Copyright Date: 2000
The author's page blurb:
During an age filled with great deeds and great men, King Richard the Lion-Hearted lies dying in France. With his last breath, he bequeaths his kingdom to his brother, Prince John, and his nephew, Prince Arthur. From this legacy comes a terrible war, as two men clash for what can only belong to one: the right to rule Britain. It is also these words that seal the destiny of of Richard's young champion, Robert of Locksley. Robert, the handsome son of a respected earl, had long fought the tyranny of Prince John--a man as weak as he is cruel. Now that power has shifted even more firmly into John's hands, and Robert has no choice but to fight as an outlaw--as Robin Hood.
Lady Marian of Ravenskeep, her honor proving stronger than her desire, has foresaken a wedding to Robert of Locksley, since she fears she can never bear his child. It is with this knowledge that she makes an irrevocable choice--to flee into the depths of Sherwood Forest, where, amid wild tangled woods, she will be transformed from lady to warrior, as Robin Hood's partner in stealing John's gold, and as the woman who has captured his heart.
Yet all who breath know that the penalty for such a theft is hanging. Pursued by the Sheriff's army, the hour soon approaches when Robin Hood, Marian, and their band of followers will wage a desperate fight for liberty and country.
I bought this book about a year and a half ago, so it definitely fits the requirements for the Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge, as did the first book in the pair, Lady of The Forest.
Lady of Sherwood starts right in the middle of the story, without introducing any of the characters, assuming the reader either knows the Robin Hood legends or has read the first book. As a result, we're thrown right into the action with Little John, Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck. The Sheriff of Nottingham is particularly vile in Jennifer Roberson's version of the story, taking out his petty jealousies on Marian and the others. Still, as in the previous book, he's not just a cardboard cut-out of a villain, but a character with understandable motivations, even if they're things we don't agree with.
This is a book that ends with a happy moment, but also leaves plenty of the tale still to be told, but then, a lot of legends are like that, always leaving room for another legend.
As with Lady of the Forest this was a quick read for its size, but it was also one that I couldn't put down. I ended up reading until two a.m. in order to finish it. One of the reasons it's a fairly quick read is that the font size is quite large. Not quite that of a large print book, but pretty close.
I did feel that there were a couple too many viewpoints, the same complaint I had with Lady of the Forest but there were definitely fewer of them than the previous book, and all of the characters were those from the first book too.
A romance novel or simple historical fiction? This book could be either I think, although I did buy it from the romance shelves of the bookstore. Whichever is your preference. Lady of Sherwood was definitely a good read, although I will recommend reading Lady of the Forest first.