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The Forestwife (Forestwife Saga #1)

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3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  1,402 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
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 magical 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 la ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 7th 1997 by Yearling (first published January 1st 1993)
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Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
5 Words: History, family, poverty, bravery, Robin-Hood.

I kind of accidentally stumbled on this book, but I've been having a run of awesome Robin Hood inspired stories recently, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

And I'm really glad I picked this up.

Ten years ago (ye gawds, I'm getting old) I would have absolutely loved this. It's full of action and adventure and ultimately is the story of Marian finding herself and growing up and going through a remarkable change. And I went into this reading a
...more
Lanie
Sep 10, 2013 Lanie rated it really liked it
This is robin Hood from Maid Marian's point of view and a good choice for teen girls. And just about any Robin Hood fan, of course. :D but be warned: the "thees" and "thas" can be kind of annoying. they take getting used to.

So, as a modern young lady who wants gender equality and the stupid stereotypes stomped out, I can totally appreciate an independent, strong, stubborn young woman as a lead character. Especially in a time period like the late 1100s. at that time, woman were basically animals.
...more
R. G. Nairam
This is the 1-star of I really don't care, not the 1-star of ew get it away from me. Probably a 1.5, if you will.

I have apparently dreaded reading this for way too long.

I remembered reading the sequel, Child of May, about 8 or 9 years ago and hating it, though the hatred is so vague at this point that I can really only remember one sexual reference that made me very uncomfortable as a 13yo.

Probably, Child of May is not actually worth hating. It's just, like The Forestwife, not that good.

I dreade
...more
Amanda Lila
May 29, 2013 Amanda Lila rated it liked it
I have read this exactly 7 years ago. I got it as a present from one of my class mates. I know I really enjoyed it and should probably read again because I don't remember much.
Ashley (Bound to Love YA)
Forestwife had a nice, lyrical quality to it, but it left me very unsatisfied. Overall, it felt like an outline to an actual book. It's too bad, because I was very excited by the idea of having a Robin Hood retelling focused on the women of the story that traditionally get very little air time. But it just didn't dig deep enough for me.

Don't get me wrong - I appreciate an economy of words, I don't need ten pages inside some simpering heroine's head, but the clipped, active sentences left me won
...more
Nikki
If I'd read this when I was about eleven or twelve, I would probably have loved it. It's the Robin Hood story, but focused around the women, including one main strong woman, Mary de Holt, or Marian. It doesn't seem to focus much on Robin/Robert at all, although it may later in the trilogy. I doubt it, though; I think it's all quite strongly focused on Marian.

Reading it as an adult, it's less enchanting. I'm not as caught up in the sense of adventure and empowerment and young girls doing wonderfu
...more
Molly Hopkinshaw
Mar 15, 2017 Molly Hopkinshaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this through the eyes of my 13/14 year old self, if that makes sense- I can see the book is for young adults but I can appreciate it through that lens. I have always loved traditional stories retold through the eyes of the women who are so often sidelined or painted one-dimensionally. This story especially because it recognises the importance and strength of women and the unique powers they have.
I also love the idea of the almost mythical character of the 'Forestwife'. The women recogni
...more
Nan
May 14, 2017 Nan rated it it was amazing
I own this book, i like it very much, I think I might have read the other two in the series when I was in Middle school
Kate
I found out about this book from a booklist of "fractured fairy tales" or retellings of fairy tales and myths. What interested me about this book was that it was a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, about Maid Marian.

Now, I haven't read any other Robin Hood stories. I've seen the Disney cartoon version and the Kevin Costner movie version. I was a little in love with the Disney Robin Hood when I was little, but that might have been because he was a fox and that was my favorite animal. Or maybe
...more
Mariah
Fleeing an unwanted forced marriage, orphan Mary runs away to the woods of England. She is worried about the wild creatures and outlaws that live there, but willing to take her chances. Her nurse Agnes follows her, and proves to be an essential companion and mentor, who is knowledgeable of herbal healing and wilderness survival. They become part of a community of people who live in the forest avoiding the oppression of local lords, including Agnes' son Robert.

The idea of a Forestwife, a wisewom
...more
Shiianne
Apr 08, 2013 Shiianne rated it it was amazing
The Forestwife was a lovely book, full of magic and intrigue. I have a wild imagination, so this really piqued my interest. As you can tell from what the back of the book says, it’s about a girl named Mary that runs off into the woods to escape a terrible marriage she wants no part in. Luckily, Agnes, a good friend, helps her in her journey.

Personally, while reading this book, I imagined everything, from the trees to the deer. When it talked about the Forestwife’s house, I imagined a very large
...more
Kelly
Jun 14, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it
I read this as a child and recently found it again while going through my bookshelf. I've been on a re-telling of Robin Hood kick lately so decided to give it a re-read.

I was surprised at some of the topics covered in the book, as I really didn't remember that much going on from when I first read it. They weren't talked about in detail, but there were definitely some heavy issues mentioned.

Overall I really liked this book. It's simple and obviously written for children, but not overly so and is
...more
Phair
A fresh take on the Robin Hood legends from Maid Marian's perspective. Excellent depiction of the times and I especially enjoyed the focus on the lot of women from the gentry to the humble village women, nuns, the elderly. I loved the way the legacy of the 'Forestwife' passed from one woman to the next as each holder of the Forestwife's belt took on the task of serving the community as a wise woman, providing herbal remedies, food and advice to all her sought her out and gave up hope of a perso ...more
Jessica
May 01, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
When I was at my parents' house over Christmas break, I found a copy of The Forestwife on a bookshelf and decided to read it. Earlier this year I read most of a scholarly work called Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography, and in it it talked about some contemporary retellings that the author thought were particularly good Robin Hood tales, The Forestwife being one of them. The story focuses on Marian, how she escapes from an impending arranged marriage to live in the woods, eventually assuming the role ...more
Girl with her Head in a Book
Theresa Tomlinson takes the old story and refashions them from the female point of view. In this version, Maid Marian becomes Mary, a high-born Norman girl, flees to the forest to escape an arranged marriage. Following her is old nurse Agnes who takes them to see the Forest Wife, a mythical figure of the Forest. Rather than the bogey-woman though, Mary discovers a flesh and blood woman who devotes her life to serving the people of the forest. Agnes is soon called to take over the role and the tw ...more
Josie
I really enjoyed this, up until the ending, which seemed rather rushed and was definitely unsatisfying. I must say as a relevant aside, that knowing about the history of the Robin Hood legend when reading fiction based on it is (for me anyway) beneficial...or fun...or, it makes me feel smug and well-read, anyway, recognising all the bits and pieces authors have used from ballads etc, and being able to differentiate those from the elements the authors have added themselves.
But back to The Forest
...more
SarahC
Mar 15, 2010 SarahC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myth-english
Since I am working my way through novels of Robin Hood legend, I have a few other versions to compare this one to and it stands up well in comparison. Tomlinson's Forestwife turns the attention to Marian and does a beautiful job of mixing the mythology of early England with the later legends of Robin Hood. Since this novel targets young adults, the afterword is valuable in describing Tomlinson's research and thoughts on working within the various legends to write her story.

Forestwife describes
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Mariah Overlock
Jun 08, 2011 Mariah Overlock rated it really liked it
Shelves: robin-hood
I love Robin Hood stories. Eventually I'll read them all (and hopefully soon)!

I especially like stories like this where the focus is Marian. The Forestwife revolves around the legend of a woman that lives alone in the woods caring for those that come asking. The legend of the Green Lady is born.

Not your classic Robin Hood, in fact Robin plays a fairly small role in this story. Marian learns lessons about life and responsibility. I loved the character development in this story. Marian goes from
...more
Mary-Beth
Jun 30, 2008 Mary-Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I've never actually gotten my hands on a lot of stories told from the Robin Hood mythos, which is a shame, really. This one was quite an interesting take on the original stories (or what I understand of them).

It took a much more realistic view of the relationship between the rich and titled and the poor who Robin Hood fights for.

The story was also very much centered around the figure of Maid Marian who was re-written as a run-away bride turned herb woman by her nurse who helped her escape the
...more
So92
Oct 14, 2015 So92 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-before-2015
Rivisitazione della classica vicenda di Robin Hood. Libro corto, piacevole e poco impegnativo. Va benissimo per "spezzare" qualche libro più "tosto" e passare un pò di tempo in compagnia dei "soliti" personaggi (Little John, frate Tuc, ecc.), che però si presentano sotto una diversa luce.. e in certi casi sembrano più "realistici" (ad es. il povero Robert di Loxley più che un'eroe, è un idealista che si arrangia come può). La protagonista assoluta è Marian che non è, come ci si aspetta, la leggi ...more
Julie
Apr 01, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
So this book is a new tale of the classic Robin Hood. Its told from Maid Marian's perspective. It starts off as Mary runs away from her uncle as he has set her up with a match to be married. Her old maid Agnes then finds her and is more that she appears to be. Agnes then lead Mary to hid in the forestwife's hut who is dead. Agnes then takes on the role as forestwife and Mary becomes known as Maid Marian, or the green lady.
I kind of liked this book. I didn't really like the end of the book. Agne
...more
Erica
Apr 20, 2009 Erica rated it liked it
Tomlinson tells the story of Robin Hood, but from the point of view of Marian.

In this book Marian is not some helpless noblewoman needing to be rescued at every turn, but a runaway noblewoman who heads to the woods to escape an arranged marriage. Once there she learns the ways of the forest, befriends an unlikely group of people, saves women and entrapped nuns and eventually becomes the Forestwife.

It is also implied that she gets it on with Robin Hood (here called Robert) but decides not to mar
...more
Misti
Jul 28, 2015 Misti rated it really liked it
Some stories and characters are timeless. I can read about Robin Hood, Marian, and the rest of the gang in any of their incarnations and never tire of the story. The Forest Wife is a cute little tale focusing on Marian and how she helps the people that come to the forest. Robin, Little John, Much, and Friar Tuck are all there in some form. I really liked the book, however, it is written for a younger audience, so while I enjoyed it, I’m itching for a Robin Hood story with a little more meat to i ...more
Loraine
Mar 20, 2013 Loraine rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this spin on the Robin Hood tradition, with Green Woman of the forest rather than the Green Man.

Ms. Tomlinson provides excellent historical perspective as she tells the tale of a young woman on the run from the prospects of an unwanted marriage, accompanied by her nursemaid. Herb craft and the healing arts are just part of what the forestwife has to offer peasants, serfs and freemen attached to a lord's demesne. Most of the folk seeking her aid have been thrown off the lord'
...more
Elyse
I am a huge fan of British legends such as King Arthur and Robin Hood, but this is probably my all time favorite Robin Hood story.

It centers on Marian rather than Robin (who doesn't appear for about half of the book). Marian goes from the sheltered daughter of a nobleman to a vagabond in the woods, a transformation that makes for a beautiful story.

I'm also a sucker for a bittersweet ending and this one takes a prize. The harsh realities of the time period (which Tomlinson doesn't shy away from)
...more
Amanda
Dec 24, 2012 Amanda rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate
Yet another retelling of Robin Hood (is there a twelve-step program?). I liked this version. It wasn't a delightful surprise, but it wasn't too shiny and perfect. I thought making Marian a healer was a wonderful idea. Traditionally, the merry men don't really have a healer/doctor/barber. So Marian's skill is incredibly useful. She's no damsel. Robin isn't quite so charmingly/irritably noble, he's actually of a common sort (though still freeborn, as I recall). So there's that. Not sure if I'm goi ...more
Lillian
Jun 29, 2014 Lillian rated it really liked it
What a fun easy reading story! The Forestwife is one of those stories that you just kind of ride along and enjoy the sightseeing. The plot isn't much, just a simple story about Marian and her time in the woods, helping cool people and stuff. :) The ending was absolutely precious when (view spoiler) I really like them as characters, and especially Agnes, who I think is my favorite.

I’m curious to see where Marian and Robert’s romance will
...more
Lia Marcoux
Oct 03, 2014 Lia Marcoux rated it it was ok
This was education lite! This was Robin Hood with all the fun parts bowdlerized! Also, was that truly the romantic healing scene I remember from my youth, or did it just overlap with my memories because it's a recurring thing in Robin Hood stories? Probably the latter. I do like the idea of strong forest communities created by women, for women, but overall the whole book felt slight and a little boring.
Lys
Iniziato Scarlet e non poteva non tornarmi in mente questo libro di cui, a dire il vero, non ricordo più molto xD Ma so che mi era piaciuto, che la storia si intrecciava con quella di Robin Hood e che no, all'epoca (aka probabilmente quando l'ho letto alcuni di voi non erano ancora nati xDDD) mi era davvero piaciuto molto.

E ora ho scoperto ci sono pure dei sequel... cosa darei per aver avuto internet e siti tipo goodreads anche ai tempi! :P
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forestwife! 1 14 Mar 08, 2008 08:36AM  
  • Maid Marian
  • Lady of the Forest
  • Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (Rowan Hood, #1)
  • Sherwood: Original Stories from the World of Robin Hood
  • Sherwood (Sherwood, #1)
  • Quest for a Maid
  • Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest
  • The Ramsay Scallop
  • Spacer and Rat
  • Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography
  • The Winter Prince (The Lion Hunters, #1)
  • Awakenings (Kiera's Quest, #1)
  • The Outlaws of Sherwood
  • Anna of Byzantium
  • In a Dark Wood
  • On Fortune's Wheel (Tales of the Kingdom, #2)
  • Mel
  • Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian
528122
Though I was born in the South of England - my parents moved back to the North when I was one year old, and I have lived in Yorkshire ever since. I spent a few years as an infant teacher, but when my children were young I started making picture books for them and became hooked on writing. I love drawing and painting, but my main love is writing, often using the legends and history around me as ins ...more
More about Theresa Tomlinson...

Other Books in the Series

Forestwife Saga (3 books)
  • Child of the May (Forestwife Saga, #2)
  • The Path of the She Wolf (Forestwife Saga, #3)

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