, we are likely to predict the outcome.
Leveen notes that the Nurse has more lines in the Shakespeare play than any other character except the two leads and she does a good job of romanticizing the story and the obvious outcome while giving some depth to the Nurse. At times, the language is more than a little 'salty' and the borrowed Shakespearean dialogue raises a brow or two. Overall, this is relatively light reading. Still, this reader confesses that he read the book more out of curiosity, but felt the time and effort to read it were well spent. Indeed, a most interesting take. I think the Bard probably would like it, too.
This sometimes heart-wrenching story is poignantly penned, bringing to vivid life the Italian Renaissance era where decadence and art warred with poverty and plague. This was a story of extreme hardship and suffering, of guilt and powerful love, and of one woman’s struggle to hold tight to the bonds of love she bears for the child she is charged with raising. From the adversities faced by the working poor to the opulent villas of the noblest families, the story is one of dark secrets and joyous love relationships. A lovely re-imagining of one of Shakespeare’s original characters.
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