My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Content Note: there is offscreen child death in this novel.)
I absolutely loved this.
I’ve long been a fan of Jaime Lee Moyer’s work, because her characters are so well rounded that they feel like people you’re sitting and having tea with. This novel does that with characters that we think we already know.
If you ever wondered what happened to Maid Marian and Robin Hood after their happily ever after, this is a murder mystery set in Sherwood from Marian’s point of view, roughly 10 years after the stories we are familiar with take place.
The Merry Men have all settled down into their lives and livelihoods. And now they and some of their family members have been murdered, and it’s up to Marian to solve the mystery. Faerie is very plausibly involved, which makes things even more complicated.
Stories are tidy; people are messy. This is a gorgeously written, well-paced exploration of a bunch of messy people trying to make sense of — and the best of — an “adventure” they never signed up for, and Marian’s voice is particularly resonant for this reader. Marian’s older, wiser, and has been through significant heartbreak.
This is a novel about resilience, about the costs of doing what must be done, relationships that get broken, repaired, and find a way forward, and about how your story doesn’t necessarily end just because other people assume it has.
Highly, highly recommended.