Candy Wood's Reviews > The Fool's Girl

The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees
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's review
Jul 30, 2011

bookshelves: children-s-ya
Read from July 28 to 30, 2011

Readers who know Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night might be confused by the opening of this novel, which has characters named Violetta and Feste in “London, 22nd April 1601,” telling about their narrow escape from a city being attacked by Venetians and pirates. When Shakespeare also appears as a character and they start telling the story to him, though, it becomes clear that Celia Rees is imagining what might have happened after the events of Shakespeare’s play and simultaneously how the play might have come to be written. In the process, she weaves together documented Elizabethan people with fictional characters who might have inspired Shakespeare, along with plenty of action, suspense, and even romance. Her Malvolio is a seriously nasty schemer, more worthy of the name than Shakespeare’s egotistical steward, and we see that Feste’s jesting can be annoying as well as funny. Details of everyday life and Elizabethan performance practice make it a convincing historical novel while not interfering with the story.

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