Juliet's Nurse

Juliet's Nurse: A Novel - Lois Leveen

This is grief's great trick: you think you have faced the worst of it, not dreaming of all that is yet to come.

I, like many others, had to read Romeo and Juliet back in high school. When I first read the book I fell in love with it and couldn't get enough of the star-crossed lovers (oh how young I was). Unfortunately once I grew up from being that starry-eyed girl, I began to like the book less and think it not so romantic as I used to. I decided to request Juliet's Nurse from NetGalley because even though I'm no longer a starry-eyed girl I thought it would be absolutely fascinating to read Lois Leveen's interpretation into the background of Juliet's nurse. This is a wonderful tale filled with love, loss, and a woman's drive to protect the only person she has left in the world, a girl named Juliet.


The woman that Leveen creates from the clues that Shakespeare leaves about Juliet's nurse is a woman easy to connect with, love, and at times become frustrated with. Angelica, Juliet's wet nurse, comes into Juliet's life already having experienced great loss and she clings to Juliet to stave off some of her grief. Angelica not only becomes close with Juliet but also with Juliet's cousin Tybalt. With these two children she discover the joy she hasn't had since she lost her beloved children.


I absolutely loved Angelica's husband, Pietro. He brought such joy (most of the time) and humor to this story. You couldn't help but want the best for such a kindhearted and loveable man. At this stage in my life I have to say that I loved Angelica and Pietro's relationship way more than Romeo and Juliet. Ultimately I am angry at what happens to Pietro and how Angelica eventually treats him. Pietro had such a goodness to him that no other character truly seemed to have that he became my favorite character in this book.


This book covers the events after Juliet is born and some of her childhood and then it jumps to the events covered in Romeo and Juliet. Once it jumped ahead it seemed like the book changed in writing style because some of Shakespeare's dialogue was included (obviously) and that really differs from the dialogue of the first part. The second part was definitely more Shakespearean than the first part but it was fascinating getting to see these familiar events from the point-of-view of Angelica.


What Leveen has created with this book is a look into the life of a mysterious but important character of Romeo and Juliet. It may be difficult to do but I felt that she did Shakespeare justice and I would highly recommend this book to all those out there that have read Romeo and Juliet and liked it or to all those out there who want to see the story from another point-of-view.