Summary: 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.My feelings for this book are kind of mixed, but leaning more towards the positive side.
It took me a while -- longer than it normally would -- to get into the book. It was about 100 pages in before there was that moment where something just clicked and instead of pushing myself to read the story I found myself pulled into it and eagerly turning the pages. I think it may have something to do with the fact it was told in alternating point of views and switching from third person narrative to first person for the memories/flashbacks, so because of that, it took me longer to connect with and care about the characters but once I did, I enjoyed it a lot.
Violetta was an awesome character, she was one of those really good strong female leads and I enjoyed the stories from when she was younger and the stories of her and her parents' pasts in Illyria, they were probably my favourite parts of the book. Her relationship with Stephano was really sweet too, I would have liked to see more of that in the story.
I also had a real soft spot for Feste's character, he was sweet and funny and wonderfully weird and he was by far my favourite from the beginning, by the end of the book I found myself caring about him in the same way that Violetta does.
I like historical fiction, but I'm no expert so the way Celia writes is ideal for someone like me. She describes everything in such a way that you can really picture what she's writing without it being too over the top.
I loved how she has based the foundations of the story on Twelfth Night but has done it in a unique way, making William Shakespeare himself one of the characters and having the story revolve around the daughter of the Duke and Viola instead. I'm a fan of Shakespeare, but I admit I've yet to read Twelfth Night and I'm only familiar with the story through retellings, this book has convinced me to bump it up on my to be read pile though.
I think I would enjoy and appreciate this book more if I read it a second time through, maybe after reading the play it's inspired by.
One of the thing's I didn't particularly like about the book was that there wasn't much romance and I tend to favour books with a lot of romance in them. It's more of a personal preference than an actual flaw in the book but I started reading it expecting romance to be a bigger part of it (I'll blame that on having watched a movie retelling of Twelfth Night before reading so I was expecting a similar sort of thing). I just wanted to mention that in case there are any people like me who have a soft spot for love stories, so you won't end up disappointed by the book, there is romance there but it's not really a focus in the story.
Overall it was a good book and Celia Rees is a fantastic author, and if you're into Shakespeare or Historical Fiction then you should check it out.
Currently reading: Heist Society by Ally Carter
Then: The Named by Marianne Curley