The Fool’s Girl
by Celia Rees
Violetta and her comic companion, Feste, have come in search of an ancient holy relic that the evil Malvolio has stolen from their kingdom. But where will their remarkable quest–and their most unusual story–lead? In classic Celia Rees style, it is an engrossing journey, full of political intrigue, danger, and romance.
Although tedious and slightly scattered, The Fool’s Girl is yet another retelling of an old, beloved fairytale… except this one doesn’t trail as far back as Hansel and Gretel or Jack and the Beanstalk – hailing from Elizabethan England, Twelfth Night is comedy, tragedy, drama, and resolution. I found Rees’ style frustrating – there are characters presented as important who ultimately show no purpose at all (I am thinking of Tod, here), and there is a great deal of talk and travel, what I generally refer to as “filler”. It grew tedious. The important plot points felt so few and far between that they got lost and I was distracted from them.
Anyone familiar with Shakespeare will appreciate the references to many of his other plays beside Twelfth Night. Off the top of my head, I can think of four: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and Richard III. In that way, it was charming to see the crossovers and where Rees revealed Shakespeare’s inspiration. In many ways, Shakespeare’s story in this book is much more interesting than Violetta’s.
A certain level of appreciation for Shakespeare is required to enjoy this book on any level, and I would not recommend it to the people who have a difficult time relating to Shakespeare or to his work.
I wanted to like this book so much and I really didn’t. Lots of Shakespeare references; also lots of “filler”.
I purchased this book on a whim, but plan on donating it. Not a keeper for me – sorry!
Some of My Favorite Quotes
“There are patterns in everything, in the whole of Nature, from the way the stars turn in the heavens to the whorl of a shell or the petals of a flower and the way leaves arrange themselves about a twig. There are forces, hidden forces. If I can discover what they are, how they operate, I will have my hands upon the levers of creation and can work them myself.”