Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson

Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780373778751
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family's chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy’s confection dynasty.

With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family’s struggling business, and Juliet figures it’s a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him already there and gunning for victory. As they compete head-to-head, Leo and Juliet’s fervent attraction boils over. But Juliet’s not sure whether to trust her adversary, or give up on the sweetest love she’s ever tasted…

Teri Wilson blends old and new with a deft hand in this fabulous reimagining of Romeo and Juliet. I devoured Unmasking Juliet like one would a truffle created by either of the story’s chocolatier protagonists. From beginning to end this modern day story of chocolate wars and star-crossed lovers captivated and delighted me, and I cannot wait to re-read it.

As one might expect given the book’s inspiration, Juliet and Leo are a couple whose instant attraction occurs before they learn one another’s names. Their families have been feuding for decades, and like Romeo and Juliet, Leo and Juliet are torn between family loyalty and their own desires. Unlike Shakespeare’s lovers, however, Ms. Wilson’s hero and heroine are adults, ones who have both more freedom and less – they are fully capable of standing up for themselves, but can they do so knowing they could harm their families’ livelihoods?

I admit I was skeptical about a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet for adults, but Ms. Wilson made it work, thanks in large part to the likeability of her main characters. Juliet and Leo are utterly endearing characters who put their heart and soul into all that they do. Their romance is fun, sensual, and makes the pages of Unmasking Juliet fly by. Though old rivalries and an unexpected twist or two threaten to derail their journey to happily ever after, Leo and Juliet’s love story had just the right amount of sweetness to make Unmasking Juliet satisfying.

Romance, chocolate, wine, and lovely visuals of Napa Valley and Rome make Unmasking Juliet a decadent read. I adored Leo and Juliet’s book and I cannot wait to see what reimagined classic Teri Wilson delivers next!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.