Fourth title from bestselling novelist Celia Rees Strong historical setting and brilliantly realised heroine
Celia Rees lives in Warwickshire, England. Her first novel for Bloomsbury, Witch Child, has been adopted by educational boards up and down the country and is now required reading in secondary schools in the UK. Celia has a degree in history, a strong interest in which is still evident in her brilliantly researched books.
Gr 9 Up-It's 1794, and the revolution in France is threatening to spill across the channel into England, where Sovay, the beautiful 17-year-old daughter of a gentleman, turns to holding up carriages while in disguise to break her boredom. Then her father disappears and is charged with treason, and, with the persuasion of the notorious highwayman Captain Greenwood and the American Virgil Barrett, she becomes embroiled in the political issues of the day, eventually traveling to Paris during the final days of the Reign of Terror. Rees develops strong (and frequently mysterious) characters to carry this historical novel. The vivid sense of place, especially in France, will cause readers to experience the French Revolution on a personal level. Ultimately, the epitome of evil is not Robespierre or his underlings, but the crowds of ordinary citizens who accept the horrors without flinching. Unfortunately, these strengths are undermined by troubles with the plot. Reference to "The Highwayman" that opens the book serves no purpose in the overall story except to introduce Greenwood and display Sovay's courage. The historical events are not fully fleshed out, and readers unfamiliar with the Reign of Terror are offered no explanatory notes or afterword. Two possible love interests for Sovay are trumped in the last 100 pages by a third character, and readers may be frustrated with the neat ending.-Melissa Moore, Union University Library, Jackson, TN Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
'I've saved the best for last. The prolific, erudite and consistently brilliant Celia Rees is justly renowned for her dizzyingly inventive plots, redolent of everyone from Angela Carter to Shakespeare. Sovay and Witch Child are two of her best-known books in the younger market, but she has written countless more, all equally breathtaking' Guardian 'Meticulously researched and completely absorbing with a wonderfully feisty heroine, this is highly recommended for teenage readers' The Independent