Thursday, May 17, 2012

Will Scarlet, meet Anne Drew

Just finished a Young Adult novel by the name of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.

5 out of 5 stars. Actually, I'd give this book 6 stars, but that might be understating how much I love this book. I am going to buy it- seriously, read this book- then BUY A COPY. Or maybe this will be Everyone's Birthday/Christmas/Whichever comes first gift from me.

I picked this book up at the library yesterday, saw the title and thought it was an intriguing looking cover.
Here's the summary:

"Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets- skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood's band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet's biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know...that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbroune closes in and puts innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. 
There is real honor among these thieves and so much more- making the fight worth dying for."

So I might be a little "Girl disguised as boy" type-story obsessed right now. I might be more than a little infatuated (or madly in love with) with Robin Hood. I got hooked at a very young age on the tales of the Robin of Sherwood (drat you- Errol Flynn).
Let's just say my desire to shoot a bow did not come from the Hunger Games.
Ever since watching the BBC television version of Robin Hood, my desire for a strong Marian has be satisfied. Even more so with the introduction of Jacque- the Saracen who joins Robin's band (and was not in the original stories). I was content. I was happy. Those women fueled my longing for the strong female leads lacking in the traditional re-tellings of Robin Hood.

Scarlet just blew them out of the water. Totally out of the water. Maybe because I can relate to Scarlet's character much more than I could to Marian or Jacque's.
Scarlet has secrets that Robin practically has to pry out of her.
Scarlet has a strong sense of loving other people (taking care of the people of Nottingham), but she can't come to grips with people loving her.
Scarlet only sees her own faults and doesn't feel she can atone for them.
And so many more things I can relate to. 

BTW- this is the BEST portrayal of Gisbourne as a villain that I have ever seen. In the BBC television show he's great, but he's got a very human side to him that you can't help but latch onto and buy into his "tortured bad boy with a soft spot" persona. Scarlet's Gisbourne makes you scared for your life. I love a good villain!
I also love the fact that A.C.G. uses the name of John Little instead of Little John. I like John Little better and he's such a player. It's fantasticly different from the normal brawny portrayal. He's still brawny.
And Robin, oh my dear Robin. Still the love of my heart. Still frustratingly amazing as ever. Why isn't he real? Alright now, girl moment is OVER (or else Anne will make me post this on my personal blog).

In a world where women were told what to do and how to behave without any say in the matter, her feeling of hopelessness at her old life (which was brilliantly layered and hinted at) is almost suffocating. Something that I totally feel when I even think about not being able to have a say in anything.

Maybe Anne ran away so that she could find her lost brother, but maybe she ran away from something more. Maybe my Anne Drew, like Will Scarlet, is not as simple as those early portrayals of Marian, merely being Robin's decoration.
Maybe there are darker secrets that lie beyond my facade as a simple cabin boy searching for her brother. My character will, by all means, be much lighter than the secretive and dark minded Scarlet, but I have found an inspiration in A.C. Gaughen's telling of this Lady of Sherwood.

Now where's that red ribbon?

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