Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved Aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.
This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down.
Right off the bat, I want to explain that I am not a big fan of romance novels... like not at all! But this is one wonderful exception!
Beautiful story! When I started this book, I soon discovered that I did not want to put it down. It was thick with intrigue and international mystery. The characters developed exceptionally. The historical sections were enchanting. The book has it all! It’s a toned-down DaVinci Code (and not in terms of its suspense but related to the DaVinci Code's gore and intensity which is toned down). Everything in this story worked: The "exotic" setting, the characters, the history, the plot developments and twists, it all was fantastic! The book had no harsh/fowl language or explicit romantic scenes, and I enjoyed the book better because of these absences. It was about the discoveries. I was hoping for a Tolomei connection to the historical Ptolemy family that ruled Ancient Egypt with the name similarity, but the history in the story did not stretch back that far.
The descriptions of places and things were poetic yet not overly drawn out. It was to the point yet lovely. The chapter breaks and opening Shakespeare quotes perfectly set the mood. The book was well researched, elegantly written, and rich with suspense. I loved reading it and will pick it up again soon to absorb it all again! This book is SOOO good!
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse