Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Posts Tagged ‘Celia Rees’

Fool’s Girl

Posted by nliakos on August 30, 2019

by Celia Rees ( Scholastic, 2010)

Celia Rees has taken Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night and written a new chapter of the saga of Viola and Sebastian, the shipwrecked twins who emerged from the sea to wed royalty in the Adriatic dukedom of Illyria (in present-day Croatia). In Rees’s imaginings, Violetta, the daughter of Viola and Duke Orsin, flees a conquered Illyria with her mother’s fool, Feste, and her father’s young page, Guido. They eventually come to London in search of Illyria’s greatest treasure, a holy relic stolen by the evil Malvolio, and appeal to a youngish Will Shakespeare to help them.  (Rees writes in the Author Note, “I wanted to write about Shakespeare before he was Shakespeare, when he was just Will from Warwickshire, trying to make a living in the competitive and precarious world of Elizabethan theatre.”)

Stubborn, brave Violetta; bawdy, multi-talented Feste; cruel, deranged Malvolio; faithful Maria; handsome but mysterious Stephano; clever Will Shakespeare, walking a political tightrope, trying to do his duty without compromising his friends or his company of players; Will’s wise and patient wife Anne; the Lord and Lady of the Wood; and more are some of the characters that Rees builds into believable people in this tale of romance, adventure, and intrigue. There is plenty of action and excitement before we reach the inevitable happy ending. I think Shakespeare would have been pleased.

 

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