Maid Marian
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Maid Marian

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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  713 ratings  ·  114 reviews
An irresistible reimagining of the Robin Hood legend, Maid Marian brings to life the rollicking—and romantic—world of the Middle Ages.

An orphan and heiress to a large country estate, Marian Fitzwater is wed at the age of five to an equally young nobleman, Lord Hugh of Sencaster, a union that joins her inheritance to his. But when she is seventeen, Lord Hugh, whom she hasn’...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 22nd 2005 by Three Rivers Press (first published April 13th 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Wealhtheow
Robin Hood is my absolute favorite legend of all time, but somehow nobody ever manages to match my idea of him. Far too many insist on making him gritty and morally ambiguous and useless, whereas I see him as a very smart, very righteous man with a great sense of humor. The POINT of Robin Hood is that he's a champion of the poor and the downtrodden, but he never loses his humanity or ability to laugh--and Watson gets that. Additionally, she managed to pack in most of my favorite tidbits of the R...more
Margaret
Oct 31, 2007 Margaret rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of Robin Hood
Shelves: historical, own, pines
For as long as I can remember I have always been a fan of Robin Hood legend. Movies and books alike have told various versions that I have soaked up and loved. Earlier this year I found the best ever with the first two installations of Stephen Lawhead's triology Hood and Scarlet. Those two books being from the perspective of, of course, Robin Hood (Bran) and Will Scarlet. This book fits right in!! I know that Elsa Watson is her own author and nothing to do with the former, but really this ta...more
caitysreadviews
This book review is courtesy of Caity's Readviews.

As a child, one of my favorite Disney movies was the classic Robin Hood cartoon. When I was a little older, my siblings and I repeatedly rented the Mel Brooks film, Robin Hood: Men in Tights; it remains one of our favorite comedies and is often quoted in my family circle. For these reasons, I took an interest in a novel about Maid Marian, Robin Hood’s love (and eventually his wife), told from her perspective.

Maid Marian is a novel by Elsa Watson...more
Katie/Doing Dewey
Although I had read reviews suggesting Marian might be too much the helpless damsel, the book started off well. Within the confines allowed her by medieval society, Marian does an impressive job taking control of her fate. The writing was beautiful throughout and the elegant language felt like the right way for Maid Marian to tell her story. Things quickly fall apart, however, when Marian finds she lacks the courage to run away from her second marriage and is only saved by the timely interventio...more
Althea Ann
Picked up this book because of the beautiful cover and ROBIN HOOD!
I have to say, the book design is lovely. It's credited to Lauren Dong, and I think she deserves a credit here too. Not just the cover, but the lovely flowers inside, even the typesetting is nice.

However, the story... well, I really, really WANTED to like it. Very soon into the book, I realized that the characters' attitudes and behaviors were not consistent with 15th-century England. That's actually OK with me, I adjusted my att...more
Emily
This book SHOULD have been really good. I mean, c'mon! A famous cultural tale of the British Isles turned into a novel...sounds great right? And the protagonist is a beautiful noblewoman who forsakes her comfortable, stifling life for adventure and love, love with an infamous outlaw much beloved by the common people. It's a recipe for success. However, the writing was not much more than mediocre and there were several small discrepancies in the story that just made it utterly unbelievable. It wa...more
Shelly
As an infant, Marian is orphaned and heiress to great lands and fortunes. She is married off at the age of five to a young nobleman, Lord Hugh of Sencaster. The marriage joins her inheritance to his and vastly enriches his family. When she is seventeen, Lord Hugh, whom she hasn't seen in years, mysteriously dies. Now an unmarried widow, she becomes a ward of the King, who is off on crusade and cannot be bothered with such matters at home. The Queen, Eleanor of Aquitane, takes it upon herself to...more
Emily
I had read this book for the first time when I was around 12. I have since re-read it multiple times. Looking at some of the other reviews, I can see that some people found this book dull and perhaps disappointing in that Marian does not take a more active role with the outlaws.

However, I have read nearly every Robin Hood novel i can get my hands on, and this one is probably still my favorite (I do need to give Robin McKinely's book a re-read though). I always had a preference for Robin Hood bo...more
Aubrey
Different twist on the story of Robin Hood as told by Maid Marian. Marian seeks out Robin Hood, whom she has heard about from her servant, to help her escape from a marriage set up by the Queen and regain her lands.

I enjoyed the book a lot. It was a little slow in the beginning, but then I couldn't put it down.
Teghan
It was so bad. I hated every minute of it. It was childish, Marion and Robin were incredibly annoying and whiny and I frankly stopped caring about the characters early on.

If you want a really good Robin Hood book check out Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Robinson, its so good. !! so good.
Allison
Oh, how I adore the time of Robin Hood. Not necessarily the stinky, I do not shower aspect, but the chivalrous, love-a-feisty woman part. A cool twist on a old tale.
Laura
The story of Robin Hood from Marion's point of view. Very good!
Malinda
LOVED IT!

I think it is my favorite version on Robin Hood ever!
Kerry
The legend of Robin Hood is one of my favorite stories so I am always on the lookout for a good Robin Hood book. This book, told from Maid Marian's point of view, was good. It looked at the story from a slightly different point of view from what I had before. The author put the story in historical context by focusing a lot on the politics and political maneuvering of the time (Eleanor of Aquitaine was featured as a fairly significant character) which I found interesting.

On the other hand, the vi...more
Julie
Orphaned and married off at the age of 5, Marian Fitzwater is awakened during the night of her 15th birthday, the day of which she was to move to her husband's castle, to be told that he has just died.

As an unmarried woman with land attached to her name, she is now not only a very desirable catch, but now a pawn in the Queen of England's strategic chess game to supposedly turn all of England to her son, King Richard's favor. The catch is, Marian has no intentions of being married off to the high...more
Linda
Elsa Watson takes her shot at one of the most romantic couples in story, song, on the screen (big and small) and in legend. She writes in the first person taking us from the childhood of Marian Fitzwater to her time at court to her time in Sherwood Forest and beyond.

It's a relatively short book but it takes a while to get interesting and then it bogs down again about two-thirds of the way through. In between, you do get the sense of romance and adventure that you want for Marian and Robin Hood....more
Loraine
Hmmmmm. I don't know what to make of my reaction(s) to Watson's treatment of the Marian/Robin Hood story. She started out in the style of historical fiction, with good attention to detail.

But then she used one word in a most anachronistic manner. And I was particularly put off by use of that word to describe the people bound to the land. They were peasants, or cottars, or in some cases even slaves. But they were not farmers. They did not own the holdings (land) that they tilled, which they were...more
Madison H.
I was pretty excited for this one. I haven't read a lot of Robin Hood related things so it was intriguing. But it really didn't live up to my hopes.

There's nothing really wrong with the book. The writing is very,very good, it definitely fit with the time frame that the novel was set in. It was extremely authentic but it wasn't cheesy or forced like it is in some other books. So I really adored that aspect of the book.

The characters were also very nice. Marian was strong and intelligent but she w...more
Josie
A fairly boring retelling of the Robin Hood legend, told from the perspective of Maid Marian. The author's Robin Hood has been heavily influenced by Howard Pyle's versions of the old ballads, and while Robin Hood and his (unconvincingly huge) band of Merry Men aren't the story's main focus, Watson still manages to pepper the thoughts and conversations in the book with references to many of the familiar tales. I found this annoying, as while the old ballads are the only references to Robin Hood,...more
Sarah
Okay, so I picked this up on a whim. I enjoy reading stories centered around the legend of King Arthur, and while this story isn’t about Camelot, it certainly has a similar tone without the depressing ending of being murdered by your own son. In most stories about the Prince of Thieves, we see everything from Robin’s point of view, with Maid Marian a whimsical love interest on the sidelines as Robin does his thing of robbing the rich to give to the poor. This book proposes we view things from Ma...more
Jori Richardson
I began reading this book with reluctance. After all, the story of Robin Hood has been told so many times, and I was mostly expecting this one to be "just another Robin Hood extension."
However, I was pleasantly surprised right from the beginning. Elsa Watson's writing is grounded, realistic, and elegant. I really felt as if I was there in her medieval world. The vivid setting and the fact that I love the middle ages prompted me to read the entire book in one sitting.

The story is about Marian Fit...more
Dana
My review of this, may be a little harsh. My suggestion? Don't read this if you have an infatuation with Maid Marian because you will be sorely disappointed.

As any Robin Hood fan knows, the origins of Marian are shaky. Authors have full creative license with her considering there is only one detailed ballad of her time with Robin. Somehow, she has sparked curiosity and love with readers and viewers and has become an integral part of the Robin Hood legend. This Marian, however, is lacking. It isn...more
Renee
A perfectly paced and inventive adaptation of the life of Maid Marian, in which the title character is fleshed out completely. Rather than seeing only a beautiful woman, the reader is treated to a witty, impatient, compassionate, politically-minded, careful-but-at-times-impetuous woman who is loathe to leave her fate in the hands of anyone else. Paired with this is Watson's careful research of the era, beyond the normal "Richard the Lionheart/Prince John" focus seen in some other adaptations.

I'...more
Libby Ames
Elsa Watson takes an interesting view of the tales of Robin Hood told from Maid Marian's point of view. In Watson's version, Marian is an orphan with lands and title. She is raised at Warwick Castle, but at the age of five she is married to another young child to give the mother a place of power over Marian's lands. When her husband is murdered before he is seventeen, Marian fears her arranged marraige to her late husband's younger brother. To save herself from another marriage and possible deat...more
Penny
I am fascinated with the legend of Robin hood and enjoy reading new tales of the characters I've grown up discovering in various books and films. The only knowledge known of Robin, the Merry Men and Marian is written through various ballads from the middle ages. In actual fact who Robin and Marian even was is extremely cloudy.

I didn't get the usual feel of Robin and Marian in this book they seemed different from the tales and films I have encountered but I still found my self intrigued by the k...more
Alex Morrison
I'm not sure what it was about this book but I just couldn't get into it. I have about 20% of it left and no desire to finish it, though I may return at a later date. I did love what Watson did with the character of Robin Hood, including details about his personality that really rounded him out (e.g. that he couldn't keep still, always needing to keep moving no matter where he was) and the dialogue between him and Marian was pretty great. It may have been Marian herself who fell a bit flat for m...more
Christen
Worst Maid Marian book ever. Stilted dialogue and I'm pretty sure the author needed a dictionary a few times because her word choice was completely off. Poor execution. I can forgive anachronism pretty easily, but only if the characterization and plot are strong. Neither were. Too much narration while completely skipping over what could have been interesting action. For example, when Marian is "spirited away" on her wedding day, there was absolutely no tension! It didn't feel like he had saved h...more
SJ Waters
Where, oh where, do I begin to voice my contempt of this book? Yes, I hated it, but as a huge fan of the Robin Hood legend, my expectations are admittedly a bit high. I was so, SO excited to read this book when it was recommended to me. I bought it, excited, and began to read it, but... about in the middle of the novel, the story seemed to go downhill. Without giving so much away, I'll cut to the chase: Watson's Marian is, in a nutshell, a very unlikable "heroine." How could Robin Hood -- whom W...more
Lindsey
This certainly was a different twist on the Robin Hood legend-Lady Marian runs off to join Robin and his men and becomes quite the schemer as well. I really enjoyed this because Robin Hood was almost a secondary character and his tale was told from the view of a woman-again, different from other versions I've read.
Tara Chevrestt
This was a more pleasant, feminine telling of the traditional Robin Hood story. I have never gotten into the whole Robin Hood thing but found I enjoyed the telling from Maid Marian's point of view. Marian at first is a naive spoiled princess who cannot bear to sleep on straw. Being an orphan, however, puts her in the hands of the dreaded and feared Queen Elinor, and to avoid the Queen's plans, she enlists the aide of the famed outlaw, Robin Hood. This leads to a new life of adventure and discove...more
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Pacific Northwest native Elsa Watson has always loved animals. After raising chickens and inoculating goats in the Peace Corps in West Africa, she and her husband moved to an island near Seattle where they've filled their lives with dogs, more chickens, and the cat they brought home from their travels. She currently works at the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, a wildlife hospital and education center...more
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