For anyone who doesn’t know about Fleeced, by Julia Wills…
Fleeced by Julia Wills is the first novel in a trilogy about the ram who once was the proud owner of the famous ‘golden fleece’. However, it doesn’t really fall into the category of historical novel. It is actually a modern day adventure story full of drama, suspense and humour.
Julia Wills’ style is interesting. The book is written in the third person and the author takes on the role of the omniscient narrator. However, rather than being the anonymous, unseen narrator, she becomes a character in the story. One who provides a commentary on events, useful snippets of information and humorous asides. You really do get the feeling that she is personally telling the story to you.
The detailed descriptions help the reader visualize the different settings. One of my favourites is that of Medea’s shop. Although detailed, the descriptions aren’t long and drawn out and do not distract from the pace of the story at all. Even, if the text is not being used as a class novel, any of these descriptions of setting can be used as models for writing. Other descriptions, such as in chapter 25 not only help you visualize the scene but also help you ‘hear’ it.
The book would complement a history topic of Ancient Greece, as not only do you learn about the myths but also about the architecture. Rose’s mother works at the British Museum and as such Rose spends much of her time there. Chapter 7 describes in detail the exhibits in the Parthenon room of the museum and provides a short history lesson about the Elgin marbles. This is done in a very natural way from Roses’s perspective and is not at all didactic. In the same way readers learn about important aspects of conservation and restoration.