Kathleen Karr Fortune's Fool

ISBN 13: 9780375843075

Fortune's Fool

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( 45 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780375843075: Fortune's Fool

“A well-mapped medieval road trip.”—The Bulletin

Orphaned and left to make his own way in the world, Conrad the Good serves as court jester to a most unworthy master: Lord Otto “the Witless,” who rarely appreciates jesting and acrobatics and more often rewards his good fool with a good whipping. So one night, Conrad flees, leaving Otto’s realm in search of a more enlightened master—taking with him only his noble horse, Blackspur, and his beloved, the servant girl Christa the Fair.

As they take to the road, they soon learn that along with their quest comes hardship. But with Christa disguised as a boy, they are able to make their way as traveling entertainers, and for all the difficulties they encounter, there are as many unexpected joys and friends in unexpected places, and there is their love for one another. And always, their destination lies before them: somewhere, a sanctuary where they’ll have the freedom to be together and be themselves.

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About the Author:

Kathleen Karr is the author of many acclaimed novels for young readers, including Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel, The Boxer, Born for Adventure, and The Great Turkey Walk. She lives in Washington, D.C.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7–9—Conrad, a court jester by birth, attempts to escape the whims of Otto, an unjust lord. Set in Germany in 1365, the novel portrays the teen's search for a new master. In the guise of a boy, Christa, a "serving wench," demands to follow her beloved Conrad, and they tromp around Germany entertaining priests, burghers, and lords. They pick up strays—a boy they cut down from the gallows and another jester. Conrad immerses himself in trouble by defending the downtrodden, usually at the expense of his own hide. Bargaining the construction of a giant clock for the Fortress of Rosenberg in exchange for their freedom from their new master, Conrad and his companions achieve some independence and a home. After a stiff beginning, the story warms up with enchanting characters who keep the pages turning. It is hard to deny Conrad's Robin Hood charm or the gallows cheat's wit. The romance between Conrad and Christa balances plenty of fighting and details of medieval society, giving appeal to both genders. Beyond the story, readers will find food for thought in the religious practices described—jesters could not be baptized or marry. The novel has minor flaws, however. The conclusion lacks Karr's usual focus. Given the generally realistic treatment of medieval times, Conrad's newfound Seigneur seems improbably democratic; and the final jollity is a tad chaotic, with numerous characters and merging story lines. Nonetheless, for readers who like medieval fiction, this title is consistently entertaining.—Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT
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