Juliet's Nurse

Juliet's Nurse : A Novel

3.54 (1,524 ratings by Goodreads)
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In Verona, a city ravaged by plague and political rivalries, a mother mourning the death of her day-old infant enters the household of the powerful Cappelletti family to become the wet-nurse to their newborn baby. As she serves her beloved Juliet over the next fourteen years, the nurse learns the Cappelletti's darkest secrets. Those secrets-and the nurse's own deepest personal grief-erupt across five momentous days of love and loss that destroy a daughter, and a family.

By turns comic, sensual, and tragic, JULIET'S NURSE gives voice to one of literature's most memorable and distinctive characters, a woman who was both insider and outsider among Verona's wealthy ruling class. Exploring the romance and intrigue of interwoven loyalties, rivalries, jealousies, and losses only hinted at in Shakespeare's play, JULIET'S NURSE offers an original perspective and a never-before-heard tale of the deepest love in Verona-the love between a grieving woman and her precious milk-daughter.

In the tradition of Sarah Dunant, Philippa Gregory, and Geraldine Brooks, JULIET'S NURSE is a rich prequel and reimagining of a classic tale. Drawing readers into the romance and danger of fourteenth-century Italy, JULIET'S NURSE is an engrossing novel of love and loss, suffering, and survival.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 33mm | 540g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1476757445
  • 9781476757445
  • 1,121,431

Review quote

"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 "A stunning success...Leveen has clearly captured the spirit of the age (historically speaking)...creating a new lens by which to experience the time-tested love story." * The Source (Oregon) * "An unforgettable prequel to the classic love story that will make you want toreread Shakespeare." * Chatelaine * "Lyrically affecting . . . this is a wonderfully fun story with unforgettable characters that breathes new life into one of literature's masterpieces." * Historical Novel Review * "Remarkable...Leveen adds rich new layers to the story we know so well." * Publishers Weekly * "With her newest book, Juliet's Nurse, Leveen revisits literary history . . . Heap credit on Leveen for bringing her own innovation to the archives and creating an impressive [story], all her own." * The Eugene Register-Guard * "Both convincing and intimate . . . Juliet's Nurse makes for very shrewd and intelligent reading." * Open Letters Monthly, Art and Literature Review * "Earthy, witty, emotionally vibrant and all too human, Angelica makes Juliet's Nurse a compelling read, sometimes delightful, sometimes heart-wrenching." * HistoricalNovels.Info * "If you're a fan of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, than this book is a must-read!...Kudos to Lois Leveen for capturing such an iconic time period." * Good Choice Reading * "There may be a few occasions when the reader experiences a twinge of skepticism that any gothic nursemaid - no matter how wise - could articulate her insights with such gorgeously rendered acuity. But if gorgeous writing is my worst complaint, I guess that tells you that Juliet's Nurse is top notch." * The Bellingham Herald * "One of the most interesting and fresh novels of 2014... creative and innovative. William Shakespeare would be proud!" * Examiner.com * "Leveen did not disappoint...For Shakespeare or Romeo and Juliet fans, Juliet's Nurse is a must." * My Life in Books * "Strongly written, funny and quite fascinating." * BookFilter * "Intricate...impressive." * Library Journal * "Lois Leveen's Juliet's Nurse is an engrossing and never-before-seen glimpse into life in Shakespeare's 'fair Verona.' With sumptuous language, well-researched period detail, and a cast of compelling characters, Leveen weaves a world in which love and deception lurk on every page and around every corner. Treat yourself to this new and richly imagined version of literature's most cherished and tragic love story." -- Allison Pataki, New York Times Bestselling Author of THE TRAITOR'S WIFE "This book is rich in history and rich in Shakespeare's world with his characters coming to life in these pages more than they ever did for me even in high school English...More than they have in any on-screen telling I've ever seen." * The Grand World of Books * "Sumptuously researched . . . you'll never think about Romeo and Juliet quite the same way again" * BookTrib.com * "To Leveen's wonderfully crafted plot, add lovely language and a cast of truly complex characters. A sure bet for fans of Geraldine Brooks." * EarlyWord.com * "Juliet's Nurse is exactly what my high school English teacher promised: A complex and nuanced character, with lots of sex jokes." * Simpson's Paradox * "Clever, fast-paced, well-researched and beautifully written. Convincing historical details are sprinkled throughout, provoking in the reader the sense of how it must have been in the 14th century. I loved it." -- Roberta Rich, Internationally bestselling author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife "A beautifully written and sometimes chilling novel that's deliciously sensual and fittingly dark. Juliet's Nurse not only seems true to the classic but illuminates it. I couldn't stop reading. " -- Arthur L. Little, Jr., UCLA professor and author of Shakespeare Jungle Fever "Wise, thoughtful,and utterly irresistible. 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, Internationally bestselling author of The Winter Palace and Empress of the Night "With the largest number of lines in Shakespeare's play after the two lovers, wet nurse Angelica takes center stage in Leveen's (The Secrets of Mary Bowser, 2012) second novel, which begins 14 years before the fateful five days spanned by the drama... Leveen's enthusiastic historical novel pushes the classic teenage romance aside to give greater weight to a mother's love and losses." -- Kirkus Reviews "Lois Leveen's richly detailed, fascinating novel offers a wholly original and intriguing take on one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays through the imagined life of Juliet's faithful nurse, whose secret loves and tragedies rival the young lovers' own." -- Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln's Rival
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About Lois Leveen

Award-winning author Lois Leveen dwells in the spaces where literature and history meet. A former faculty member at UCLA and Reed College, Lois holds degrees in history and literature from Harvard University, the University of Southern California, and UCLA. Her work has appeared in numerous literary and scholarly journals, and in The New York Times, the LA Review of Books, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, Bitch magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic and on NPR.
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Rating details

1,524 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 19% (297)
4 33% (496)
3 34% (517)
2 10% (159)
1 4% (55)
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