#Blogtour #Review #Guestpost: Juliet & Romeo by David Hewson @david_hewson @DomePress @emily_glenister #JulietandRomeo
Release date - 17th May 2018
Book length - 256 pages
Publisher - The Dome Press
Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com
Amazon UK - www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
I want to thank Emily from www.thedomepress.com for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this book for review. I also want to thank the author, David Hewson, for providing me with a guest post.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Two young people meet: Romeo, desperate for love before being sent away to study, and Juliet facing a forced marriage to a nobleman she doesn't know. Fate and circumstance bring them together in a desperate attempt to thwart their parents with a secret marriage. But in a single fateful week, their intricate scheming falls terribly apart.
Shakespeare's most well-known and well-loved play has been turned in to a gripping romantic thriller with a modern twist. Rich with the sights and sounds of medieval Italy, peopled with a vibrant cast of characters who spring from the page, this is Shakespeare as you've never read it before.
We all know the tale of Romeo and his fair Juliet, young lovers destined for tragedy and heartbreak - it's enough to bring a tear to your eye just thinking about it. So when I got the opportunity to review JULIET & ROMEO by David Hewson which is a retelling of the classic tale written in everyday English and with some surprises and changes along the way, I jumped at the chance!
Set in 1499 the beauty, harsh reality, and that special something of Verona comes alive on the page in front of you. Sixteen-year-old Juliet is intelligent, well-read, and interested in the world of art and knowledge that is coming alive around her but her father has plans to marry her off and he won't take no for an answer. Romeo, whose family are arch enemies of Juliet's, dreams of being a writer but like the lady he will come to love, he is under pressure from his family to follow the path they have chosen for him. And then one fateful night they meet ...
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the surprises that are hidden throughout and for readers who are put off from reading Shakespeare due to its language, JULIET & ROMEO by David Hewson is the perfect story to introduce you to the bard himself and all of his glory. There is drama, beauty, secrets, violence, and more, poetically described throughout this book and with characters that are so much more than meets the eye, JULIET & ROMEO by David Hewson is a book worth reading.
Juliet of the Capulets – a modern woman or not?
From time to time authors get a familiar email. Someone’s read your book and they have a question. Which way should they read a particular character or scene? Which take on something is right?
It’s always a question that’s difficult for me. I believe writers are vehicles through which stories, complex, fluid entities in their own right, come into being. Our name may be on the cover but in a sense we don’t really own then. The Germans have a wonderful word ‘kopfkino’ meaning cinema of the head. It describes that moment you find something – a novel, a thought, an experience – takes wing in your mind and becomes so real you can ‘see’ it. The instant you step back from a busy road, a lorry thunders past, and you see in your head a little movie in which you’d continued walking and fallen under its wheels.
Everything I write, whether it’s a book or a script, is aiming for that kopfkino moment.
But here’s the thing: that means the last part in the creative process is down to you, the reader. It’s your imagination that provides the essential final piece in the narrative jigsaw. If that’s the case how can an author tell you how to read a character or scene? Do we have the right? Even if we do… is our opinion any more worthwhile than yours?
In Juliet and Romeo there are several players and scenes you can interpret in different ways. Is Juliet’s father a simple misogynist who hates women and wants to keep them in their place? Or simply a man of his era, fixated on his duty as head of the household, a job that, in his eyes, ensures women don’t have to take any big decisions in life?
I have my opinion and it falls somewhere between the two. In other words he’s probably both. More problematic is the question of his daughter, an intelligent young woman of sixteen (not the thirteen of Shakespeare) who’s fascinated by the new world of the Renaissance emerging around her. Juliet wants to be a part of that exciting movement, to experience its art, to read its books, to teach the poor to read, to be much more than the standard fifteenth century wife.
Does that make her a ‘modern’ woman? Is she a proto-feminist crying ‘Me Too’ before the threatened wedding with Paris makes her his captive?
I have to say it’s not the way I saw things as this story emerged. Women at the time of the story were treated pretty shabbily for the most part. The wealthier ones such as Juliet were usually expected to take part in arranged marriages according to the political and financial needs of their families. Love didn’t come into it much at all, which is why so many had affairs on the side. Those from poorer backgrounds had a touch more freedom when it came to choosing partners, but many would find themselves rejected, widowed, penniless and perhaps forced into prostitution if the world turned against them. Or, like Juliet’s Nurse in this story, forced into service to wet nurse the infants of the wealthy.
They weren’t all victims, though. When Romeo is briefly exiled to Mantua after killing Tybalt we meet a formidable real-life female ruler, Isabella d’Este, who ran the small city state while her faithless husband was off fighting military campaigns and beginning affairs, one with Lucretia Borgia, daughter of the Pope. Isabella is one of the great women of history, a stateswoman, an intellectual, a patron of the arts and friend to Leonardo da Vinci among others. Romeo is granted a quick and unsuccessful audience with her in her Mantua palace and I hope we see some of the power she wields there, a little eccentrically it should be said. She was fond of designing her own dresses, in fashions other Mantua women copied even when they were topless, and also liked surrounding herself with African servants.
Juliet, I feel, would see herself in Isabella’s mould. When we first meet her she’s newly returned from Venice where a clever printer, Aldus Manutius, has perfected the process of printing cheap books. The first paperbacks if you like. What inspires her, I think, is a thirst for knowledge, not a modern concept of ‘freedom’. In 1499 the idea of personal freedom was, I suspect, a somewhat foreign one. In Italy and most of Europe at the time almost everyone felt themselves in thrall to god through the church. Your future was largely mapped out by your sex and whereabouts you were born in society.
So for me Juliet is more humanist than feminist. Yes, she feels that women should be free to choose their partners. But I doubt she sees that as more or less important than the idea that literacy should be universal and art should embrace the future as much as the past. It’s intellectual freedom that inspires her, not a desire to throw off the shackles of her sex, which is one reason she feels she’s fighting as much for Romeo’s right to choose his wife as hers to choose a husband.
Though readers may disagree – and they should.
David Hewson is the author of fourteen novels and several dramatisations for Audible.com. A dramatic reading of Juliet and Romeo read by Richard Armitage was released in November 2017 to great acclaim. David is a regular columnist and reviewer for newspapers and appears regularly at book festivals around the UK.
For more information:
Website - davidhewson.com
Twitter - twitter.com/david_hewson
Facebook - www.facebook.com/davidhewsonauthor
Instagram - www.instagram.com/david.hewson/
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Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger, wife & mother who loves all things books!
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