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Review: SOVAY by Celia Rees

Posted by on September 5, 2010
Sovay 
SOVAY
Celia Rees
407 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: August 19th 2008
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: REALLY LIKED

It’s England, 1783. When the rich and beautiful Sovay isn’t sitting for portraits, she’s donning a man’s cloak and robbing travelers—in broad daylight. But in a time when political allegiances between France and England are strained, a rogue bandit is not the only thing travelers fear. Spies abound, and rumors of sedition can quickly lead to disappearances. So when Sovay lifts the wallet of one of England’s most powerful and dangerous men, it’s not just her own identity she must hide, but that of her father. A dazzling historical saga in which the roles of thieves and gentry, good and bad, and men and women are interchanged to riveting effect.

I wasn’t always a big fan of historical fiction until “Sovay”, by Celia Rees, caught my attention from the very first page. Sovay is a young woman of dark beauty living in England during the French Revolution. She lost her mother at a very young age, and when her brother and father go missing, she learns she can’t trust anyone – not even the one she was betrothed to.

In the beginning of the book, Sovay dresses up in her brother’s clothes, wraps a handkerchief around her face, and rides to the highway, where she robs a stage coach for revenge and to break her boredom. When Sovay receives news of her father’s arrest for treason, she is persuaded by close friends, and soon gets tangled into the political mess of her day. What starts out innocently enough, soon escalates into something more dire when she robs important documents to save her father from the guillotine and learns secrets that put her under the watchful eye of the influential Sir Robert Dysart. She soon finds out that Dysart’s influence extends deep into France, where her father is sick, and where Sovay and her brother are hiding because they can’t return to England. Nearly standing before the guillotine herself, Sovay tries to save her father, brother, and the meaning of freedom.

Rees winds a very suspenseful tale with Sovay’s journey. It is sometimes hard to follow and there are a lot of characters to keep track of. But once you get to know them all, be ready for a lot of twists and turns in this unpredictable must-read!

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