The Vagabond Stage

Misadventures of a Boy Player

Young Adult - Adventure
235 Pages
Reviewed on 11/17/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

The Vagabond Stage: Misadventures of a Boy Player by Kell Cowley is a YA adventure story with a difference. Timony hates his life and his family hates him. A born actor, he has pulled off what he thought was a glorious escape when he is sidetracked by a band of traveling players. Here, he sees and falls in love with Gwendolyn, the female lead in the play. Catching the eye of Makadees, the playwright, he is soon taken on and given a job – playing the female roles. But stepping out on stage in a frock will prove to be nothing in light of the dangers he and the troupe face on their journeys. Set in a time when unlicensed actors needed a patron or be hunted as criminals, the players have to be one step ahead all the time and find themselves falling foul of all sorts – bandits, the watchmen and much more. Timony is about to learn that acting is more than being on a stage – it could just save his life.

Wow! The Vagabond Stage: Misadventures of a Boy Player by Kell Cowley floored me. It was an incredibly entertaining story that hooked me into reading it in a day, a unique storyline with a fabulous plot. The characters are fabulous, a wonderful mix of male characters with intricate lives and unbreakable bonds between them. Each has their own story to tell and you will learn those stories throughout the book. I loved the almost poetic way this was written, in clear and flowing language, so very easy to read and lose yourself in. The story is set in Tudor times when it was illegal for women to appear in plays – hence using the boys to play them. Although it also talks of being transgender, there is no point when any of the characters refer to themselves as female, but more as taking on a different personality when the dresses are donned. There are kisses between boys but it's all in the name of the act - or is it? This is a seriously good book and if I had to pick something from the book to sum it up, it would Timony’s mother saying to him, “Quit playing the woman, Timmy. Take it from me … it’ll get you nowhere in this world.” Really looking forward to the sequel.