Lauren's Reviews > The Fool's Girl
by Celia Rees (Goodreads Author)
bookshelves: historical-fiction, action-and-or-adventure
Upon reflection, I find that my favorite character was not the main character. For me, the main character is a bit of a bore-- there was nothing special about this strong female character. Her story and life were interesting, but not her personality or choices. It didn't help that sometimes I felt like she was snobby-- but thankfully I did not get that sense too often. Like I said, I cannot call her my favorite although she is the main character.
Instead, it was Feste, the clowning fool that guards her side, who is my favorite character. It's funny, but I can't remember her name (I looked it up and its Violetta) yet I have no trouble remembering his. I think part of the reason I remember his name is that he was a more convincing character. His actions and words were undoubtedly his own. His description was clear and memorable; his responses fit with his goals and personality. He had his noble characteristics as well as his faults. In general, Feste had more life and originality in him than Violetta did on any page of the book. She seemed almost faultless, besides being sometimes thought of as naive (her sometimes-snobbishness was supposedly proof of her being a duchess). All she did was nobly pine for her country, the relic, and her love.
Another notable character in this story is William Shakespeare. This book was not the first that I've read of a fictionalized Shakespeare and (although I'm no Shakespeare expert) I think she did a good job with him. I trust author Rees's research of Shakespeare as well as of the era of the book. Overall, the book felt real to the time period.... though maybe it should have been more dirty... ;P
Overall, it was a pleasant, quick, summer read for me. But there was one aspect that seemed a little strange. (view spoiler)[ Three quarters the way through the book, Violetta's relationships with Stephano (her lover/future husband) is put in jeopardy. She sees him (in a sort of crystal ball) sitting quite close to another young lady. She becomes sad and worried about her love, whether he is being true to her and etc. Three pages later, somehow he turns back up, and all is clear and good again. The mysterious other girl is the lover of another boy that they know, who was sitting on her other side...... I cannot comprehend why author Rees would add that in. First of all, it is too quick to be of any consequence for the characters or readers. If Rees wasn't planning on it being something significant in their relationship, then why did she write it? Second, the side story is weak in general. When reading, it was obvious for me that the girl was probably their mutual friend's lover. Third, Violetta immediately accepts his explanation, forgetting all her worry. I feel like with all their separation, Violetta would be less likely to just let that go. Fourth, I wish Stephano was cheating on her. Sadly enough, it would have made them have a much more interesting relationship. The defining feature of their relationship is their separation. Frankly, reading about two people pining for each other gets old fast. (hide spoiler)]
Now, the rest of this review has nothing to do with the writing/characters of the book, but is some complaining about the book binding. Sorry, but I just cannot let it be unaddressed...
I was very interested in this book because this author wrote another favorite book of mine: Pirates! The cover of that book is remarkably similar to this book-- too similar. When I picked it up, I assumed there must be some connection between the books. But there isn't. These books share nothing besides being written by the same author and have a main female character. But the cover insinuates that they do... Why? Why did author Rees choose this cover? Or perhaps, if her publisher chose this cover, why did he/she do it? Why would anyone do it? Oh. For the money. Not for the book or the readers... but to attract the great readership of the other great book, and try to earn more money through this connection. A book should be great on its own, it should not try to lean on another to become great (this is true for sequels/series too).