Illyria was where? Oh, yes, just down the Adriatic coastline from Venice. No wonder that attacks by the powerful Venetian Empire sent the young Duchess fleeing for her life, searching for the stolen relics which must be returned to Illyria's cathedral if her homeland is ever to be safe again.
We know this story as Shakespeare told it in Twelfth Night, with its mistaken identities, the evil Malvolio, and the jester/fool Feste.
Imagining that Violetta and Feste meet Shakespeare himself and travel with his theater troupe in search of the Illyrian relics brings us another side of the story, full of intrigue and danger. Whether you've read the play or not, you'll be captivated by this tale well-told by Celia Rees.
Book info: The Fool's Girl / by Celia Rees. Bloomsbury, 2010. (paperback Nov. 2011) [author's website] [author's blog] [publisher site]
Recommendation: Young Violetta is a duchess of Illyria whose enemies will pursue her to the death. But if she and Feste, royal Fool and jester, can rescue the holy relics stolen from Illyria’s cathedral by Malvolio, they can outwit her late father’s rival and restore the well being of the kingdom and its people.
Disguising themselves, Violetta and Feste follow Malvolio and the relics from Italy to London, where they meet an author who believes their story. William Shakespeare helps them as they travel in his Company, Feste as a player, Violetta as costumer, searching for Malvolio before he sacrifices the relics.
Can Violetta truly see part of the future? What of the secrets that her father sought in mystical books? Will the Illyrians escape the notice of the Queen’s churchmen who are hunting down Catholics in England? Is Feste truly a fool or truly wise?
A memorable retelling of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night where the Bard himself plays a lead role. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)