I am a woman. I don't know if that was immediately obvious by my choice of books, but I am. Now you know for sure. As such, I generally prefer reading books by and about girls/women. I know it's not the same for all women, but that's how it is for me.
That being said, I really like the idea of familiar, "historical" legends being retold where the lead is a female in disguise. I like women being shown in positions of strength. Not over-the-top, women-are-stronger-than-men positions of strength, but where women are portrayed as strong of character. Robyn Hood: A Girl's Tale is just that kind of book. It's the kind of book that you want your pre-teen/teen daughter reading. It shows a female lead that is strong, courageous, and a good leader.
This particular retelling of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest's infamous outlaw, takes a twist I haven't seen before. This book re-imagines Robin Hood as Robyn Smith, a 15-year-old farmer's daughter from Nottinghamshire who is forced to go into hiding for saving her best friend, Maid Marian. She is then mistaken for a male. Ms. Shea leads readers in a tale that is recognizable yet distinct. Most of what the protagonist experiences is based on traditional stories of Robin Hood.
As someone who has always had a slight obsession with Robin Hood, this was a fun read. Be warned. There is also a second book, Robyn Hood: Fight for Freedom. The first book ends abruptly and leaves you a bit angry. Not at the book - at some characters. But, fear not, we are fortunate in that the second novel is already published: just download it and continue on. And love it. I'm not going to do another review for the second book. It's really just continuing the story; you can't have one without the other. I will say, however, that I liked the second book best. That's probably because the bulk of the romance occurred in the second book. Oh, yes, there is a romance. And it is with the right person, which was a major concern.
What I like about this book: I like that Robyn is a girl. She isn't just female, but she acts like a girl. She's not overtly masculine or aggressive. She is a gifted archer, but that's about it. She doesn't overpower men, and she has to rely on her Merry Men. Who are awesome. Another thing I like about this book is that her Merry Men know she's a girl and still accept her as their leader. They accept her without question or complaint, and they do everything in their power to protect her.
What I don't like: SPOILER ALERT Little John. Which is kind of sad since he's a main character. But, I just couldn't get behind him. I mean, at one point, he accuses Robyn of being on her period. That's just annoying. Ok, I didn't hate Little John. He was fine. But, just fine. He definitely wasn't my favorite of the Merry Men. END SPOILERS Also, there are quite a few grammatical and spelling errors that are mildly irritating. I know the author went through and re-edited a bunch of her books, and I haven't read them since then. They could be fixed now. I’ll post an update once I do.
Overall, I fully recommend this book. It is especially appropriate for preteen and teenager girls, but I am neither of those, and I really enjoyed it. It is a quick, wholesome read.