September 7, 2010

The face of a book

Do you ever look at a book cover and just what to read it. This book cover the eyes just call to you.

I picked up this book and the cover just spoke to me, does it speak to you?

But what is it about?

Mary, 15 years old and an orphan, must flee into Sherwood Forest to avoid an arranged marriage. There her life truly begins, for she finds a community of heroic outlaws that includes a woman with seemingly magic healing powers and a young man who is bravely leading the fight against tyranny. This man is Robin Hood, and Mary will soon be known as Maid Marian, the green lady of the woods. An ALA Notable Book for Children. A "Booklist" Children's Editor's Choice.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-Mary de Holt, 15, runs away from her uncle's manor to avoid marrying the elderly widower he has chosen for her, and her nurse, Agnes, follows. They take refuge in the endless, forbidding forest, and Mary finds it teeming with life-wretched folk on the run, defrocked nuns, and a mysterious prophetess, among others. Local lore tells of a fearsome witch, the Forestwife, who in truth is a woman skilled in herbs and potions who provides assistance to all those desperate enough to seek it. Agnes and Mary find her, but too late; she has died, and they soon take over her role. As Mary becomes more self-sufficient and assimilated into the forest, Agnes renames her Marian. Agnes's son, an outlaw who comes to them for healing and returns their kindness with poached game and stolen goods, becomes Robin Hood. In the same way that Robin McKinley created real lives for Marian and Robin in The Outlaws of Sherwood (Greenwillow, 1988), Tomlinson uses imagined details and historical facts and settings to create a briefer, very different, but equally moving and believable story with a strong, competent heroine. In her afterword, she describes her research, the places and events linked to the legends, and the records concerning women's lives in medieval England. Plot elements involving the activities of King Richard the Lionhearted and his quarrelsome brother John give the story a place in time, while the occasional use of middle English words add to the ambiance.
Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-12. Using the Robin Hood legends as a springboard, Tomlinson heads deep into the heart of the forest; however, the hero of this story is not the prince of thieves, but Marian, who becomes the benevolent Green Lady of the forest. Rather than marry an elderly widower who stinks of ale, 15-year-old Marian runs away to join the forest folk, who live by their own rules. Among them is her former nurse, Agnes, whose common sense and prowess at healing have earned her the mantle of Forestwife--the wise woman people come to when they are in dire need. Agnes is also the mother of a young outlaw named Robert, whom Marian dislikes at first sight. Several recent novels, Frances Temple's The Ramsay Scallop (Booklist Books for Youth Top of the List 1994) and Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdie (Books for Youth Editors' Choice 1994), offer a view of the Middle Ages from the female perspective, but Tomlinson adds a dimension by primarily populating her world with women characters, including a band of renegade nuns. Cleverly, yet subtly, the author marks the extra burdens that women had to bear in a society that was fair to few of its subjects. But this is a very personal story as well, and a voyage of discovery for Marian, who finds the mother she thought was dead and a true love in Robert. In an ending that's underplayed, Marian must forfeit her wished-for role of wife to Robert for the role of Forestwife when Agnes dies. A rich, vibrant tale with an afterword that describes how various legends were braided into the story. Ilene Cooper --

Will you read this?