cover image The Fool's Girl

The Fool's Girl

Celia Rees, Bloomsbury, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59990-486-3

In a tale filled with romance and adventure, drawn from the pages of Twelfth Night, Rees (Sovay) beautifully recreates Renaissance landscapes that would be familiar to Shakespeare, who, not so coincidentally, makes several appearances. The story, set first in Illyria then in England, centers around Violetta, daughter of a duke, who seeks refuge in London while her native land is being plundered. After making the acquaintance of the renowned playwright and telling him her woeful tale of being pursued by an evil uncle, the bard invents a plan to transport Violetta and former court jester Feste to safer ground in his hometown of Stratford. Living under the protection of Shakespeare and his accommodating wife, Violetta feels freedom and rekindled passion, but her sense of security is short-lived. Readers with a literary bent will delight in the many Shakespearean references—ranging from direct quotes from plays to subtler allusions to familiar characters—that are smartly woven into the plot. And they'll have fun predicting how loose threads will be tied together in an appropriate "all's well that ends well" fashion. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)