MAID MARIAN by Elsa Watson


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Men in tights and the women who love them.

Maid Marian takes over the storytelling this time around, archly rehashing her rather shopworn tale in a genteel singsong mixed with dull historical exposition that does nothing to enliven it. No matter: gather round the blazing log, ye ignoramuses, and hear of lords and ladies, broadswords and battles, treachery and triumph, love and laughter, etc. etc. If ye should doze off, perhaps Little John will fetch ye a wallop with his mighty cudgel, though even that might not be enough to wake the slumbering louts dreaming fondly of Mel Brooks’s madcap take on the dear old story. Time to cut to the short version: Marian Fitzwater is betrothed in infancy to the noble Hugh, who grows up to be a bully, but dies young. Then scheming Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife to mean King Henry of England and queen of everything else, betroths Marian again to Hugh’s doltish brother Stephen. But Marian, as clever as she is beautiful, figures out a way to disappear: she is kidnapped by the merry men who prance about Sherwood Forest, boldly going where no man has gone before—hey, wait a minute, that’s a different shopworn tale. Back in the forest, Maid Marian busies herself trading contrived banter with Robin Hood and sewing jerkins, while Richard the Lionhearted tours the Middle East and King John squeezes the very life out of humble cottagers and lofty lords alike. Eventually, Marian and Robin hatch an unlikely plot to regain her ancestral lands.

Soporific debut.

Pub Date: April 13th, 2004
ISBN: 1-4000-5041-3
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2004