Review – The Fool’s Girl by Celia Rees

Today we hear from Bookbabbler Sarah…

The Fool’s Girl – Celia Rees

Violetta and Feste have come to London to rescue the holy relics taken from the church in Illyria by the evil Malvolio. Their journey has been long and their adventures many, but it is not until they meet the playwright William Shakespeare that they get to tell the entire story from beginning to end! But where will this remarkable tale ultimately lead Violetta and her companion? And will they manage to save themselves, and the relics from the very evil intentions of Malvolio.

The Fool’s Girl by Celia Rees is a novel set between Elizabethan England and Illyria; a beautiful, but somewhat volatile island on the Adriatic coast.

At the heart of the novel is a fictional account of the life of Shakespeare before he became the world famous play wright that he is known as today. Rees writes of Will from Stratford and talks knowledgably of life in Shakespearian England even recreating scenes from inside the Globe Theatre.

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about this book at first, particularly the re-working of Shakespeare. However, I take back all of my prejudices, as it is a superb story offering a view of the virtually unknown early like of Shakespeare.

The story itself centers around Violetta, the young Duchessa exiled from her beloved Illyria along with her Fool Feste and determined to reclaim the stolen relic, which belongs in the cathedral in Illyria, from Malvolio. Violetta is the perfect heroine, feisty, beautiful and clever and was easily my favourite character of the novel. Feste is a loveable jovial character, dedicated above all else to the service to his mistress.

There are so many twists and turns in this fast paced plot that the reader is left on the edge of their seat. I love the way that the author has drawn all of the Twelfth Night characters into her novel and made them her own.

The romantic element of the story exists between Violetta and Stephano, betrothed and in love they’re torn apart by their feuding families and a great amount of the novel is devoted to whether they will be able to marry and claim their place as the new and legitimate Duke and Duchess of Illyria uniting the two feuding families for good. I will not give up any secrets in my review, but the ending is itself brilliant and well worth waiting for.

Overall, this is a great read – one of my favourite reads of the year so far! I will definitely be looking out for other works by Celia Rees -10/10

Thanks, Sarah, and thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for sending us a copy.