15 July 2010

The Fool’s Girl

by Celia Rees

Allen and Unwin. Young Adult, History, Mystery. Paperback rrp $16.99

The year is 1601 and playwright William Shakespeare is finding fame at the Globe Theatre in London. He discovers a talented street performer with a very unusual assistant. Violetta is from Illyria and has come to England to seek something that is rightfully hers. She is accompanied by her faithful servant Feste, who is both a Fool and a gifted actor.

Violetta and Feste have escaped slavery and with Will’s help hope to see their beloved country again. But Venice and other countries want the popular trading port of Illyria as their own. The self-appointed Duke of Illyria is a tyrant who will do nothing to stop Violetta, the true heir, from returning to her country. He has ensured others will assist in not only her demise but that of anyone who aids her journey.

Violetta would rather die than not take the country’s sacred relic back with her. With dark tales of deception and intricate subplots, the reader never knows who to trust. And Violetta is finding that her trust may not be aimed at the right person.

The Fool’s Girl is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and explores what happens after the play’s final curtain has been dropped. Rees has seamlessly morphed a much–loved historical play into a dramatic story that transports the reader to a time of pirates, the plague, sorcery, beheadings, treachery and more.


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