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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: Sovay by Celia Rees

Sovay by Celia Rees
Paperback, 432 pages
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
June 22, 2010
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Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

Source: Personal collection
“Sovay begins her life as a highway robber to test her lover, but she is living in dangerous times, full of fear, with the spectre of the Revolution in France reaching across the Channel. Sovay’s father has disappeared, the family are tainted by accusations of treason. Sovay takes to the road in earnest to clear her name and quickly becomes entangled in a terrible web of deceit and duplicity. Can she escape before the net closes in on her and all around her?”
The description of this book was the first thing that pulled me into squeezing this book in between more serious reads – I also liked the prospect of a fast paced read. And while the description makes you think it is mostly about Sovay as a highway robber – that isn’t the primary focus – only a part of it. This novel is based on a traditional ballad of the same name – and one of the very early scenes in this book plays out very close to that ballad. After that, the story takes on a life of its own – set during a time of great upheaval in England and France. You get a strong sense of the Reign of Terror happening in France and how those events are sparking unrest and turmoil in England itself.

I thought that this was a very well done YA novel. Lately a lot of what you get is love triangles – with a primary focus on the romance, and lack a great adventure thread. This novel had the right measures of romance and adventure. Right from the first few pages you get caught up in the drama of highway robbery and the story keeps going from there – it doesn’t really ever slow down. The romance aspect is slight – you catch a glint of Sovay’s interest in several of the men she encounters and of course she ends up with someone by the end – but it doesn’t hit you in the face and make it a primary focus. The romance is really more of a side note. The historical is also well woven in – you get the setting and the feeling of the era while most of the characters are fictional. I don’t think it is something when a young adult would find abrasive or a turn off.

The only thing that I didn’t like about this novel – and the reason it isn’t a perfect 5 for me – is her choice of man at the end of the book. It sort of came out of thin air and didn’t feel extremely believable. Other possibilities were built up more and would have made more sense. Other than that, I really enjoyed this quick, light, adventure romp.

If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out chapter 1 of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book:: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Celia Rees


witch child
Witch Child


the fools girl
The Fool’s Girl

blood sinister
Blood Sinister

the wish house
The Wish House

the vanished
The Vanished

Find Celia Rees: Website | Facebook |

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. The cover is gorgeous and I love the sound of this story. Thanks Heather for the review and recommendation. Brilliant!

  2. Jenny - I loved this cover too. There is another one out there that I don't like nearly as much, she is wearing some type of top hat. It looked more like what you would expect from a western.

  3. When I was still working on the library, I started putting her books on the shelf - WHITCH CHILD and SORCERESS. They were popular. I hope they are still getting her books. This sounds like a good one. You are right, great cover.
    thanks for the review. will have to read this one.

  4. Librarypat - I remember reading Witch Child as a kid - but don't really remember the story. I know I used to own Sorceress too, but never got to read it. Now since I gave them away - I will have to visit the library to get them.


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