Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Review: The Fool's Girl - Celia Rees

Published: April 4th 2011, Bloomsbury
Pages: 305 pages, paperback
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): A lush, epic historical novel by bestseller Celia Rees, with an added Shakespearean twist

Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Violetta and her comic companion, Feste, have come in search of an ancient holy relic that the evil Malvolio has stolen from their kingdom. But where will their remarkable quest—and their most unusual story—lead? In classic Celia Rees style, it is an engrossing journey, full of political intrigue, danger, and romance.

This wholly original story is spun from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and includes both folly and suspense that would make the Bard proud.

My review: First of all - the cover model of The Fool's Girl is giving me major eyebrow envy.

I read Witch Child years ago when it first came out and I remember falling in love with Celia Rees' writing. The Fool's Girl is the first novel of Rees' that I've read since Witch Child and I enjoyed it even more. I'm a huge Shakespeare fan so I loved the Shakespearean element of the story - it doesn't feel at all forced and Rees does such a great job of weaving historical characters into her fiction.

Violetta is a great character and Rees did a brilliant job of making her come to life. She's strong, feisty and I instantly connected with her. I was rooting for her from the outset. The supporting characters are great as well - Feste was my favourite and I did grow to like Stephano, though I wasn't sure at the beginning.

I did find The Fool's Girl quite slow going, especially at the beginning of the book and it took me a fair few days to get through it. However, once the pace picked up a bit (after the first few chapters) I really settled into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't read much historical fiction as it's not really my thing but The Fool's Girl is great - one I'd definitely recommend to those who are beginning to get into the historical genre.

First line: 'Have you seen a city under sack?'

Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Total: 15/20 (B)

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