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Julie and Romeo : a novel
Jeanne Ray
Adult Fiction RAY

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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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Julie Roseman
Age: 60

Romeo Cacciamani
Age: 60

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