The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Fool's Girl

The Fool's Girl

3.8 13
by Celia Rees
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a tale filled with romance and adventure, drawn from the pages of Twelfth Night, Rees (Sovay) beautifully recreates Renaissance landscapes that would be familiar to Shakespeare, who, not so coincidentally, makes several appearances. The story, set first in Illyria then in England, centers around Violetta, daughter of a duke, who seeks refuge in London while her native land is being plundered. After making the acquaintance of the renowned playwright and telling him her woeful tale of being pursued by an evil uncle, the bard invents a plan to transport Violetta and former court jester Feste to safer ground in his hometown of Stratford. Living under the protection of Shakespeare and his accommodating wife, Violetta feels freedom and rekindled passion, but her sense of security is short-lived. Readers with a literary bent will delight in the many Shakespearean references--ranging from direct quotes from plays to subtler allusions to familiar characters--that are smartly woven into the plot. And they'll have fun predicting how loose threads will be tied together in an appropriate "all's well that ends well" fashion. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
VOYA - Caitlin Augusta
Rees imagines how William Shakespeare came to write Twelfth Night. She reveals that Illyria is not paradise, and that Viola's daughter, Violetta, travels to England with Feste the fool to regain Illyria's holy relic, stolen by the revenge-crazed Malvolio. Violetta tempts Shakespeare with her family's unusual story and travels with his company to Stratford in an attempt to flush Malvolio out and regain her country's property. Other characters from the tale including Maria, Sir Toby, and Andrew Agnew make appearances to enliven this mystical romance. Rees casts an intriguing portrait of the great playwright and the origins behind one of his most alluring plays. Her seamless incorporation of Elizabethan daily life will interest historical fiction readers with its accessible attention to detail. Direct, well-paced prose and rich dialogue strengthen an entertaining story. The introduction, however, a flashback to Illyria, is confusing and fails to walk the reader into a story that already utilizes several temporal perspectives. Some deus ex machina rescues seem manufactured, especially the plot thread introducing the mystical Robin (aka Puck) as Violetta's rescuer. Finally, characterization is not as strong as setting and style. Violetta mostly pines for Illyria and acts noble, likeable as she is. That said, this Shakespearean adventure is better than most, full of allusions and details, and will appeal to readers who love their drama with a little romance. Reviewer: Caitlin Augusta
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
In this book based on William Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night, Ms. Rees goes on to wonder what happened after the "happily ever after" marriages of Duke Orsin to Viola and her twin, Sebastian, to Lady Olivia. To the duke and Viola is born Violetta and to Sebastian is born Stephano. Everything is hunky dory until Viola disappears, presumably drowned. The duke loses interest in all but trying to reconnect with Viola's spirit and Sebastian gets greedy, wanting to overthrow his brother-in-law. Violetta and the court jester, Feste, end up in England where they do a magician's act, with the girl being the fool's assistant. Violetta wants to get back her country's religious relic to restore hope and faith there. But it is in the hands of the evil Malvolio, so they ask Shakespeare to take his troupe of players on the road and put on a show where their enemy is. While players are distracting Malvolio, Violetta plans to take back the relic. With many twists and turns, Violetta and Feste are successful, plus Violetta is reunited with Stephano, whom she marries and jointly they rule their island country. Shakespeare gets a play out of the deal and time to spend with his family. A little creepy to have first cousins marrying, but other than that this is an engaging read. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This imaginative continuation of the story of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night focuses on some of the darker and more serious elements of the play and develops them into an original story. Violetta, the daughter of Viola and Orsino, is in exile from Illyria because Sebastian, her mother's brother, has conspired with neighboring Venice to overthrow her father and seize power. She has been protected by the fool Feste, and together the two go to England to recover a precious holy relic that is a national symbol for Illyria. There they meet William Shakespeare, who becomes embroiled with them in political and religious intrigue involving Malvolio, a Jesuit operative secretly arranging to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. Events reach a climax during a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at a country manor in Stratford on Avon. The book is at its strongest when relating the doings of Shakespeare and other figures of the time, including Richard Burbage, Dr. Simon Forman, and Sir Robert Cecil. Rees's research is impeccable, and the details she includes about daily life and play performance in Elizabethan England are fascinating. The portions of the book set in Illyria do not seem as believable, and not just because of the fantasy and witchcraft elements. This would be an interesting read for a class studying Twelfth Night, as familiarity with the play would help readers understand some of this novel's plot elements.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
From the Publisher

“Expertly livening the proceedings with intrigues, kisses, mildly bawdy comments, colorful characters, plot twists, quick violence, and an occasional breath of the supernatural, Rees dishes up a quick-paced tale that builds to a suspenseful climax.” —Boolist

“This would be an interesting read for a class studying Twelfth Night.” —School Library Journal

“The novel unfolds briskly and suspensefully. Like Shakespeare's plays, it treads the line between lyrical and bawdy, as Rees uses earthy humor that would undoubtedly have appealed to Shakespeare's audiences as much as it will to the youth of today.” —teenreads.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599904863
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
07/20/2010
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,172,496
Product dimensions:
8.12(w) x 5.42(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
HL780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Celia Rees is the author of many books for young readers including the bestsellers Witch Child, Sorceress, Pirates!, and Sovay. Celia lives in England. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.
www.celiarees.com

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The Fool's Girl 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Violetta and her companion, Feste, are far away from home. Memories of Illyria and the state in which they left the country haunt their dreams. Their quest is daunting - perhaps impossible. An ancient relic, considered sacred by the Illyrian people, has been stolen. The evil Malvolio has left Illyria in shambles and run off with the holy artifact. It is Violetta's duty as noblewoman to restore Illyria to greatness, but can it be done? Violetta and Feste must devise a plan, and they will need the help of many people to complete their task. Celia Rees has put an interesting spin on Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT. The story is told from several different characters point of view, including that of William Shakespeare himself. In exchange for Violetta's story, Shakespeare vows to help her find the missing relic and deliver her safely back to Illyria. Young female readers will appreciate Violetta's strength and courage. She is willing to do anything to restore her country and its people. This is definitely a great addition to Rees' already outstanding body of work.
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Great read! Celia Rees writes beautifully!
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