Monday, February 2, 2009

Sovay by Celia Rees

I really really wanted to like this book. The cover is beautiful (let's face it, we all judge by that, right?), and the storyline sounded fantastic. Unfortunately, the execution was mostly ridiculous.

Sovay is a rich and privileged young woman living in England while the Reign of Terror rages in France. She dresses as a highwayman and holds up a carriage to get revenge on her unfaithful fiance, and continues to do it for kicks. The game turns serious when she finds papers calling for the arrest of her father, a sympathizer with the French revolution, among her takings.

Sovay is beautiful and independent, both qualities which get her into and out of all sorts of scrapes as she travels to London and beyond to try to save her father. The plot is complicated by various men who fall madly in love with her but are perfect gentlemen about it (even when invited not to be), a villain who seemed to be a combination of Inspector Javert and Dr. Frankenstein, a brothel full of boys, and intrigue at every turn.

In the end, I only finished this one because I wanted to see how bad it would get. Some fans of historical fiction and spunky heroines might receive this one better - particularly if they don't mind extremely awkward dialogue. Anyone else should probably skip it.

No professional reviews on Amazon, but there are some rather mixed ones from customers.

You should probably also avoid this book if you object to content that includes: (begin invisible text here) boys who work as prostitutes, a secret society whose initiation includes sexual acts (neither aspect described in detail), or a scene where a girl practically asks a highwayman to sleep with her - he refuses. (End invisible text here.) But really, the most offensive part was probably the awkward dialogue and narration.

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