I adore talking to a legend. Today I need you to listen to me once more.”
This is how the wonderful little gem of a book, Letters to Juliet, begins. Although the book is 173 pages long, it is an easy and short read that will have you wanting to visit Verona by the end. Is it a literary masterpiece? No, of course not. The book is set up in more of a small coffee table gift book fashion than a novel or non-fiction book. In other words, it is not meant to be read and re-read, but read once and then referred back to when you need to once again see the impact one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragic love stories has had on the world.
Letters to Juliet takes us from the history of the story of Romeo and his Juliet (which was surprisingly NOT invented by Shakespeare) up to the 21st century and the current Club di Giulietta. In this book, you will learn of how the unforgettable legend of Romeo and Juliet began and how the Secretaries of Juliet have kept it alive for such a long time. The best part of reading this book is reading the letters from people of all ages and walks of life written to Juliet. Love-struck teenagers, couples married for many years, and even a priest thanking Juliet for her Service to Love as he calls it fill this book between the pages telling us of the legend and the truth of this story. The book also includes both antique and modern day pictures of the tomb and house of Juliet located in Verona, Italy, that have become tourist attractions visited by thousands of people every year.
It is no wonder that this year someone came up with the idea to make a movie bearing the same name that is inspired by this little book. You can find my review of the movie here. The verdict…an A, not for being a literary masterpiece (which is not what this book is intended to be), but for keeping alive a story and a love that can transcend time.