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Julie and Romeo Paperback – December 2, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shakespeare it isn't, but Ray's beguiling first novel succeeds on the level of romantic entertainment. Narrator Julie Roseman is 60, divorced, loving her job running her family's florist business in Somerville, Mass., but uncomfortably aware that it's failing to turn a profit. All her life she's been aware of her father's violent hatred of the Cacciamani family, the town's only other florist; the Cacciamanis have expressed equal rancor. Julie has always wondered about the source of the enmity, which was never explained. The virulence has seeped down to the third generation, especially after Julie's daughter, Sandy, was caught planning to elope with young Tony Cacciamani when the two were in high school. When Julie bumps into widower Romeo Cacciamani at a seminar, however, love immediately blossoms between them. Their offspring react with horror, forbidding their respective parents to see each other again, and, when Julie and Romeo refuse to comply, the children retaliate with serious spite and fury. Despite a reliance on coincidences, Ray handles her material with vitality and humor, and demonstrates a talent for witty dialogue. She's particularly smart and funny in the realm of mother/daughter relationships, as Julie tries to deal with both Sandy, who's divorced and has moved back home with her two children, and her other daughter, Nora, a real estate whiz with a drive for perfection and a dictatorial personality. It's Nora who alerts her father, Mort, to her mother's foolish liaison, bringing Mort and his young new wife back from Seattle to complicate matters. Since it was Mort who walked out in the first place, Julie is justifiably furious. Meanwhile, Romeo enlists his parish priest as go-between and tries to placate his 89-year-old mother, whose malicious antipathy may hold the key to the family vendetta. Ray's charming little bouquet should blossom into an appealing summer read. 75,000 first printing; film rights to Barwood Films; audio rights to Brilliance Audio; rights sold in Germany, Greece, Italy and the U. K. (June) FYI: Ray is the mother of author Ann Padgett.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This is a short, sweet love story for the 60-plus set by a talented first novelist who is, according to the publicist's blurb, a nurse living in Nashville. Romeo Cacciamani and Julie Roseman are rival florists in Somerville, MA, whose families have feuded for three generations. Romeo's son Tony and Julie's daughter Sandy attempted an elopement in high school but were thwarted. Now it's the turn of widowed Romeo and divorced Julie, who meet at a small-business seminar and fall into a passionate love affair that their families are determined to thwart as well. This is a funny book, and Julie and Romeo are lovable protagonists, but the underlying premise is serious: can deeply held antagonisms be overcome, or are some relationships simply impossible? Ray comes up with some unforgettable characters, including Julie's aggressive real-estate agent daughter, Nora, and Romeo's equally aggressive 90-year-old mother, the witchlike matriarch whose "poke" has unmanned many a Cacciamani and whose rosebush-killing method harks back to Rome's destruction of Carthage. The abrupt ending (and revelation of the basis for the family animosity) may disappoint slightly, but this would still make a terrific movie. Recommended for all collections.
-Jo Manning, Barry Univ., Miami Shores, FL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Reprint edition (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451208684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451208682
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Carol S. VINE VOICE on September 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jeanne Ray gives us a delightful reworking of the Capulet-Montague feud in "Julie and Romeo" - with, thankfully, a much happier ending! Main characters Julie Roseman and Romeo Cacciamani own rival florists' shops in Boston, and have been carrying on their families' long-standing and bitter feud. They meet at a conference for small business owners, and, you guessed it, something magical happens... but their families are not so easily persuaded to give up the feud (even though no one knows exactly how it all started). The strengths of this book are many: (1) the characters are a little offbeat and incredibly real (I especailly loved Mrs. Cacciamani, who is exactly like the dowager Italian women I have known, and whose antics made me laugh out loud. I could absolutely see my Italian friend Carmela's mother or grandmother doing the same things!); (2) the lovers are also atypical - instead of beautiful people in their 20s or 30s obsessed with career or getting married, they are older, experienced, a little more sober, so that their falling in love is unexpected and sweet; (3) the book is unabashedly romantic in the best sense of the term; (4) there is enough sex and irony and humor to keep things from getting sappy or maudlin -- and to make you laugh out loud (I giggled uncontrollably at the party scene at the end); (5) I enjoyed the way Ms. Ray took the familiar Romeo and Juliet setup and tweaked it in an original way; (6) the author has a fresh and refreshing voice. And, on a more superficial note, I loved the close-up photos of flowers that opened each chapter.
As heartening as the first crocus of spring, as passionate as a red rose, as charming and bright as a daffodil, as lush and romantic as a peony... what's not to like about "Julie and Romeo"?
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. McKeon on May 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
While the title, and basic theme might sound trite and tired, this is truly a wonderful reflection on human relationships. Ray's work is full of keen insight insights and wisdom and profound in an understated, matter of a fact way.
The major protagonist, Julie, is reminiscent of those rare, wise, older people we occasionally have the good fortune to encounter who have grown patient and tolerant through life times of experience. After her husband leaves her for a trophy bride she finds herself a single struggling small town florist, who has also become caretaker for a daughter, whose marriage also failed, and two grandchildren. Rather than wallowing in self pity, she is pragmatic and focuses on day to day essentials -- work and family, and has come to accentuate the positive, having come to recognize that prejudice and anger are self indulgences which thwart happiness and success. She is caught by surprise by the opportunity for a personal happiness and satisfaction she had forgotten could exist, in the form of her family's personal, and professional nemesis, her town's rival florist.
Ray effectively and humorously depicts the dogmatism and impetuousness of the young who unblinkingly embrace the prejudices of their families. She also eloquently focuses on what is truly important in life: family and friends, and the essential characteristics for happiness -- tolerance, generosity, humor, and forgiveness.
This is one of the most refreshing books I've read in years. Not only did I finish it in one "sitting", I don't think I even blinked. It is such a touching, yet entertaining book, that I look forward to giving copies to friends with the hope it will make them smile as it made me.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There's a flower vendetta in Somerville. For years, the Rosemans and Cacciamanis have each owned a single florist shop in this Boston burb. The intensity of the rivalry and loathing between the two families would bring nods of empathy from warring drug kingpins. Then, Julie Roseman, divorced, meets Romeo Cacciamani, widowed, at a seminar for the owners of failing small businesses, and love blossoms like orchids in a hothouse. My, my. How will the children of each, raised on a steady diet of hatred for the other camp, react?

JULIE AND ROMEO is nurse Jeanne Ray's first novel. The plot is uncomplicated and the ending fairly predictable, perhaps even too pat, so it's not a heavyweight in the genre. But, it is charming, humorous, cute and even a bit clever. As an author's first offering, it's more than commendable - and Jeanne, if she sticks with writing, can only improve.

There are two features of this book which made it notable for me. First, Julie and Romeo are both aged sixty. It's refreshing to read a storyline wherein amour and heavy breathing aren't limited to the under-30 set. (Bravo, Ms. Ray, for reminding us of that. There was a reason my own 70 y.o. widower grandfather ran off with our 60 y.o. widow housekeeper!) Second, the volume is a quick read. For someone like myself with too many books and too little time, that's a big plus!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By BeachReader on September 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Two sixty-somethings, Romeo Cacciamani and Julie Roseman Roth, whose families have been feuding like the Montagues and Capulets for three generations, meet at a small business seminar in Boston. Both had been raised to hate the other's family, and Julie's first thought upon meeting Romeo was -"This handsome, perfectly nice gentleman is an evil Cacciamani?" Romeo, a widower with six children and a struggling florist shop, suggests dinner. Even though she is uneasy, Julie, a divorcee trying to keep her own florist business afloat, accepts.
Both Julie and Romeo have grown children, totally immersed in this family feud and dedicated to seeing that the growing relationship between their respective parents ends. Sparks really fly when Julie's ex-husband and Romeo's 90-year old mother start meddling, along with other family members.
Delighted by this chance for happiness, Julie and Romeo try to neutralize the opposition within their families, not an easy task. Their relationship just adds to the already fiery family vendetta.
Ms. Ray portrays her characters with understanding, poignancy, and humor, showing that love and passion are not exclusively for the young . Ray's work is full of sharp understated wisdom.
The novel gets funnier with each chapter and each situation that occurs. The scene in the CVS store where the couple has their awkward first "date" so as not to arouse suspicion, is hilarious, as is the scene in the cold-storage locker at Romeo's store. You will also be laughing out loud at some of the things the families do to each other, trying to "get even".
"Julie and Romeo" was a delightful reading experience, and is sure to bring pleasure to every reader.
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