The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees

The Fool's Girl

Written by Celia Rees

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Weaving romance and courage together into a powerful story set in Elizabethean England this tells how Violetta, a young girl in exile, desperately pursues the treasure stolen from her country by the evil Malvolio while also hoping against hope that she’ll find her true love. Violetta travels with Feste, fool extraordinaire, whose clowning antics catch the eye of Shakespeare himself in this gripping adventure that tells another chapter in his story of Twelfth Night.


The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees

Violetta and Feste have come to London to rescue the holy relics taken from the church in Illyria by the evil Malvolio. Their journey has been long and their adventures many, but it is not until they meet the playwright William Shakespeare that they get to tell the entire story from beginning to end! But where will this remarkable tale ultimately lead Violetta and her companion? And will they manage to save themselves, and the relics from the very evil intentions of Malvolio?


Praise for 'Witch Child': 'A gripping, thrilling novel that transports you to a time of paranoia and witch hunts. Witch Child and the sequel Sorceress are historical fiction at its very best

Guide to Kid's Books 'Absorbing and suspenseful'

'Pirates!': 'Beautifully written and gloriously good-hearted, a treasure of a book'

'Sovay': 'A gorgeous, breathtaking, headlong romp of a read'
The Times

Review of ‘The Fool's Girl’ by Books for Keeps [4 stars]

The Fool’s girl is Violetta, daughter of Viola from Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, and Celia Rees has written a multi-layered and literary story involving William Shakespeare in Violetta’s quest to take back the casket and regain her dukedom.
Violetta and Feste, the fool of the title, are in London following Malvolio who has taken the casket containing the myrrh brought to the infant Jesus by the Magi, from the cathedral in Illyria after the bloodshed which saw the ending of Duke Orsin’s reign.

Feste and Violetta contrive a meeting with William Shakespeare hoping he will help them, but Shakespeare is preoccupied with other matters and it is only after the two reveal their story to him over time that he becomes convinced he should help them. Meanwhile Robert Cecil has recruited Shakespeare over fears of a Catholic plot and he decides this work will enable him to help Violetta as well. Feste had rescued Violetta following the battles but she was then captured by Malvolio who wanted the ‘shewstone’, a stone which reportedly showed the future, and in which Violetta had foreseen Viola’s fate. The reader will follow all these twists and turns in the same way that the audience follow the actions of the play on the stage, which is what makes this book so fascinating.

Although some knowledge of the plot of Twelfth Night would be useful, it is not necessary and may well lead the reader to explore the play, but Celia Rees cleverly uses the presence of a real historical figure in the midst of her fictional characters to weave a fascinating and clever story.

The backdrop of Elizabethan England, the Globe theatre, the perceived constant threat to the throne by closet Catholics, and above all the portrait of William Shakespeare, not assured of his success, apart from his family in Stratford and being slowly drawn into Violetta’s story which would subsequently result in the writing of Twelfth Night, all are beautifully described, painting a world into which the reader is drawn.

It is so good to read a story not afraid to have literary references, much like Antonia Forest’s two books, The Player’s Boy (1970) and The Players and the Rebels (1971). Like these two titles Celia Rees’ story assumes the reader will follow her into this world and those who do so will be enriched by it.

About the Author

Celia Rees

Celia Rees was born and went to school in Solihull, in the West Midlands. She now lives in Leamington Spa with her husband and teenage daughter, Catrin. After gaining a degree in History and Politics from Warwick University, she taught English in comprehensive schools in Coventry for seventeen years. It was during this time that she began to write. Celia’s first book was published in 1993, a thriller for teenagers.

Celia now divides her time between writing, talking to readers in schools and libraries, and teaching creative writing on the University of Warwick’s Open Studies Programme. She writes for older children and teenagers and gets her inspiration from the world around her: newspaper stories, people she meets, places she visits. Celia particularly likes museums and art galleries. She first had the idea for Witch Child on a trip to the American museum near Bath.

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Book Info


320 pages


Celia Rees
More books by Celia Rees

Author's Website


Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date

5th April 2010




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