Julie and Romeo
Julie and Romeo is simply a heart-warmer of a tale. Loosely based on the classic Romeo and Juliet, it has a happy ending and enough interesting twists for those who like something different in a romance.
Julie Roseman is a sixty-year-old divorcee who owns a failing family flower business. Her parents started Roseman’s flower shop when she was a little girl, and her husband Mort kept it going until he decided to run off with a much-younger woman. Now she has two mortgages and no husband, but she still has her flowers – for now.
Julie is attending a small business seminar when she runs into a face from the past – Romeo Cacciamani. Romeo’s family was also in flowers, and his parents were Julie’s parents’ biggest competitors. Julie was taught that all the Cacciamanis were scum, even though she’s not quite sure how these opinions began. But on the day of the conference, she looks into Romeo’s still-handsome face and sees not a hated Cacciamani, but a nice man with business problems. She can’t quite understand why she ever hated him, let alone how this hate has continued for so long.
Unfortunately, there are more barriers to Julie and Romeo’s relationship than just getting over their mutual prejudices. Julie’s adult daughters and Romeo’s adult sons are fully steeped in the family tradition of hate, and as Julie and Romeo try to fall in love, their children try to keep them apart. Will love triumph in the end, or will this be just another version of the Shakespearean tragedy?
Well, since I already mentioned that there’s a HEA here, I suppose we can dispense with the tragedy option. Actually, this book is fun from start to finish, with only a bit of angst. Sure, there’s quite a bit of tension between the Rosemans and the Cacciamanis, but it’s all done in such a comic way, with Julie interjecting wry observations here and there to make it even funnier.
The characters are well done, and it’s a nice bonus that Julie is so much older than the average heroine. She looked at life from a different perspective. It was amusing to see how she coped with her daughters, Sandy and Nora. Nora was a somewhat scary real estate broker who’d always kept her mother hopping, and Sandy was a recent divorcee who’d moved back home with her kids to recuperate. Julie’s rather complicated relationship with both her daughters makes for some interesting reading.
The only fly in the ointment is that Romeo isn’t so very fleshed out. He’s obviously a very nice man and a very devoted father, and though he’s likable, I found it difficult to get a handle on his motivation. The book is written in the first person, entirely in Julie’s point of view, so it’s a little hard to see why Romeo falls so hard and so fast for Julie. Also, it’s a little unclear how much of a part he’s played in this Roseman-Cacciamani feud during the years. But this is a pretty small quibble. I liked him and I liked them together.
Julie and Romeo left me with a warm glow. It was just a pleasure to read. For those readers who are always looking for an older heroine, I would heartily recommend Julie Roseman. She’s funny, she’s different, and she’s real. Can it get better than that?