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The Fool's Girl Paperback – 4 Apr 2011

16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (4 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747597340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747597346
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Celia Rees was born in Solihull, West Midlands, UK. She studied History and Politics at Warwick University and then went on to teach English in city comprehensive schools for seventeen years. She now divides her time between writing, talking to readers in schools and libraries, and teaching creative writing.

She has written over twenty books for older children and teenagers, and has become a leading writer for Young Adults with an international reputation. Her books have been translated into 28 languages and she has been short listed for the Guardian, Whitbread and W.H. Smith Children's Book Awards, as well as numerous regional awards in the UK and America. Witch Child won the prestigious Prix Sorcières in France in 2003, and the Di Cento Prize in Italy, 2001. Her latest book, The Fool's Girl, is published, April 2010.

Celia lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, with her husband, Terry. Her daughter, Catrin, now lives and works in London.

Celia has a Fan Page on Facebook and her own website:

Product Description


'The lushly romantic story is very involving and always enjoyable, and it's packed with wonderfully evocative details' (Guardian)

'Ambitious, clever and compelling . . . Rees's imagination makes her gloriously unpredictable' (The Times)

'A sophisticated, compelling novel about creativity, sexual ambiguity and cunning. It should be required reading for readers of 13+ studying the play' (The Times)

'A sparkling, intelligent, well textured novel for younger teenagers of both sexes' (Literary Review)

Book Description

Nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2011

Shakespeare in Love meets Twelfth Night - A gripping and evocative historical novel by bestselling Celia Rees

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bookinda VINE VOICE on 6 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have to be honest and say- I know almost nothing at all about Shakespeare. Apart from wading through Macbeth at school, my experience of the great bard is almost zero. This in no way affected my enjoyment of A Fool's Girl and in fact, I found it fascinating. I've heard of Twelfth Night, but until reading this book, knew nothing about it. Rees bases The Fool's Girl around the famous play, in that the events that happened in Illyria were real, and Shakespeare is inspired to tell the story, known as Twelfth Night, after meeting and helping Violetta.

Where Celia Rees absolutely excels is bringing history to life. Descriptions of sights, sounds and smells all create such imagery that for a while I actually was in seventeenth century London. She doesn't shy away from the grisly truth so at times the book is violent and slightly disturbing, especially in her descriptions of the fate of prisoners and betrayers. But this makes the book seem all the more authentic. Seventeenth century London wasn't the nicest of places after all, with the heads of criminals hanging from London Bridge and the lack of sanitation.

Violetta is an inspiring character. She's strong, determined, loyal and proud so even in hard times she never looses sight of herself. I found myself really routing for her and sympathetic of her plight. The book is told in an alternating third person narrative and then first person from several characters. I would have preferred a little more from our heroine herself, as I thoroughly enjoyed her voice, and the story was, after all, hers to tell.

The book is full of action, myth and romantic legends, which I absolutely adored. In particular, Violetta's retelling of her parent's life in Illyria is captivatingly beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SJH @ A Dream of Books on 27 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've only read one Celia Rees book prior to this, Sovay, which I liked but didn't completely love. However, as soon as I read the blurb of 'The Fool's Girl' I just had to pick it up. I'm a massive Shakespeare fan and this book follows on from the ending of 'Twelfth Night'. The whole cast of characters are featured, from Viola and Sebastian to Orsino, Olivia and of course Feste. I don't think it would really matter if you hadn't read the original play or seen it performed, although knowing the background adds an enormous amount of richness and depth to the story. Celia Rees has spun a captivating tale in which she has imagined the fates of many of the central players - some good, some bad, and pictures what their lives are like away from the island of Illyria.

The story's told through the eyes of Violetta, the daughter of Viola and Orsino, who arrives in seventeenth century London with a secret agenda. I loved Violetta - her bravery and courage shines throughout and she makes a perfect heroine. She soon becomes embroiled with the real life figure of William Shakespeare, who Rees depicts before he becomes the famous playwright of Stratford. I loved all the little references to his plays, such as his struggle to write 'Hamlet' and the scene where he's reunited with his family, including his wife Anne Hathaway. Rees herself says that she was daunted to write about one of the greatest figures in English Literature but I think she's done it brilliantly.

I loved revisiting all the characters - it's a bit like meeting old friends again and I enjoyed the unravelling of the mystery surrounding their real reasons for being in London. My only real criticism would be the characterisation of Malvolio.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 3 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's 1601 and Violetta, the daughter of Duke Orsin and Lady Viola, is a refugee from Illyria. Her uncle, Count Sebastian, aided by the evil Malvolio (former steward to her aunt, Duchess Olivia) launched a coup and during the destruction of the city, Malvolio made off with a precious relic that's vital to the country's future. Violetta, aided by her faithful fool, Feste, follow Malvolio to London and enlist the help of the successful playwright, William Shakespeare to save the relic and in doing so, save both her country and herself.

Celia Rees's YA novel is a clever reworking of Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT that re-imagines certain aspects of the play and then goes onto imagine what happens after the play finished. Although you get a lot out of the book if you're already familiar with the play, the story is equally strong for you to enjoy it without knowing a thing about it - and hopefully those who don't know the play will go to read it afterwards.

Violetta is a spirited character - determined, resourceful and uncowed in the face of Malvolio's malign threats. Feste is equally strongly drawn - fiercely loyal to Violetta, mischievous, unpredictable and a teller of tales. Rees gives both of them (and a number of other characters) strong voices. Where Rees does particularly well though is with her depiction of Shakespeare himself - here a man of regrets for the loved ones he's left in Stratford, not so much a genius as a man with a good eye (and ear) for a story and whose quick wits have him skirting the world of court and diplomacy. In contrast, Stephano (Violetta's cousin and love interest) is a little two-dimensional, as is his faithful friend Guido.

There's a wonderful sense of period, with the Globe Theatre recreated to great effect.
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