- Kelly McDermott-Bay
- Hello, my name is Kelly and I welcome you to the Bookend Diaries book blog. I created this blog to share my own reviews of existing and new books, to discuss with other readers what we’re currently reading, update you on my book club picks, and of course, to ultimately support the work of the authors we all enjoy. I am addicted to reading and I thought this would be a great way to reach out to other readers who are as obsessed with books as I am.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
***Purchased through Barnes and Noble
Maxwell delivers a mesmerizing retelling of the famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, in her latest novel, set in Italy at the beginning of the Renaissance. Juliet Capelletti is a headstrong, intelligent young lady who is facing an arranged marriage to Jacopo Strozzi, her father's new business partner. She does not look forward to her match but knows that it will make her parents happy. Juliet's entire future is forever changed one night at the engagement party of her best friend, Lucrezia, when she meets the handsome Romeo Monticecco. Romeo is at the party to seek reconciliation between his family and the Capelettis, who have been feuding and retaliating against each other for years.
Juliet and Romeo find a chance to talk together alone under the stars, and their destiny unfolds. Both are surprised by the other's passion for poetry and shared interest in Dante Alighieri's Vita Nuova. After their first meeting, Juliet is determined to find a way out of her upcoming marriage to Jacopo, even though this means defying her family's wishes for her and possibly destroying the business between her father and her betrothed.
What unfolds is a beautiful love story between the soul mates Romeo and Juliet. Maxwell realistically portrays the torment with which Juliet is faced as she wonders what her future holds. The things I enjoyed the most about the novel were how Maxwell drew parallels between Dante and his love, Beatrice, and Romeo and Juliet, and her use of poetry and quotes from Dante throughout the novel. Readers will savor this exquisite and magical love story."
My Review Comments:
I have to say that I loved this book, I couldn’t put it down because it was so beautifully written. It was wonderful to see Romeo and Juliet placed in a novel format. Romeo and Juliet weren’t just in lust for each other like most other books portray them, they were truly in love with each other. Both poets themselves, Romeo and Juliet were first drawn together by the works of Dante, a famous deceased poet. They met at Juliet’s best friend’s celebration. During this short meeting love ensued, but it was more than love at first sight. There was a solid foundation for their attraction, a mutual connection that made their story unfold truly beautifully. Juliet was vivacious and stubbornly strong-willed for a young woman of that era, while Romeo came across as a peacemaker of sorts, cheerful-natured, sweet and unruffled - at least until it came to defending and fiercely loving his fair Juliet. Both, of course, were dreamers of the best sorts. I loved the depth that it went into about the Capeletti's family silk merchant business and Monticecco’s family business of being farmers. The characters were very well developed and the storyline was different than the Romeo and Juliet we are all used to without straying too far from the fundamental nature of Shakespeare's beloved play. The differences between the Shakespeare version and this one were their ages, locations, and some of the other characters, but it still held true to the basic premise of two young lovers who married secretly, between two battling families and they ultimately have a tragic ending through death tying to achieve eternal love.
"Their love was the stuff of legend. But the legend is only half the story." – quote from the cover
Monday, July 12, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
***Purchased through Barnes and Noble
When the author, an American journalist and software executive working in London, is sacked from her high-powered job, she enrolls as a student at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris. With limited cooking skills and grasp of the French language, she gamely attempts to master the school's challenging curriculum of traditional French cuisine. As if she didn't have enough on her plate eviscerating fish and knocking out pâtéà choux, she determines to write a book about her experience and gets married along the way. The result is a readable if sentimental chronicle of that year in Paris in which her love life is explored in great detail, dirty weekends and all, and cooking features as a metaphor for self-discovery. Some readers may feel disappointed that the narrator's encounters with French cookery remain largely confined to her lessons at the Cordon Bleu. On those rare occasions when she ventures into the food-obsessed city, the descriptions of meals are glancing at best. Although her struggles with the language and lack of knowledge about the culture lend comic elements to the story (once, trying to order a pizza over the phone, she said, "Je suis une pizza"-I am a pizza), they, too, constrain the author's culinary explorations
My Review Comments:
I was so interested in this book, especially after seeing the popular movie, “Julie and Julia”, to see a girl going after her dreams. There is such a rage in cooking right now, it makes you wonder what it really takes to become a professionally trained chef. This book really explains all the skills necessary for achieving and living out the passion of food with a beautiful backdrop of living in Paris. It was amazing to me all the history and information that you were given access to from the very private Le Cordon Bleu French cooking school. Besides, being in a foreign country barely being able to speak or understand the French language, Flinn still makes it through to graduate and she manages all this with her love life intact. The best part of this book is it really is a true story with a happy ending, which serves as her true beginning.