Letters to Juliet tells the story of the hundreds of letters that arrive in Verona, Italy, addressed merely to “Juliet”–letters from people around the world who want to express their feelings about love–loves lost, love remembered or elusive love. They are seeking the advice of Juliet–the romantic character in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The Juliet Club is a group of women of Verona who have volunteered to send each correspondent a hand-written letter from Juliet, offering compassion along with advice in their replies. The book details the history of the first letters that arrived for Juliet and the man, a custodian at Juliet’s tomb, who began the tradition of replying to each letter. It also contains several of the letters that have been left in the hopes that Juliet’s romantic advice can be of help, as well as the replies from the Secretaries of Juliet. It is a fascinating look at the hopeful nature of love and romance.
The film with the same title Letters to Juliet is a charming romantic comedy loosely based on the book–an American tourist Sophie comes across a hidden letter left 50 years ago at Juliet’s tomb, and joins the Secretaries of Juliet to answer the letter. Her touching letter prompts Claire–now a grandmother–to return to Verona and search for the love she left 50 years earlier. Vanessa Redgrave is touching as Claire, as is the supporting cast. And a true star of the film is the Italian countryside, filmed beautifully. The film takes the “what if’s” of the letters left for Juliet and follows the characters on their journey to find the courage to follow their hearts and find love.