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3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  3,304 ratings  ·  369 reviews
It’s England, 1783. When the rich and beautiful Sovay isn’t sitting for portraits, she’s donning a man’s cloak and robbing travelers—in broad daylight. But in a time when political allegiances between France and England are strained, a rogue bandit is not the only thing travelers fear. Spies abound, and rumors of sedition can quickly lead to disappearances. So when Sovay l ...more
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published January 1st 2006)
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Sep 26, 2008 Megan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of 'The Knight of Maison-Rouge' by Alexandre Dumas; 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' by Baroness Orczy
Sovay had the potential to be a great novel, but turned out to be an overly ambitious project that sadly misses it's mark. This book is full of wonderful plot devices, too full in fact; therein lies the problem. The story contains elements of Ann Radcliff's gothic suspense, Frances Burney's mannerly romance, and Baroness Orczy's mystery-laden intrigue; but the author seems unable to decide which of these themes demand dominance in the story, and the result is a confusing mess. Too many false sto ...more
Sovay by Celia Rees is an ambitious novel with such a disappointing execution. There were too many characters introduced into the storyline to keep them straight. It was more work than what I wanted to commit into figuring out a book that was a hodge-podge of romance, suspense, intrigue, and historical recount of England and the French Revolution.

Sovay is an 18th century highwayman... err... woman in England. Her first armed robbery was motivated by revenge on her fiancé that was supposedly unfa
Didn't like this. Totally agree with what others have said about there being three ideas/stories crammed into one book when they didn't really seem to fit together. Plus, I thought Sovay was a nitwit and couldn't warm to her at all (perhaps it was the repeated descriptions of her amazing beauty, boundless courage, dazzling figure, silken hair etc ad nauseum) and the tacked-on romance at the end with Mr Monobrow was the last straw.

I couldn't really understand why she decided to become a highwaym
Read this based on a review by blogger named Random Jottings of Book and Opera Lover. Disappointing. Too many characters led to early confusion. Too much silly occult stuff added when the era and the real issues are more than absorbing. We don't need to worry if she will pull off her rescues and raids, this is YA fiction so we know how it will end. However, all along it appears our heroine (who's masquerading as a highwayman in 18th C. England) will end up with one of two gentlemen. At the last ...more
This book was a bit of a hot mess. The first 50 pages (and the back and the cover blurbs) promise you one thing, but what you get is a book so chocked full of discordant things that nothing is ever consistent. Is Sovay a scorned rich bitch, a heroic highwayman, a politically shrewd proto-feminist, or an absolute moron? Well it depends on what page you are on. The antagonist that is introduced in the first 50 pages is not the real villain, he is not actually introduced until almost halfway throug ...more
Books and Literature for Teens
The year is 1794 and it seems the world is yearning for revolution, even the British. For Sovay Middleton, life as the daughter of a kind, wise landlord is not very adventurous at all. When her father and brother’s lives are threatened by the scent of uprising against the King, Sovay is suddenly thrown into a thrilling ride of a lifetime. From posing as a highwayman, dodging a spymaster’s evil and intricate schemes, to facing the sideways traps of the French Revolution, Sovay will do whatever it ...more
This book felt like the author had three ideas for three separate stories, but tried to mash them all into one.
First idea: Girl highwayman gallivanting around the English countryside.
Second idea: Creepy mystery surrounding equally creepy and mysterious cult/secret society.
Third idea: English noblewoman gets caught up in revolutionary France.
WHY? The first part is similar in type to Rees' Pirates!; take an idea that appeals to people for the dashing, romantic, adventure of it all (girl highwayma
Sinai C.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tara Chevrestt
I read over a hundred pages of this before the heroine began to grate on my nerves so bad, I could go no further. It's a GREAT idea, a young woman in 1794 England decides to dress as a highway robber to get revenge on a cheating fiance and gets a thrill out of it enough to do it again.. BUT she is TSTL. (too stupid to live)

Come on. Seriously. Your dad and brother are wanted for treason against the King of England and you dress up as a boy, rob stagecoaches, and tell about 5 people your true ide
When I saw the cover I instantly picked it up. The premise sounded really great and even though I usually don't enjoy historical fiction Sovay just looked too good not to read. Wrong. Sovay was one of the most annoying main characters that I have ever come across. She tries to kill her fiance when he isn't willing to die for a ring she gave him. Every single male character falls instantly in love with her and she likes most of them back. I spent almost the entire novel not really sure who the re ...more
Amy Bethke
I loved the way this book was written because I truly felt like I was transported back to the 1700's during the French Revolution. Sovay, the main character was very fun and free spirited, though she did bother me sometimes when she just went off doing something crazy without thinking. I found it super cool that the premise of her character came from an old traditional ballad. All of the random characters that cross her path are unique and bring to light a different aspect of what was occurring ...more
Katherine Gingrich
This was honestly one of the hardest books for me to finish. I think that part of it was it was too much girl power for my tastes. The book is set in the English country while the revolution is raging in France. It starts off with her holding up a stage coach to test her fiancee's commitment and goes downhill from there. The other passenger, an American, was bringing a warning for her father. This set her off to go hold up more stage coaches, immerse herself in secret societies, and throws her i ...more
Young Sovay Middleton’s privileged life has been disappointingly lacking of adventure of late, so she does what any bold girl would to—she dons a man’s attire and poses as a highwayman. But what starts as a clever test of love soon turns deadly, especially after Sovay steals the wallet of one of the most powerful and dangerous men in all of England. But the information she also uncovers may be worth risking the law and her personal safety for—her father has been accused to treason. And now, with ...more
I liked this one a lot. It is about a female--young teen girl--highwayman. She didn't begin her life of crime out of need, or even for thrills. No, she began--her first armed robbery--solely for revenge. 1790s. England. Sovay is a young woman engaged to be married. When she learns that he has cheated on her, she begins plotting her revenge. But what she doesn't know is how trivial this will all seem within a few days. Sovay's family--her father, her brother especially--will soon be threatened; t ...more
Weak, in plot, character, focus, and almost everything but history of the French Revolution. Pretended at first to be a folk-tale-style fiction, a sort of female-Robin-Hood story (according to the book flap blurb) but once she got to France, degenerated into what felt like a history-book lesson. Except for the way-out parts that nixed any hope for believable historical fiction. Tried to be a romance--sorry, that didn't work, either. Too many possible love-interests and no solid basis for believa ...more
Feb 03, 2011 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kate by: Teen Book Club selection
Sovay, the daughter of a wealthy farmer, has recently taken up the occupation of highwayman. Initially it is to test the loyalty of her fiance, who she finds lacking, but she begins to enjoy the danger and the freedom of posing as a man. When her father goes missing, Sovay travels into London with her manservant Gabriel to find him, and uncovers a vast conspiracy. The powerful aristocrat Dysart is trying to frame Sovay's family as sympathizers to the French Revolution. Along the way, Sovay joins ...more
I find it interesting that descriptions of this book focus mainly on her dressing as a highwayman, making it sound like she was a bored thrill-seeker. Not hardly! This is a grand, sprawling work of historical fiction, something you don't normally see in YA. Young Sovay does indeed dress as a man in the first part of the book to rob a stage . . . several, actually, but she has good reason to do so. Across the Channel, in France, the Revolution has degenerated into an unstoppable horror of violenc ...more
Oksana  *Bookaholic*
This can be summed up in one word... No, two... No, a fricken' SYMBOL = ♥

♥♥♥♥♥ A 5-star, definitely! I don't know why, or how, but as soon as I started reading this book, I was sucked into Sovay's world, and couldn't put the book down. Which isn't an easy feat to accomplish since it's not your usual 200-page novel. I sincerely enjoyed this book. I thought it was fantastic, and frankly, I'm surprised at the awful reviews I see here. Of course, it's all a matter of opinion. I read this in one nigh
Enna Isilee (Squeaky Books)
What was the point of this book? The entire first part of the book is about conspiracies, and then it seemed that the last part just focused on Sovay herself. Plus Sovay had A TON of love interests. At first I thought, "Ooh. Love triangle." But then it turned into a love square, then a love hexagon, then it jumped to an octagon! And finally she picked a guy I DID NOT like.


She hardly even knew him! And when she did know him, he was a jerk!

*sigh* The ending was d
This book was fairly entertaining, but the narration drove me crazy! The author could not decide upon a point of view to write with, so for the most part she used 3rd person, but then would randomly skip to 1st person for different characters. While this could be an interesting way to write a book, the way Rees used it was mainly annoying and hard to follow. The main storyline was entertaining, despite the writing flaws, and I enjoyed reading it. At times it was hard to put it down. Rees does an ...more
Anne Osterlund
Within the first 15 pages, Sovay hijacks a carriage, threatens her fiance, and steals back the ring she gave to him. Fabulous beginning! Like all of Celia Reese's novels, Sovay is full of rich, wonderful description that seems to flow so easily by despite the density of the language. The ending was not all I had hoped for, though this may be my own fault for imagining far too early on how the tale should go. Still, the book is full of wonderful hooks and fun drama, though Pirates remains my favo ...more
***Contains small spoilers*******
LOVE the time period. Probably would have loved it better if Sovay was a French girl who was personally going through the Revolution. Not much of a fan of third person, especially when there's a character POV swap right in the middle of a scene. I usually judge how much I like/love a book by how long it takes me to really get into it. If I can easily come out of my little world and back into reality and don't mind being gone for hours, or even days, and if I don'
Alice Chimera
Sovay non è una normale dama Inglese, lei è cresciuta con gli ideali di libertà ed è pronta a ribellarsi per salvare le persone che ama: infatti scopre che delle missive che incriminano suo padre stanno arrivando al magistrato con una diligenza e lei vuole salvare suo padre che è un uomo giusto e non una spia francese.
Parto a recensire questo volume dalla parte che ho apprezzato di più perché le mancanze e i vuoti hanno dominato per gran parte del libro; vedere la rivoluzione francese come realm
Inviting start, really warped me into Sovay's world. She isn't a sarcastic character which really is good change and her sense of adventure is amazing. But at some parts, the historical background jargon was kind of drag down but something about the way the story flowed kept me reading more. The use of third person narrative was neat and tidy and I always knew who was being described when the viewpoint switched. What I really hated was how there wasn't a main theme Celia Rees focused on, I mean ...more
Sarah McC
Sometimes I find myself wandering in the YA section of the library and just meandering about. I usually leave with a few books, some of which end up being epic and brilliant and amazing, and others end up being overly-complicated, overly-dramatic, and over-the-top. Unfortunately, Sovay is going to fit neatly into the latter category.

For those of you who don’t want to read spoilers, this book is going to get a 1/5. It was honestly fairly dreadful. The first 2/3 were at least readable, but by the
WOW, this was an awesome book and Celia Rees kept me guessing to the very end about what would happen to the heroine,Sovay. The book was set in the late 1700's England where unrest is happening because of the french revolution. Sovay's father is almost sentenced to death for treason, but Sovay refuses to give up and she rides to the rescue. I would definitely recommend this book. I didn't want to put it down.
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
Sovay's interests in highway robbery is very unrealistic for the time, but it was a fun and interesting story. I liked the historical apsects. I did find that she fell in love awefully fast with hardly any conversation in the text between her and her beau. There should have been more development there. Overall though, it was a good read.
I've changed my mind about this book and have added another star. (I am so conflicted by those stars.) I think a lot of older teens who love historical fiction and adventure will enjoy this book set during the French Revolution. It has a lot going for it in spite of its many flaws.
Overall, I would give this book 2.5 stars.

The book was ok. It had a lot of potential, but the characters fell flat. I didn't particularly like Sovay right from the start. (view spoiler)

Also, it seemed that every male character fell in love with Sovay. That was a bit much for me. I didn't particularly enjoy the ending eith
I thought this was really scattered and not up to Rees' other works (which I love). Also, Sovay and her main love interest Leon were the least interesting people in the book. I liked the secondary characters much better.
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SPOILERS: Gabriel? 10 73 Jul 27, 2013 05:43PM  
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Celia Rees (born 1949) is an English author of children's literature, including some horror and fantasy books.

She was born in 1949 in Solihull, West Midlands but now lives in Leamington Spa with her husband and teenage daughter. Rees attended University of Warwick and earned a degree in History of Politics. After university, she taught English in Coventry secondary schools for seventeen years, dur
More about Celia Rees...
Pirates! Witch Child (Witch Child, #1) Sorceress (Witch Child, #2) The Fool's Girl Blood Sinister

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