So last night I was just innocently scrolling through my twitter feed before bed and something popped up about a book called Scarlet.I quickly made the connection to Robin Hood and hoped that’s what the book was about. I’m obsessed with Robin Hood. I have been since I was little girl and saw the cartoon movie with the foxes who were Robin and Maid Marian. So you can see why I was excited from the get-go. When I read the intro to the review and discovered that the book was indeed a re-imagining of the Robin Hood tale from Will Scarlet’s point of view; I ordered the e-book within 10 minutes and started reading.
Written in vernacular that is reminiscent of British commoners speak from the time, the writing reminded me of the Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce. This story however centers around Will Scarlet- Robin Hood’s best friend and confidant in classic retellings of the story. However Will is not man in Gaughen’s version. Her gender is kept a secret from the townspeople who refer to her as Will; while Robin’s band knows the truth of her gender and call her Scarlet because of her penchant for attaching Scarlet ribbons to the ends of her daggers. In fact the entire merry band of thieves is different from other retellings. For one, they’re all young, Robin being the eldest at 21 and though they have some of the typical characteristics of the original characters (Scarlet is quiet and secretive, John is a large somewhat womanizing woodsman, Much is a handless man who does what he can, and Robin is tortured by his past). Gaughen gives them all rich personalities that compliment their stories. Over the course of the novel you get to know each character in a more complete way than with previous retellings, and by the end you want so many things to happen for Scarlet, Robin, John and Much. It’s one of those stories that just jumps right into the action, and as a result it’s hard to put down. If you’re like me, and you already know the characters, you’re just given a more complete version of their lives but if you’re new to the Robin Hood world. You’ll fall in love with it.
Lastly, if you want to learn about the author, she did a lovely interview on one of my favorite sites Pub(lishing) Crawl.
Buy Scarlet on AbeBooks and support indie stores everywhere!