Author: Celia Rees
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: 4th April 2011 (Bloomsbury - UK)
Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. 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.
The Fool's Girl is based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, set after the ending of the play, almost like a 'what happened next'. It's written as if the plot of Twelfth Night was true and Violetta, the daughter of two of the main characters in the play, is in Shakespearean England, telling her tale to the bard himself and hence being inspiration for his writing. It is not essential to be completely knowledgeable of Twelfth Night, I only knew the basic outline before reading this book, as it is recapped near the start of the book. However, I believe someone with more knowledge of it would enjoy this book much more.
The plot of The Fool's Girl is very in depth with plenty of twists and turns. Personally I found the writing a little too descriptive for my taste. It was easy to picture all of the scenes clearly in my head because of this but it made me feel a little bit like I just wanted to get on with the story.
I'm not really sure what to make of the characters in this book. They were all clearly well developed in the authors mind, with detailed back histories but somehow they lacked in personality for me. I found myself not really caring about what happened to them.
I really wanted to like this book and I enjoyed reading the 'behind the scenes' of Shakespeare's life but the story just didn't grab me like I hoped it would.