Book Review: Sovay
Sovay by Celia Rees
SUMMARY: England, 1783. When the rich and beautiful Sovay isn't sitting for portraits, she's donning a man's cloak and robbing horse-drawn carriages in broad daylight. But what started as a mere distraction quickly turns serious when Sovay lifts a wallet full of documents from one of England's most powerful and dangerous men. Finding items meant to incriminate her father for treason, Sovay realizes that her family's support of the French Revolution is known far beyond the confines of their country estate. Riding as a man, Sovay sets out for London to save her father and her family's reputation. The roles of thieves and gentry, good and bad, and men and women are interchanged to riviting effect in Celia Rees' newest and most dazzling historical saga yet. (adapted from the back cover)
OPINION: I am a huge fan of Celia Rees' book Pirates!, which is a swashbuckling tale of female pirates set against the backdrop of the colonial slave trade. This book is in the same vein, with a courageous female main character who defies traditional roles is a very unconventional way. I liked that a traditional ballad provided the inspiration for the main character and her initial robbery of her betrothed. But I didn't find it at all believable that someone so distinctive looking could successfully rob multiple coaches so close to her home without being caught, or at least accused, in a way that would have ruined her. As the story progressed, I felt like the author was trying to cram too many subplots and events into too few pages. I also grew frustrated with the amount of historical information that had to be conveyed for the reader to understand the relationship among Sovay's family, English politics, and the French Revolution. Nonetheless, the character of Sovay was very compelling, and her personality alone kept me reading the book. I do love a strong female heroine! Overall, I would recommend this book only to dedicated readers of historical fiction.