Monday, 21 July 2014



Book Blurb 

Romeo & Juliet - was this what really happened?
When Juliet Roberts is asked to make sense of an ancient Italian manuscript, she little suspects that she will find herself propelled into the midst of one of the greatest love stories of all time. But this is only the beginning. As more hidden secrets come to light, Juliet discovers that the tragic tale of her famous namesake might have had a very different outcome...

A favourite classic story with a major new twist.

My Review

The story begins set in the present. A young woman named Juliet is asked to translate a very old manuscript by her grandfather. What she discovers hidden amongst the pages of the book stun her and reveal the true secrets behind the story of Romeo and her own namesake, Juliet. Being a bit of a Shakespeare fan I had wondered what this book could add to one of the most loved and well-known love stories.  Well, I was so pleasantly surprised by this book that it actually just made me love the story of Romeo and Juliet even more.  The Ghostly Father certainly does add quite a few plot twists to what might have actually happened to the young lovers and how their relationship and the heart-breaking ending in Shakespeare's play came about. It is a story of two families bound by tradition and fighting in feud where the reason for the fighting has since long been forgotten. One of the central characters of the book is actually a monk named Fra Lorenzo and the story is told from his perspective. Fra Lorenzo has one or two secrets of his own and these add more mystery to the story which is driven by Fra Lorenzo's actions and interventions. 

This is an extremely well written story and difficult to review without revealing spoilers. Suffice to say, that the planning and plot development throughout the book is meticulous with  research into the original story of Romeo and Juliet being evident throughout the book. Sue Barnard has quite clearly done her homework. The language throughout the book is beautiful and as a reader, I instantly felt transported to that era. 

Even if you have never read the original story of Romeo and Juliet, read this book! In itself it is a fantastic story of a love blossoming between two young people caught up in the middle of warring families. Their desperation to be together is heartbreaking and the very clever plot twists will surprise and delight you! The sacrifices and bravery of Fra Lorenzo are both humbling and shocking. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

About the Author




Sue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase "non-working mother" would be banned from the English language.


Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she'd write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.


Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4's fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as "professionally weird." The label has stuck.


Sue joined the editorial team Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine's Day 2014.  Her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t, is due for release in July 2014.

You can find Sue on Facebook, Twitter (@SusanB2011), or follow her blog here.



Join us for a facebook promo event on 21st July to celebrate this great book. There's prizes to be won! 



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4 Responses so far.

  1. You're such an excellent reviewer, JB! I appreciate your insights. This would be a tough novel to pull off, and it seems that Sue has done it. My interest is further piqued!

  2. Thank you for a lovely review, JB!

  3. Mine too. Not sure I would be clever enough to even attempt it. Quite clearly, Sue has done an excellent job. :) xx

  4. I really like the sound of this! Romeo and Juliet was probably my favourite Shakespearean tale in secondary school. The premise is intriguing, that's for sure!

    Thanks for sharing!

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