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Lady of the Forest (Sherwood #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  2,438 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
As the gates of Ravenskeep swing open and a young woman flees into the primeval depths of Sherwood Forest and into the arms of the man she loves, a saga of exceptional power and remarkable passion begins...

He is Sir Robery Locksley--the heroic nobleman who has turned his back on all he knows to embark on a dangerous quest for justice in an England torn apart by treachery,
Paperback, 608 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Zebra (first published September 1st 1992)
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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
195th out of 1,944 books — 7,786 voters
Scarlet by A.C. GaughenThe Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinleyHood by Stephen R. LawheadIvanhoe by Walter ScottThe Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
Fictional Robin Hood
8th out of 94 books — 262 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 05, 2014 Duckie rated it did not like it
It’s been ages since I last encountered something so tone-deaf to the natural cadence of English. Five pages in and I burst out laughing at this:

The sheriff raised a single eloquent eyebrow. “Did he teach you that? Did he also teach you the sword?”
She knew precisely what he meant, though not long ago she had known nothing at all of hardship or the harsh argot of such men. Now she knew, and spoke it, answering him in kind with cool self-possession, fully cognizant of what admission could mean. “T
LADY OF THE FOREST is my second favorite Robin Hood retelling, after The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley. I've talked about Roberson's Sword-Dancer saga here before, but her historicals are written in such a markedly different style from her SF/F that they deserve their own discussion. I also discovered her through this book and will always be glad I picked it up that day, despite how thick it was, and despite the cover featuring Marian's neverending braids. Actually, I think it's quite a ...more
An excellent re-telling of the Robin Hood myth, with more emphasis on his motivations behind becoming an outlaw rather than the actual acts of stealing. Despite what the new cover looks like, this is not a mere romance novel. It's a very detailed historical fiction that Jennifer Roberson did a lot of research to make it feel real, and it shows. Of course, it's not going to be the exact same Robin Hood myth that people are familiar with, considering there's so many versions of the story floating ...more
Authors who care deeply about historical accuracy are often faced with a dilemma: to relate documented facts in a cut-and-dried fashion that quite often harms the story's dramatic potential, or to use history like a crazy quilt, stitching together truthful passages with the fictional ones. I have employed the latter method. [-from Roberson's afterword]

This is an extremely wordy & slow-moving novel, but ultimately worth the effort. If pressed for a succinct analogy, I'd call Lady of the For
Brian Durfee
Feb 15, 2013 Brian Durfee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How did this book escape my notice for so long? I am a fan of Jennifer Roberson and have read most of her other books. Truth is, I was aware of this book since it was released in 1992. I really think it was the girly romance cover art that made me balk at reading it. But girly romance this is not. I compare to Pillars of the Earth or even Game of Thrones for writing style and historical depth. A very well written book on Robin Hood. And other than Stephen Lawhead's HOOD, this is the only other n ...more

Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson is the first of my goalwar this year - to read the oldest books on my shelf, or rather, the ones that have been in my life the longest that remain unread. I think I purchased this before moving out of my parents' home and I have since been living on my own well over a decade. Yeah. I've probably owned this book fifteen years. It's ostensibly a book about Maid Marion (spelled Marian in this version) and Robin Hood. It centers on Marian in a way that reminds
Dec 21, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Ever since I read Howard Pyle's Robin Hood story in school (just one of many excellent books I read in school), I've been fascinated with the Robin Hood story. This is one of the best retellings of the myth anywhere. Jennifer Roberson explores how such a disparate group of individuals could come to form a band of merry men in an age when social distinctions and class ruled one's life and actions. As such, it's more about how this group came to steal together then about the actual stealing. What ...more
Oct 25, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing
A brilliant look at the Robin Hood legend, mostly from the point of view of Marian. It really helps you understand what life would be like back then: the fear and uncertainty of having a king risking his life in a far-off land, the restrictions of being a lady of this era, and horrors of war. Robin has battle-flashbacks and a recurring fever he contracted in the Holy Land. Amazing book.
Sam~Alpha Male Addict~ Woodley Duenas
My favorite Robin Hood-Maid Marian retelling. Got the paperback as a hand me down from my older sister quite a couple of years (a loooong time) ago and I've reread it almost every year.

There's a sequel, too. I love both books because I love Robin's characterization here, his PTSD-ish experiences, how he falls in love with Marian, how he is with his merry band of outlaws and how he is with Marian herself (both books show that Robin is very much open to how much he loves Marian, very cute and sur
Regan Walker
Oct 30, 2015 Regan Walker rated it it was amazing
An Opus Retelling of the Robin Hood Story, Rich in Historical Detail

Set in Nottinghamshire in 1194, this is a thorough telling of how Robin Hood came to be… and the love story of Sir Robert (Robin) of Locksley and Lady Marian of Ravenskeep. In the words of the author, it’s “…a fictional interpretation of imaginary events leading to the more familiar adventures depicted in novels…” And so it is.

The whole cast of characters is included in intricate detail (and consuming nearly 600 pages): Alan of
Aug 20, 2008 Misfit rated it really liked it
A bit of a darker version of the Robin Hood legends 3.5 stars. In retelling the standard Robin Hood story, the author took an interesting tact and cast him as tortured from his experiences in the violence of the Crusades, sort of a medieval post traumatic stress disorder. Of course, sparks fly when he meets Marian, who the most evil Sheriff of Nottingham also desires.

No big surprises, and the usual suspects and characters as we're used to in the Robin Hood legends. I have to agree with a couple
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
My kind of historical romance based on a legend! This is the second novel in a row I have read by this author, and I love the way she draws the reader into the times, the politics. the lives of the people of the time. This is a version of the legend of Robin Hood which has endured as a favorite through the centuries, Robin and Maid Marion who are Sir Robert Locksley and Lady Marian of Ravenskeep. Robert is the son of an Earl and has just come back from two years fighting along side of King Richa ...more
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A fascinating retelling of the Robin Hood legend. Roberson developed the characters and grounded the story in the politics of the time extremely well.
"....evil counselors", my foot!! Prince John was a self-serving ?!#x. I was amazed that King Richard upon his return to England could forgive his little brother for all the trouble he caused, but in the Author's Notes, it is stated that the quotation including the two previously stated words is documented. Now, how did I like the book? Well, I was miserable when it ended. I really wanted to go on for a couple of hundred more pages at least! The author wrote so well that I became completely engro ...more
Lisa Feld
Aug 14, 2016 Lisa Feld rated it liked it
I really like how Roberson uses the realities of twelfth-century life in terms of privacy, distance, class tensions, food, and music (and the power of rumor and legend in a world where there are no newspapers to offer an accurate picture of current events) to shape her story. She also has two neat (and important) twists on the tired old trope of "heroine gets raped to discover her true strength": Because Marian spends a night in the woods unsupervised, she can't prove her virginity, and since so ...more
Aug 30, 2016 Lanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robin Hood fans
I ADORE all things Robin Hood, so I had to at least try and read it. Yes?

Thank the book gods, I freaking loved this book!

I know, I know. This cover makes it look like almost every other sappy dollar store romance novel on the shelves. "Lady of the Forest" is anything but. It's a wonderfully well researched, well written, epic tale that is sure to please many fans of the Robin Hood legend.

I loved how well researched the whole novel was. From the historical setting, to the day to day life, the po
Debbie Lester
Feb 01, 2010 Debbie Lester rated it it was ok
My Synopsis:

Lady Of The Forest by Jennifer Roberson is a re-telling of the Robin Hood legend.

Maid Marian is still reeling from the death of her father, Hugh FitzWalter, and wondering what will happen to her childhood home of Ravenskeep, when the Sheriff of Nottingham takes an interest in her.

Robert of Locksley has only recently returned home from the crusades where he fought at the side of Richard the Lionheart. Still nursing old wounds and deeper emotional scars he fights to return to his old l
Kate Sherwood
Dec 04, 2013 Kate Sherwood rated it it was ok
I would have given it a three if it had been shorter - there wasn't much to actively dislike about it except that things kept being repeated and it took forever to get anywhere.

But there wasn't all that much to really like about it, either. I enjoyed the part where the Merry Men came together - it was obvious who everyone was, but still fun to wait for the big reveal (Will Scathlocke. But the peasants have started calling him... da dum! Will Scarlett!)

But even that dragged on. By the time Much w
I really liked the history that Jennifer Roberson wove into this story. She does an excellent job of creating a picture of Medieval life from peasant to Prince. She also does a very nice job of describing the politics during this period. It's obvious that she did a lot of research before sitting down to write this book.

I recently read 'Roselynde' by Roberta Gellis, it covers the same period in time as 'Lady of the Forest' but gives greater details about the politics and the conflict between King
Apanakhi Buckley
Nov 16, 2015 Apanakhi Buckley rated it liked it
Roberson does an intriguing job of re-imagining who the characters of the Robin Hood legend were and I am 100% behind her exploration of Norman oppression. Robert of Locksley returns from the Crusades with a serious case of PTSD. He goes on to confront his father with a kind of teen-aged angst that does not parse well with someone who has come of age in the midst of the searing experience of war, which weakens the character. Nonetheless, his progression to becoming Robin Hood is plausible.

Wayland Smith
May 17, 2014 Wayland Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: avx
This was a very good retelling of the Robin Hood story. All the familiar elements of the myth are here, but redone in a new interpretation that really works.

Robin is fresh back from the Crusades, and he's pretty much got PTSD. Marian lost her father from the Crusades, and is now a ward of the king. Unfortunately, the King has been captured on his way home, and abuse of power runs rampant.

We meet the familiar names along the way: the Sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Guy of Gisbourne, Little John, Will
Aug 10, 2015 Franny rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

I found this book really hard to rate because for almost everything I liked about it, there was something that annoyed me. Still I decided that 3 stars was too low, since it did keep me invested and reading.

We open with Marion FitzWalter of Ravenskeep at a party to celebrate the return of Robert of Locksley from the crusades. A ward of the crown, Marion's father died in the crusades and the king, who will decide her fate, is being held hostage in Germany. William DeLacey is the Sheriff
Jul 02, 2014 Molly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finished it--and I don't have any qualms about not finishing a book I'm not enjoying reading. I liked the setting a lot, and I really liked the characterization of Robin as a PTSD-haunted veteran. I thought Marian developed nicely, although I do have issues with the way every single man she meets (except Robin's father) falls hopelessly, crazedly, willing-to-kill-people in love with her. I have known a few women like that; I had a roommate in college whose ex-boyfriend went into the prie ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Kara rated it really liked it
Shelves: robin-hood
A very good re-telling of the Robin Hood story, grounded in history, with an excellent portrayal of what King Richard and Prince John were probably like.

Very good eye for detail both in the day to day stuff and in the realities of war. Robin with a case of post traumatic stress makes heartbreakingly real sense.

My only problem is that Every. Single. Guy. in the Entire book falls in love or lust with Marian. If I was the sheriff's daughter, I'd be jealous too.
Nov 25, 2015 Phoebe rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Deborah
The great Jennifer Roberson offers an interesting perspective on the Robin Hood/Maid Marian story, in which she fleshes out such black-and-white characters as the Sheriff and Sir Guy of Gisbourne, not to mention Robin himself. Set just as Robert/Robin has returned from the Crusades, and Marian sets eyes on him again, it describes the build-up to the Robin Hood legend and the events that lead to Robin's outlawry. This results in quite an interesting--and long--tale set during a relatively brief s ...more
Katarina Ross
Apr 23, 2016 Katarina Ross rated it really liked it
Spoilers ahead! What I enjoyed most about this book was the historical peek it provided, illustrating the realities of life in medieval Britain during the reign of King Richard. The socio-political atmosphere is integral to the story, highlighting the tensions between royalty, nobility and peasants in England.

Robert of Loxley is the son of an earl newly returned from Crusade. He carries all of the physical and emotional scars that come with battle and hardship, making him an interesting, if som
Oct 07, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it
I first read this book years ago and instantly fell in love. There's something very compelling about a tortured Robin Hood and innocent Marian who is thrust into an unfamiliar and unsafe world quite abruptly. The tension between Robin and Marian and the entire build up to their relationship is so incredibly good.

However, the more times I read the book (and I've read it many, many times), the less patience I have for all the political intrigue surrounding Marian and Robin. Everyone in power is so
Sep 16, 2008 Alyssa rated it it was ok
Probably the trashiest and most salacious version of the Robin Hood story I have ever come across, but with rare moments of beautiful language. Probably not worth the effort.
Regan Walker
An Opus Retelling of the Robin Hood Story, Rich in Historical Detail

Set in Nottinghamshire in 1194, this is a thorough telling of how Robin Hood came to be… and the love story of Sir Robert (Robin) of Locksley and Lady Marian of Ravenskeep. In the words of the author, it’s “…a fictional interpretation of imaginary events leading to the more familiar adventures depicted in novels…” And so it is.

The whole cast of characters is included in intricate detail (and consuming nearly 600 pages): Alan of
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Jennifer Mitchell Roberson O'Green is an author of fantasy and historical literature. Roberson has lived in Arizona since 1957. She grew up in Phoenix, but in 1999 relocated to Flagstaff. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northern Arizona University. Roberson had spent her final semester in England at the University of London. This enabled her to do indepth research at castles ...more
More about Jennifer Roberson...

Other Books in the Series

Sherwood (2 books)
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“In that instant Marian was swept up by the need to touch him, to reach out and press flesh to flesh, finger to finger; to close her hand on his arm so she could feel the warmth and vigor beneath the tunic sleeve. She wanted to know without question he was living, breathing, and hers.” 3 likes
“Saying nothing, she went to the bed he had devised and lay down upon it stiffly, settling a hip carefully as she turned onto her side. Leaves compressed. Twigs crackled. She lay very still, eyes squinched closed, jaws clenched, trying to breathe normally and hoping shadow shielded her face. Silence. “Well?” he asked at last. “It would be better with a cloak thrown over it, but we have none. I left it with the horse.” She smelled dampness, sap, and earth. She would not tell him the truth: even a cloak over the bedding would offer her little comfort.
“It will do,” she said quietly, tucking a leaf down from her mouth.

He nodded. “Get up.”

“But I only just—”

“Please.” She got up, as requested, picking leaves and twigs from her hair and kirtle.

Mutely she watched as he lay down in her place, testing the bed. He was silent. Then, with infinite irony, “You are polite.”
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