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3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  3,891 Ratings  ·  406 Reviews
ENGLAND, 1794 She pulled down the black mask that she'd worn at last winter's masked ball and pulled up a green silk kerchief to hide the lower half of her face. The coach creaked almost to a halt at the crest of the rise, the horses sweating after the steep hill. As the driver drew back his whip to urge them onward, Sovay drew her pistols and walked her horse forward. 'ST ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury UK (first published September 1st 2008)
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Popular Answered Questions

Jessica Song yea and it's stupid, because you thinks its one guy and like him but then it changes
Gtygt no, unless you consider a girl wanting to pull the trigger on her "enemy" someone who cheated on her. other than that nope, and its a fantastic book…moreno, unless you consider a girl wanting to pull the trigger on her "enemy" someone who cheated on her. other than that nope, and its a fantastic book too.(less)

Community Reviews

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Jul 30, 2008 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 09, 2009 Arlene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 21, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 30, 2009 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sinai C.
Jul 14, 2012 Sinai C. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 17, 2009 Josie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 28, 2011 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, novel, historical
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
Jan 11, 2009 Rachael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Amy Bethke
Jul 16, 2012 Amy Bethke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit-256
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
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
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
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
Sarah McC
Feb 14, 2014 Sarah McC rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 26, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 11, 2008 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I think perhaps it's unfortunate that I read Sovay relatively soon after The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. Sovay is rather the immature version of The Glass Books, with a little more placement in history/political events that the reader will know (la Terreur) and a little less obvious depravity. Sovay and her friends' problems are solved rather more easily and neatly - understandable for a standalone vs. a series, but still this felt a bit of a weak ending.

Sovay is a good book, with a great l
Jul 22, 2013 whalesister rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Dec 09, 2012 Katlin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Katherine Gingrich
Feb 07, 2012 Katherine Gingrich rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 16-books
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
May 28, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Enna Isilee
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
May 13, 2009 Sami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 26, 2011 Kaylynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
The Book Queen
I seem to be alone in that I completely, utterly loved this book. The only reasons why it isn't five stars are:

1) It all went a little chaotic at the end. I felt that Rees kind of lost sight of what the book was supposed to be about and went off on a weird tangent.
2) She fell in love with the wrong guy! Seriously! (view spoiler)
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.
Nov 18, 2008 Yara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Varsha Seshan
May 13, 2015 Varsha Seshan rated it it was ok
Sovay is the kind of book that I did not enjoy wholeheartedly, but cannot dismiss either. It makes me want to give the writer another go. Maybe I'll enjoy another book by Rees.
I loved this book, it had mystery, romance, and a terrific original storyline.One of the best books I've ever read.
Moriah Gaines
Jan 21, 2017 Moriah Gaines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2017, eng-356
Drama, corruption, romance, and adventure are some of the main features of this book. Sovay captures the life in England and France during 1794 and the dark secrets that are held within the city streets. An exciting read, this story follows the life of Sovay, a young maiden devoted to family and the ideals of freedom of thought for each person.

Not a book I would recommend for those easily offended by certain crude aspects of the world. Definitely a book I would hand to someone in their later te
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SPOILERS: Gabriel? 10 77 Jul 27, 2013 09:43AM  
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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
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