Sherwood – Meagan Spooner – HarperTeen – Published 19 March 2019
Robin of Locksley is dead.
When news comes that he’s fallen in battle at the King’s side in the Holy Land, Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on. Betrothed to Robin, she was free to be herself, to flout the stifling rules of traditional society and share an equal voice with her beloved when it came to caring for the people of her land.
Now Marian is alone, with no voice of her own. The people of Locksley, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, are doomed to live in poverty or else face death by hanging. The dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley, and Marian’s fiancé. Society demands that she accept her fate, and watch helplessly as her people starve.
When Marian dons Robin’s green cloak, and takes up his sword and bow, she never intended that anyone should mistake her for Robin, returned from the Holy Land as a vigilante. She never intended that the masked, cloaked figure she created should stand as a beacon of hope and justice to peasant and noble alike. She never intended to become a legend.
But all of Nottingham is crying out for a savior. So Marian must choose to make her own fate and become her own hero…
Sherwood is impressive in every way. From the twists that come from nowhere and endless heart-stopping adventure to the familiar but new cast of characters, Meagan Spooner has breathed new life into this old favourite, classic legend. Sherwood is perfect for fans of retellings or fantasy that focuses more on adventure and historic details. From start to finish this wonderful book swept me away and kept me entranced – I can’t wait to share this with so many readers. It’s going to be one of those books I shove into people’s hands and say, “you must read this, you’ll love it, it’s simply brilliant.”
Lady Marian enjoys her freedom under the loving care of her father and her betrothal to Robin of Locksley. Robin understands her and doesn’t mind she that can out shoot him and best him in a fight or race. When he returns from the King’s war in the Holy Land, she will begin a new life at his side, caring for the people of Locksley. But when news reaches her that Robin is dead, her world is thrown into chaos. As the Sheriff of Nottingham and his right hand man, Guy Gisborne, terrorises the people and enforces crippling taxes, Marian is determined to do something to protect the people she loves. When she dons Robin’s clothing and makes a daring rescue for a man’s life, she never expects people to mistake her for Robin returned from the grave, nor for a hero to be born. Soon Marian must decide if she will continue down the path she has forged as she considers the cost, both to herself and the people she loves.
I love fairytale and legend retellings and Meagan Spooner has delivered another brilliant adaptation. What struck me the most about Sherwood was the beautiful balance between the legend we know and love, the familiar names, places, roles and characters, and a whole new take on the story, new details and a new way of looking at it, so seamlessly combined that you can sit back and say, yes, that’s exactly what must have happened. I loved every minute of it. I loved reading for the first time names such as Will Scarlett and jumping with glee to know that familiar characters would have their place in this story. I loved reading the twists and surprises in the plot that kept me hooked to the story, totally blown away and suitably impressed. I loved Marian’s character, her strength and her determination. I also loved that just because she is strong doesn’t mean she doesn’t have bad days, doubt herself or sometimes fall apart. She makes the best Robin Hood – noble and brave, yet concerned and conflicted. And I loved, loved the romance. Yes, there is romance in this book, but I think the less you know of it the better – the surprise is worth it, so avoid spoilers if you can. Just know that it is amazing. And perfect. Just as impressive is the friendship, family love, and camaraderie Marian shares or develops with those around her.
Beautifully written and expertly crafted with familiar and new seamlessly combined, Sherwood is an epic retelling that I know readers will love.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Genre: Fantasy – retellings
Themes: Legends, retellings, Robin Hood, women and girls, archery, romance, injustice, adventure, crime.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: References to death, injury, fighting and torture.
Published: 19 March 2019 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 480 pages.