This re-telling of the Robin Hood legend puts a modern feminist twist on a centuries old story.
When the hero Robin of Locksley dies in a crusade to the Holy Land, Nottingham is plunged into poverty and turmoil. His betrothed Maid Marion is left to pick up the pieces when the Sheriff raises taxes and King Richard is nowhere around to help his own people. Putting on her beloved’s cloak, she disguises herself as Nottingham’s hero and rounds up a team of Merry Men to bring justice to the land. But with Guy of Gisborne both out to catch ‘Robin Hood’ and win Marion’s broken heart, she’ll have to use every ounce of cunning she has.
There seem to be quite a few feminist re-tellings of Robin Hood and similar legends lately. This one has a lot that will appeal to modern women without sacrificing any historical accuracy. In fact, many of the issues brought up are as painfully relevant to the modern day as they were in medieval times. For example, when Marion is disguised as Robin, the Merry Men follow her plans without hesitation. But when she is presenting as herself, they talk over her, question her ideas, and treat her like a fragile flower in need of protection. Although the men are portrayed as heroic, likeable characters, it says a lot how even they are conditioned to treat men and women differently.
Guy of Gisborne was another great surprise in this book. At first, I assumed that following most adaptations, he would be a standard villain and unwanted suitor to Marion, sort of like Gaston. But the number of twists and turns for his character threw me back and made me change my entire perspective on his character.
The only real downside to this novel is that the first half drags in comparison to the action-packed second half and risks putting off some readers. Although this does leave plenty of time to set up Marion’s position of Robin Hood and portray her grieving with heart-breaking accuracy.
Any young adult readers or those looking for a relatable, strong female protagonist will find this book a sharp-shooting adventure.
My rating – 5 out of 5.